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 Business > Manufacturing

91 Joey Drive | Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 | www.craftstech.net
  Crafts Technology    

Manufacturing is fast paced. Machines need to stay up and running or business is at risk of coming to a screeching halt and everybody loses, the manufacturer and the client.

When a $100 component made of soft steel on a $2 million machine wears out and stops production on the shop floor, Crafts Technology can step in and design and manufacture a new part, made of longer lasting, ultra-hard materials with exceptional wear properties, corrosion resistance and thermal conductivity. Crafts takes original equipment components and upgrades them from steel to ultra-hard materials, parts made of Tungsten Carbide, Advanced Ceramics and Polycrystalline Diamond, thereby allowing customers to keep equipment running for extended periods of time, said Jeff Taylor, president and CEO. Sometimes the inspiration for improvement comes from the OEM and other times the equipment end user.

“We are not your traditional machine shop. A lot of companies are doing different variations of this business, but Crafts does one thing better than everyone else; ultra-high precision (i.e. tolerances in the millionths of an inch) in ultra-hard materials like tungsten carbide and polycrystalline diamond.” Our Ultra-high precision machines can cut holes 10 to 20 times smaller in diameter than a human hair, into the tiny raw printed circuit board of a Smartphone or into a nozzle that is used to dispense miniscule amounts of fluid during the manufacturing process. “Business is growing at a significant pace because of the desire by OEMS and end-users to further push the boundaries of product features such as complex geometry, tight geometric tolerancing and miniaturization” he said. “Everyone wants their equipment to be performing at higher speeds than ever before and with longer wear life than ever before.” Crafts’ tools are also used to cut through non-woven materials, such as diapers, with precision and speed, a feat that is time consuming and difficult to accomplish with high reliability and efficiency in a production setting.

For 125 years, Crafts Technology has occupied the same space, manufacturing and designing wear parts, components and custom tooling for original equipment manufacturers “who want to advance performance right out of the gate” and the businesses that own and operate the machines produced by them. It’s a space that continues to serve the company well with annual revenue now approach $12 million per year.

“If you don’t know of us, you’re probably still using steel, high wear components,” Taylor said. “Most everyone in the industry who has wanted to advance component/tool wear life using Tungsten Carbide or synthetic diamond material already knows us.” Crafts Technology also routinely provides their customers with materials training on ultra-hard materials at their facilities.

Crafts worldwide client base consists mostly of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies in the aerospace, non-woven materials, injection molding and micro-dispensing valve industries. “There are no boundaries on the industries we serve,” Taylor said. “We serve whatever industry is trying to advance their uptime.” Boeing and Procter & Gamble are two of its biggest customers.

Crafts started out in Boston, in 1893, by grinding tools made of non-gem quality industrial diamonds. “Diamonds that were not good enough for a gem, Crafts set into industrial tools, to make them longer wearing,” Taylor said. The company started out in Boston, Massachusetts as Arthur A. Crafts Company but has been headquartered in the Chicagoland area since the early 2000s.

Taylor, like many of the people that work within the manufacturing & tooling industry, began working in the industry right out of high school. Over a period of 10 years, Taylor finished college work after hours while being trained in a specialty toolmaker type training program at New England Carbide Tool Company, ultimately advancing through to becoming manufacturing manager. Fast forward 20 years, while Taylor was in the midst of a successful sales career at a large industrial manufacturer, the President of New England Carbide Tool Company, Eamonn McDonnell, also being a principal in Crafts Technology, along with the managing principals of Crafts Technology, Tom Kuhl and Dave LeMaistre, were interested in transitioning the Crafts Technology executive management team towards retirement. They reached out to Taylor and ultimately brought him onboard at Crafts Technology to be part of transitioning Crafts Technology to an employee owned company. Over a 4 year period, Taylor transitioned from Sales and Marketing to Vice President and ultimately to President & CEO.

The company is owned by its 44 employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). “Every employee earns shares in the company,” Taylor said. “It’s like a public company but with shares that are only privately traded within the business.”

Crafts is now focused on expanding its’ market positions by executing on a well thought out strategic plan that focuses on organic growth, employee development, equipment modernization and intellectual property development. It’s something the company did a lot of in the 1960s and 1970s, which resulted in a period of immense growth.