Strattec Security Corp.

Strattec Security Corp.

3333 W. Good Hope Road, Milwaukee

Industry: Automotive locks and keys manufacturing

Innovation: A lock series that ‘learns’ keys when inserted once.

Milwaukee-based Strattec Security Corp., the world’s largest producer of automotive locks and keys, introduced the BOLT Series locks to the non-automotive industry last November.

The BOLT cylinder, known as the “Breakthrough, One-key, Lock Technology,” works with a vehicle key and eliminates the hassle of extra keys to open other components on some vehicles. The innovation provides a solution to automotive manufacturers challenged by coordinating a single lockset for an entire vehicle.

Once the key is inserted into the BOLT cylinder, inside a pick-up truck tailgate for example, it ‘learns’ the key. That same key is then used for starting the ignition and opening the tailgate, eliminating extra keysets for consumers.

Strattec has already integrated the BOLT lock into existing automotive accounts. According to Steve Gilles, aftermarket manager, the BOLT cylinder is installed on the Dodge Ram truck boxes and Ford Superduty lines. BOLT locks will fit over 110 million vehicles on the road including Ford, Chrysler and GM lines.

To capitalize on the technology, Strattec is in the process of introducing the lock into non-automotive markets.

“We have showed it (BOLT) to a number of retailers and they have expressed interest,” said Mike Long, director of new market development, who was hired in 2008 to lead the growth of the product.

Strattec, an established name in the automotive industry, aims to attract retailers like Cabellas and Gander Mountain.

“We have spent time with our team on how to position ourselves to go to market differently,” said Kathy Scherbarth, vice president of operations. “We come from an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) background; this whole concept of retail is new.”

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Strattec Security Corp. has 1,200 employees.

Scherbarth is projecting the BOLT locks to contribute to 5 percent of overall revenue and projected sales of $5-10 million.

“Our initial goal was $500,000 in sales for fiscal 2010 and we are on track to sell that,” she said.

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