Rhine

A growing custom machine shop in Wisconsin has found ways to not only support the local economy but also some of the state’s most important industries through their equipment and services.

Meet Rhine Machining & Fabricating, a more than 25-year-old full service machine shop based in Kiel, Wisconsin that has capabilities in both computer numerical control (CNC) and manual operations.

Rhine Machining & Fabricating has plotted a different path than most in this space and here’s how:

• Created more than 20 local jobs in a wide range of areas.

• Providing parts to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in areas like dairy, agriculture, product packaging equipment and other sectors that are critical to the Wisconsin economy.

• Reverse engineering outdated parts to provide cost-effective but high-quality parts.

Let’s take a look at their history and what their future looks like.

How it all started

The company actually got off the ground in 1993 in the garage of its original founders, Rodney Schmahl and William Lodes.

It didn’t take long though to outgrow that garage.

In 1996, they moved to 240 Persnickety Place, where all these years later they are still operating. They have continued to make improvements to the facility over the years.

Darryl Schaefer, who started his career at Rhine in 2007 and served as the production manager from 2011-2016, became president and general manager of the company in 2016. And as of the beginning of this year is the owner. He says the opportunity has been a thrill.

“It was an opportunity for the continuation of a multi-year commitment to position the organization to be successful for years to come,” he said.

A local company

Keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States just has not been the norm in recent years.

Bloomberg reports that from 2016-2018 there were 1,800 factories in the United States that offshored their production. That’s the latest data available when it comes to the number of companies and jobs that are being outsourced. There are efforts underway to keep more jobs in the United States and bring some back, but the reality is thousands of jobs have continued to leave the country in recent years.

But that’s just not the case at Rhine Machining & Fabricating.

“We do take pride in our ability to provide the services we offer domestically,” Schaefer said. “However and fortunately the predominant market we service seems to overall be better serviced domestically.”

And that’s good news for their employees and the Kiel economy.

These are a few of the roles they offer: Entry level general labor, skilled operators, machinist, as well as support staff in the areas of engineering, quality, human resources and production control.

And an added bonus is that those jobs are actually producing components that’s helping industries throughout Wisconsin.

“The Wisconsin economy is incredibly important to us,” Schaefer said. “And our parts have been able to help the dairy industry specifically, which means a lot to us because of just how crucial that sector is to our state’s economy.”

The company points out that they are able to provide parts to EOM manufacturers in several sectors that are big drivers of the Wisconsin economy even outside of dairy, including agriculture, construction, medical and restaurants.

Lots of layers to the business

Creating a successful company often comes from multiple layers of quality service. That couldn’t be truer for Rhine Machining & Fabricating.

Here’s a look at some of the areas of expertise they have built over the years that have propelled their growth and their customers’ success:

• Consulting

When a customer works with Rhine Machining & Fabricating they are not just getting a part, they are getting the right part at the best value, through consulting services the company offers.

It starts with establishing the need and Rhine Machining & Fabricating from there is able to help reduce costs by providing customers the quality tools and equipment that gets the job done through offerings like their engineering support services.

“Consulting is an important part of our business,” Schaefer said, “one that brings real value to our customers. We work with each customer to bring them the most cost-effective parts we can, helping lower their costs and working on design for constant improvement on their different parts.”

• Reverse engineering

Rhine Machining & Fabricating is able to take outdated parts and reverse engineer them for a customer’s needs.

What’s unique about this approach is that it’s totally custom to a customer’s needs and takes parts or design that can’t be used any longer and makes them usable.

“It’s definitely a unique service,” Schaefer said. “We love to find solutions to our customers problems through areas of continuous improvement and this is one of those examples.”

• A long list of capabilities

Delivering a finished product that provides the customer what they were seeking at a great price along with high quality and good service, is Rhine Machining & Fabricating’s No. 1 goal.

They are able to achieve by using a collaborative process with their customers through a reliable part-quality process, as well as providing access to their support staff and always delivering their product on time.

“For our customers, we always strive to offer the best value and service,” Schaefer said.

The number of actual capabilities is long and impressive. You can find it here. In addition, Rhine Machining & Fabricating has outlined value-added capabilities for customers that include welding, product sawing, assembly and stocking programs. And there are value-added partnerships they are bringing to the table in areas like polishing, plating, heat treating and grinding.

“We go the extra mile when quoting a part and we offer suggestions on how to machine the part more cost effectively and understand all our customers specs clearly,” Schaefer said.
Get even more info

There are a lot of ways that you can connect with Rhine Machining & Fabricating to learn more about what they can do for you.

• Website: rhinemachining.com
• Facebook.com/rhinemachiningfabricating
• Phone: (920) 894-3398
• Address: 40 Persnickety Place, Kiel, WI 53042

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