Conveniently located at Ohio’s Akron Fulton International Airport, MB Kit Systems Inc. is the largest U.S. design integrator of extruded aluminum framing applications using extrusion profiles and components. Over the years, the dedicated leaders at MB Kit Systems have worked to build a dependable company that provides outstanding service to both its customers and its community.
MB Kit Systems’ solutions are used in a range of industrial applications, including material handling, machine enclosures, hard guarding, ergonomic workstations, linear motion, structures/framing, and machine/routing services. Using only the highest quality aluminum framing and components, MB Kit Systems consistently exceeds its customers’ expectations in its mission to provide full-service structural framing solutions.
“MB Kit Systems was one of the first established extruded aluminum solution developers in the U.S. Since its inception, we have shifted thousands of manufacturers away from welded steel framing to the more versatile modular extruded aluminum framing. Today, MB Kit Systems is an industry leader, engineering innovative extruded aluminum designs to meet the most complex design requirements,” explains Paul Farley, Marketing Manager.
To keep true to its mission and to ensure proper execution, it is essential that the company maintains its readily available product variety, and its most important asset – its team of experts.
MB Kit Systems’ product selection includes everything from the most popular profiles and components to more unique products that are used in specific applications. Specialty products have been acquired over the years to enhance design possibilities. And of course, it takes experience to know what kind of parts you need.
MB Kit Systems’ team of extruded aluminum experts consists of highly experienced engineers and assemblers that work hard to ensure design perfection. There are about 50 proud individuals who call MB Kit Systems their place of work, many being with the company for 10 to 20 years. Like many American companies, MB Kit Systems began with the ambitions of a family with a desire to start a new life.
When the Nordhauss Family decided to leave Solingen, Germany and move to Ohio, they established MB Kit Systems with a strong understanding of precision extruded aluminum framing design. In fact, the Nordhausses were pioneers in the industry, helping start and operate one of the largest global extruded aluminum manufacturers in Europe before beginning their new venture and growing the MB Kit team.
“It is quite common to run into an engineer or assembler that has been with MB Kit Systems for over 20 years,” Farley remarks. Indeed, the expert team’s ability to design full-service solutions for any company, both small and large, is what sets the business apart.
“Each customer receives an assigned engineer and account representative who guides a project from the planning stage to the final stages of assembly. No-cost engineering services are provided with each order; this not only helps offset budgetary costs, it also ensures projects are designed and built to the exact necessary requirements,” says Farley.
The company’s commitment to offering engineering services at no cost is another differentiator in the marketplace. These services are offered as a courtesy to provide the customer with the best possible design application from a team of extruded aluminum framing experts. “We believe that sharing our expertise and earning the trust of our customers will earn their ongoing business, making this service a win-win for both parties,” Farley remarks.
Each customer receives a highly accurate design, utilizing the most appropriate parts for every circumstance. Frequently, projects are submitted with a surplus of profiles or components. By having assigned engineers reviewing orders, recommendations are provided to create an overall better design, often saving additional costs along the way.
Moreover, solutions of any size can be created due to the modular design of extruded aluminum framing and its compatible hardware. As mentioned, MB Kit Systems designs a vast array of solutions, which include but are not limited to assembly line frames, workstations, conveyor lines, or robotic/laser enclosures.
Frequently, traditional modular fastening technology does not meet all customer requirements. This is why Farley mentions that the company continuously and heavily invests in machining equipment to offer machining as a service. The custom designed parts (including brackets, plates, adapters, and machined extruded aluminum) create new possibilities for each design in terms of overall weight support, torsion, and other technical requirements. In addition, a multitude of plastic panels or raw aluminum sheets can be machined to enhance designs, ranging from enclosure panels to solid aluminum tabletops.
Furthermore, MB Kit Systems strives to offer something even more to its community than great products and service. The company’s commitment to youth initiatives is another testament to its position as an industry leader.
“MB Kit Systems has an ongoing initiative to do its part in the development of young persons interested in engineering and other fields of study. Each semester between two to three co-op or intern positions are created for students of the College of Engineering and College of Business from two local universities. Students are placed into positions that provide real-life experience. Each student is challenged with time-sensitive projects that require research, team collaboration, and skills that are only developed in a work environment,” Farley explains.
Field study-based development aside, MB Kit Systems also sponsors various college programs; robotics programs have been the latest series of sponsorships. The ongoing sponsorships from both Kent State University and the University of Akron far exceeded donations. During this time, members of the MB Kit team visit the universities and present the benefits of extruded aluminum to students in the College of Engineering. Extruded aluminum profiles and components have been donated to the robotics programs to assist in the make-up of their various robotic designs.
However, as with any company with industry longevity, the strength of MB Kit Systems isn’t just in its built-to-last products. In order to take the business to the next level – allowing it to serve even more customers and have a greater impact – the MB Kit Systems team is preparing for aggressive growth as it enters 2019 and beyond.
“Two years ago, our company entered a pivotal period in its existence,” Farley shares. “MB Kit Systems, which formerly operated under ‘dba item North America,’ decided to separate from its former relationship, operating as essentially a franchise to become ourselves and be better for the customer.”
While challenges were anticipated when the leading extruded aluminum design integrator company was no longer operating with its former support, the management knew that it was the best option overall for MB Kit Systems, its employees, and its customer base in the long-term.
“The company structure change led to many new consumer benefits,” says Farley. “The same high-quality products are available, but at a more competitive price point. Offering a larger variety of products is now a reality without limitations set by a franchisor; more local and U.S.-made products are now used, along with in-house manufacturing. Ultimately, these changes enable greater potential in project design complexity and lower project costs.”
The top priority in the development and execution of MB Kit Systems’ grand scale plans is customer experience throughout the ordering process. “By listening to customer feedback, we realized this is something that is long overdue and had to be done. The entire ordering process, from the beginning planning stage to the end shipment stage, is going to become more efficient and simpler for the customer,” Farley adds.
For instance, to assist in the planning stages of an order, a series of product catalogs are being developed. The catalogs will be released in a series format; the first series, Profile Catalog, is currently available. The catalogs are viewable online at mbkit.com/catalogs. Other future plans for MB Kit Systems include growing distribution and increasing its community involvement.
“Growing distribution for us means keeping up with shifts in market demand. The automation industry is expanding at a great rate, therefore a focus of ours has been growing our lean production, linear motion and material handling lines. Frequently, we build the following automation solutions: assembly lines, conveyor assemblies, inspection equipment, flow racks, pick-n-place systems, load tables, etc.,” describes Farley.
Finally, MB Kit Systems is interested in taking its corporate stewardship one step further as the business grows, helping to create a community that is both economically and socially strong.
“Being active in the community is important because we feel business is not solely meant for profitability,” says Farley. “Contributing meaningful purpose to our local community helps create an overall better society. Our passion is engineering, so by sharing this passion with collegiate students, they are presented with opportunities to learn more about a subject they enjoy. In return, they will hopefully carry forward their passion to help others.”
With these measures in place, MB Kit Systems plans to ensure its future as an industry powerhouse ready to help the next generation of engineers and experts in extruded aluminum as they start their careers.