Growth of Guttenberg Industries

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A new quality measuring unit replaced a 20-year-old manual measurer. The new unit is especially useful for parts in the automotive and medical industries, which have a low tolerance for error. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

The last several years have been very eventful for family-owned Guttenberg Industries, Inc. After celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014 and relocating its corporate offices in 2015, Guttenberg Industries is preparing for expansion in 2016. Construction will begin to enlarge the manufacturing plant in Garnavillo this fall.

“We have been fortunate to have a great work force that is dedicated to serving our customers,” explains Dave Kreul, company president. “And, while we continue to develop new customers, the additional capacity we are adding is a direct result of our current customers trusting us with additional projects.” One such customer plans to move the manufacturing of their products from China back to the United States with service from Guttenberg Industries. 

Customer satisfaction is the norm for the 42-year-old company. Repeat customers are quite common, and Guttenberg Industries, Inc. continues to make latches for a customer who started purchasing them in 1974.

With the increased business, there is also a call for additional employees. “We have a current need for 12 new production employees,” says Tom Ertl, Human Resources Manager, “and we are anticipating a need for an additional 8-10 employees when our expansion plan is completed in December. These are solid positions which will present a clear path to career advancement opportunities and regular wage increases with full benefits for years to come.”

There are significant opportunities for full-time work on all shifts as well as part-time positions at Guttenberg Industries. Kreul explains that “almost all of our production supervisors and managers started at Guttenberg Industries in entry-level positions but have enjoyed continual advancement and built wonderful careers with the company. We expect this to continue.”

Guttenberg Industries, Inc. provides jobs to nearly 120 employees. In conjunction with the expansion, employment is expected to climb close to 140 combined full- and part-time staff. 

A 12,000 square-foot addition will be added to the southern side of the existing building. With this new expansion, the company will have roughly 90,000 square feet of building space within the Garnavillo Industrial Park. This will allow for a re-organization of some departments and adjustments to several machine locations.  

During the expansion process, Guttenberg Industries will be retiring one of its older hydraulic 85-ton injection molding presses and replacing it with a new 385-ton electric press.  

By the end of the calendar year, Guttenberg Industries will have committed over $500,000 on additional or upgraded technology. The updates include a new quality measuring unit (pictured) and enhanced automation equipment.

"Our current visual measuring system is about 20 years old and requires manual data entry.  The new metrology unit allows us to digitally measure the customers' parts by visual images and/or touch probes. It is vital for difficult-to-measure areas rather than trying to measure them manually," said Greg Yoko of Guttenberg Industries. "This is especially important on parts for the automotive and medical industries and other parts that have really tight dimensional tolerances.  This unit also records the measurements in a software program for the reports that are required. This will, therefore, also allow us to process these parts more quickly and more accurately through our quality process."

“We continue to see increased demand for production from our larger machines,” relates Kreul. “In fact, there is a good possibility that we be adding another machine in our largest size range before the end of 2016.”

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