A much younger Ken Hastreiter was excited to share some great news with his metalworking instructor as he walked down the corridor at Marshfield Senior High in Wisconsin with a light spring in his step. He wanted to create a belt sander to sand blades, but procuring the numerous pulleys needed to drive the belts was a challenge. Students could produce knives in high school at the time, and Hastreiter had manufactured quite a number, but they couldn’t utilize the school’s mechanical grinding equipment, such as a pedestal grinder or a belt sander. He was able to get past this rule and save time by designing his own belt sander from the ground up. The high school teacher had access to a kiln and decided to offer a hand in melting aluminum to make a sand casting and mold pulleys after recognizing Hastreiter’s real interest and passion. Hastreiter was next required to fabricate the pulleys and create the little apparatus for sanding all of the knives more quickly.
Despite this, Hastreiter’s path to an associate’s degree did not begin in the metalworking department. He enrolled in woodworking because he didn’t have academic access to metalworking. Despite this, he spent all of his spare time in the high school’s machine shop, creating a variety of items. Hastreiter received an A on his transcript when his metalworking teacher was impressed and forced him to perform a welding project, essentially completing every metalworking class project. Hastreiter eventually enrolled in the Machine Tool Program at Mid-State Technical College, where he eventually obtained a dream job in an aerospace firm creating fuel controllers, thanks to the mentorship of the metal working instructor.
However, the unique yet universal story of successful mentoring that uncovers a student’s actual potential does not end here. In a few years, the same golden thread will weave yet another story, one that is purpose-driven to build a foundation of machining excellence, successful collaborations with alma mater, and empowers kids and helps communities transform. Hastreiter Industries is the source of all of this and more.
What is syndicat international du décolletage (Sid)
This international organization was created in 1963 to bring together national organizations representing the precision machining industry.
On the initiative of Messrs. Wihelm Arthecker (Germany), Paul Maitre (France), whose company was at the time one of the most important in the Avre Valley, and Harry G. Smith (USA), a meeting was held in Stuttgart in May 1963 to establish an International Association of National Bodies interested in bar turning activities:
1) To improve communication between the many countries and the members who make up these numerous bodies in the fields of technology, accounting, training, and distribution.
(2) to convene biennial meetings with member countries in order to cooperate,
3) To promote friendship and understanding between individuals of different nationalities who work in the same profession all over the world, with the primary goal of bringing together the youth of each country by organizing exchanges, visits, vacations, and apprenticeship and trainee training.
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring member countries together by holding meetings and congresses every two years during which we can discuss our industry in all aspects, including the evolution of technologies, company operations, data comparisons, and problems faced in different countries, among other things.
A New Chapter Has Begun
Picking on where the first story left off, Hastreiter married around this time and had to go to Ohio to be with his wife, Sondra. Case Western Reserve University was where she was working on her master’s degree. Hastreiter was reevaluating his employment prospects before returning to his hometown two years later when Sondra made a career-changing suggestion: “Why don’t you establish your own business?”
Machine Shops with the Best Rankings
Universal Tool and Machine (UTM) was founded in 1988 with just one manual lathe, a Makino-LeBlond. They immediately expanded the company to include a manual mill and a small workforce that deburred aircraft components. When success came knocking two years later, Hastreiter opened the door to innovation by purchasing the first two-axis CNC lathe, which was extremely rare in the early 1990s, especially for a work shop of that scale. UTM continued to expand throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, adding more CNC lathes with live tooling and sub spindles, as well as CNC milling.
Now fast forward to the year 2016. The second generation joined the team. The family-owned machine shop, which had been operating out of the basement of their home for many years, was renamed Hastreiter Industries and relocated to a new 42,000 square foot facility to better serve customer and industry demand. The ITAR-registered company’s cutting-edge machine shop now houses 3-axis and 5-axis mills, as well as 2-axis and 4-axis turning centers, with an Okuma 5-axis mill-turn machine on the way. The state-of-the-art factory produces a wide range of parts from difficult-to-work-with materials such heat-resistant superalloys including titanium, Inconel, duplex stainless, Hastelloy, A286, MP35N, and other Monel family exotics. “From prototypes to medium and high-volume production, we have established the ability to make complicated parts with short lead times,” says Hastreiter. The company runs a tight ship with well-defined quality control procedures in place, matching their advancement in machining skills, as the Hastreiter crew believes in delivering the product right the first time.
CNC machine shop with the highest rating
Hastreiter recounts a time when a castings supplier came to them for help machining a space-age metal casting with a problematic dimension that was proving tough to retain. The Hastreiter team devised a technique and a strategy, as well as a fixturing system and specialized equipment for machining, and began producing this part in a very efficient manner. Unfortunately, issues arose, and because of the part’s geometry, it took some time to figure out that the fault was with the casting. “Not only did we collaborate with the casting house, but we also worked with the ultimate customer. We found difficulties and offered recommendations to help the customer not only improve the casting quality but also acquire parts in a significantly shorter time frame,” says Hastreiter. A first-tier aerospace manufacturer paid a visit to their facilities and was so satisfied with the results that they opted to do business with them directly for other non-casted, machined parts.
We seek to be the most dependable link in our customers’ supply chains, ensuring that they have a worry-free supply chain.
Long-term beneficial client relationships have generally resulted from machining skill backed by an intrinsic focus on providing the right product to specification, on time, and at a reasonable price. It’s no wonder that Hastreiter Industries is a preferred partner for many companies in the aerospace, defense, energy, and industrial equipment industries.
RESOLVING COMMON PROBLEMS
According to Hastreiter, one of the most pressing issues for which clients seek solutions is reliability. “We aspire to be the most dependable link in our customers’ supply chains, ensuring them of a worry-free supply chain,” Hastreiter says. This is made possible by the company’s inherent commitment to prompt communication and transparency. If an unanticipated situation arises that causes the product’s delivery to be delayed, the Hastreiter team notifies their clients immediately and takes the required actions to mitigate the problem. The company takes pleasure in having excellent partners in a well-established supply chain for secondary activities like heat treatment and coatings, among other things.
In a high-quality machine shop, a CMM operator is employed.
Hastreiter Industries also masterfully manages the all-too-common issue of long lead periods. In contrast to industry lead times of three to four months, the company maintains short lead times of two to six weeks or less, depending on the size and complexity of the order, with three weeks being fairly normal, while providing superior performance at a reasonable price. This, according to Hastreiter, is due to the fact that he is an employer of choice. Due to a scarcity of qualified employees, many businesses are unable to meet their customers’ needs. Hastreiter Industries, on the other hand, has formed strategic ties with a number of local K-12 schools as well as Mid-State Technical College, and is well positioned to attract and develop top-tier talent to satisfy customer demands.
The organization has carefully built four career tracks in partnership with Mid-State Technical College to match different types of people based on their stage in life. The first option is youth apprenticeship, which is a collaboration between the state, high schools, and businesses. In this manner, a high school junior or senior works part-time while taking manufacturing-related coursework. Sam, a junior apprentice, is pursuing his associated education at the technical college. “This will allow him to graduate from high school with half of his degree completed for the technical college where he is enrolled,” says Hastreiter. For continued education and experience, most youth apprenticeships transition to the second or third option.
Service of CNC Turning
A registered apprenticeship program is the second talent pipeline. It’s a lot like a youth apprenticeship, but it’s just for high school grads. They work full-time and attend technical college programs once every other week. While the program is generally a four-year commitment, one of Hastreiter Industries’ registered apprentices, Sam, has been given half a year of credit for his previous youth apprenticeship with the company. The third option is for the student to work part-time while earning his degree. He can become a full-time employee with a degree and experience two years later, allowing him to jump-start his career. On-the-job training is the fourth method of obtaining talent for those who have experience in other, related trades.
“The schools aim to educate industry-ready individuals, but they can’t accomplish that unless they have a relationship with the industry,” says Hastreiter. “For a mutually beneficial journey, it is critical for corporations to be involved with their local technical college.” The machine tool lab at Mid-State Technical College’s future Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering Technology, and Apprenticeship Center in Stevens Point is being sponsored by the corporation. Wisconsin’s technical institutions have strong advisory committees for industrial engagement initiatives. Hastreiter, who was named Mid-State Technical College’s ‘Alumni of the Year’ last year, and his son, Kylan Hastreiter, vice president of Hastreiter Industries, serve on a number of advisory boards.