As BIG KAISER celebrates 30 years, Chris Kaiser reflects on running a company from home again.
It’s been 30 years since I started KAISER Precision Tooling USA, and I never imagined I’d be running this company from home again. Like most BIG KAISER employees, I’m working remote at least a few days each week to maintain the required social distance. I can relate to the experience many are having now as they juggle work and family at literally the same time. Isn’t this the experience of parents everywhere who are also entrepreneurs working to start a new business?
Back in 1990, after living and working in the U.S. for nearly a decade, I started this company out of necessity. I knew we needed to change how we were selling the boring tools manufactured by my father’s company in Switzerland, Heinz Kaiser AG. I had a vision to increase sales with better marketing, product deliveries and customer service, but my goals weren’t shared by the agents and partners we had at that time.
That’s how I found myself sequestered at home with two little boys regularly knocking on the door asking when I was going to come out and play. As much as I wanted to do that, I also needed to focus on setting up a new company from scratch. There was no building, no equipment, no staff.
Many late nights were spent working with a friend in his basement, writing a business plan, setting up systems for accounting and IT, and making the first boring tool catalog. During the day I sought legal advice, met with lenders and looked for a facility that would house this new company.
In July of that year, I was joined by my long-time partner, and now BIG KAISER Vice President, Jack Burley. Operations Manager Tim Grosch also started in that first year. There were many other friends and influential people along the way, but these two have been with me on this adventure since the very beginning.
On August 1, 1990 – coincidentally also Swiss Independence Day – we opened the doors at our first facility in Elk Grove Village, IL. It was two minutes from my house so I could spend a lot of late nights at work, after dinner with my family, just as my father did when I was little.
After 30 years, I’m proud to say we’ve had a good number of customers from the very beginning. Possibly the first was a Swiss-born machinist who carried Heinz Kaiser boring tools back from his vacation in Zurich to his job in the repair center at United Airlines in San Francisco. United remains a customer of BIG KAISER today. Some of those old boring tools are repairable and still in service.
Many U.S. companies in defense and other industries bought SIP jig-boring machines made in Geneva, Switzerland. They also invested in precision boring tool kits – packed in a wooden case – from Heinz Kaiser AG. We’re grateful that companies like Bell Helicopter, Sikorsky, Caterpillar, John Deere, Metalex, Vermeer and Viking Pump – among others – are still with us to this day.
I look forward to reuniting with long-time customers, partners and friends at a 30th anniversary celebration sometime later this year. In the meantime, I hope we can all get back to the office and a more normal routine very soon. Seeing my grandson on FaceTime and Zoom is just not as good as going outside to play!
Until then, stay well and stay positive.
Is there any chance someone has a PICCOLO boring tool in the original wooden box from that time? I would love to have a photo of it.
Tecnicrafts Straight Shank ER Collet Chucks for Swiss Lathes are now available through Platinum Tooling.
Breaking NEWS from Platinum Tooling: ER Collet Chucks are available in single or double ended style and come in various lengths. Offered in both metric or inch sizes, these tools can be ordered in round or with flats.
Tecnicrafts manufactures these toolholders to a tight run out tolerance of 5 microns or less and adheres to the h6 standard for shank diameter.
All Tecnicrafts Collets and Guide Bushings are available in Standard and Ultra-Precision grades.
The bore profiles include Round, Square, Hexagon, Rectangle and Custom as per customer specifications.
The collets are offered in steel and carbide lined versions with Grooved, Smooth, or Serrated bores in Standard and Long Nose types.
Special V-line and Over-Grip collets are also available.
Tecnicrafts Guide Bushings are generally offered in carbide lining with U-line, Over-Grip, and Extended Nose & Long Bores available.
Tecnicrafts Swiss Collets & Guide Bushings are also available to complement your machining operations.
For quick delivery, Platinum Tooling inventories the most common sizes and styles of Collets & Guide Bushings at their headquarters located in Prospect Heights, Illinois. Non-standard items are available to ship within 3-4 weeks.
While we may not be able to gather in-person for our annual Breakfast & Learn egg-stravaganza, we’d like to continue this tradition. Please join us on Thursday, May 28, at 10 a.m. CT for our first Virtual Breakfast & Learn.
We, too, will miss the in-person camaraderie – not to mention the bacon, eggs, yogurt parfaits and, of course, a great cup of coffee — however, this virtual event allows even more people to attend.
Get a tour of our showroom and meet our product managers and then sit back and relax for an informative presentation on tooling and workholding considerations for 5-axis machining.
Be one of the first 150 attendees to RSVP and we will send you a snazzy BIG KAISER Breakfast & Learn mug.
We hope to see you there.
Platinum Tooling is stocking many common styles and sizes of Tecnicraft collets and guide bushings at their Illinois facility.
These high quality collets and guide bushings for Swiss type CNC lathes are manufactured with run-out tolerances as low as 5 microns. Also available for special order with long nose, extended carbide, and special bore shapes.
Our friend, Bernie Martin at Rapid Production Marketing sent us this document produced by Catalyst Connection in Pittsburgh, PA. It's a very detailed outline and workbook made for manufacturing companies to help them set up standard and policies durning the Coronavirus pandemic.
It's really worth digging into and taking a look at!
You can download the entire manual below.
Customers and partners of BIG KAISER teamed up to generate a $7,283 donation to benefit the National Robotics League (NRL). The amount is nearly 10 percent more than last year and the fourth year-over-year increase in NRL funding from BIG KAISER.
The donation is a 2% match of all qualified orders from NTMA and AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology) member companies during the final two months of each calendar year. Manufacturers placed orders for cutting tools, tool holders, workholding and tool measurement systems, earning funds for the NRL at the same time.
“We need to get involved at every level to grow the next-generation workforce. Our company does that by partnering with local schools, our community colleges and the trade associations,” says Chris Kaiser, CEO of BIG KAISER. “NRL is just one more way for us to engage kids and promote careers in manufacturing.”
“We’re not just fighting a skills gap in our workforce, we have an ‘interest gap’ too. The NRL helps create excitement about manufacturing technology and STEM careers,” says Roger Atkins, president at NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association). “We appreciate BIG KAISER’s continued support year over year, and of course all of the NTMA and AMT members who participate in the program to support the NRL.”
The National Robotics League (NRL) is a manufacturing workforce development program of the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) where students design and build remote controlled robots (Bots) to face-off in a gladiator-style competition.
Through the manufacturing process of Bot building, students’ imaginations are captured as they design, build and compete with their own robotic creations.
Through this hands-on effort along with industry partnerships, students gain practical knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – all essential skills for manufacturing.
As companies begin to implement policies to protect from any outside physical interaction in their facilities due to the coronovirus, our entire team as Next Generation Tooling is still available to to meet with you via voice or video call to provide technical support.
To schedule a call with a member of our team just click the button below.
Our blog section is written by several different people. Sometimes, it from our team here at Next Generation Tooling at other times it's by one of the wonderful manufacturer's we represent in California and Nevada