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Not just a retail hub

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(Mike Greene – mgreene@shawmedia.com)
Danny Kubasak of Elgin dismantles a die at Wauconda Tool & Engineering in Algonquin. Kubasak speaks at high schools in the region about opportunities for students to join the industry.
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(Mike Greene – mgreene@shawmedia.com)
Luisa Reyes troubleshoots a strip going through a die at Wauconda Tool & Engineering.
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(Mike Greene – mgreene@shawmedia.com)
Jose Urcid of Hanover Park operates a toolmakers microscope as part of quality control at Wauconda Tool & Engineering in Algonquin.

The retail locations in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills often steal the villages’ respective business spotlights, but both have a healthy group of manufacturers providing jobs in the area.

Some of Algonquin’s main manufacturers have been around more than half a century, having grown to employ more than 100. Lake in the Hills’ manufacturing operations tend to be younger and more modest.

Here are capsule looks at some of the top manufacturers in each of the villages:

Kenmode Tool & Engineering, Inc., 820 W. Algonquin Rd., Algonquin: The custom metal stampings and assembly company celebrated half of a century in business in 2010.

Kenmode began as a tool and die maker for Wauconda tool, soon after expanding to include metal stampings after a move from Crystal Lake to Algonquin in 1966.

The business now specializes in automotive stampings, medical stampings, electronic stampings and metal stampings for insert molding applications, according to its website.

About 140 employees currently work for Kenmode, both at its 185,000-square-foot manufacturing building and a 20,000-square-foot distribution center, which opened about two years ago in Elgin.

Duro-Life Corporation, 2401 Huntington Drive North, Algonquin: Duro-Life has expanded significantly since its beginnings as a small Chicago machine shop in the 1930s.

The business was bought in 1988 by Wells Manufacturing Co., which moved the Duro-Life subsidiary to Algonquin in 1991.

Today, the company specializes in producing metal components for a variety of industries, including hydraulics and automotive, according to its website.

The 103,000-square-foot building houses about 55 employees.

Wauconda Tool & Engineering, 821 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin: An employer of 80, Wauconda Tool & Engineering produces metal stampings for the automotive, electronic, communication, electrical-mechanical and medical markets, according to its website.

The company began in 1950 and has grown significantly throughout the years.

It is a business unit of Precision Engineered Products, LLC, which has manufacturing locations in the U.S., China and Mexico.

Advanced Flexible Composites, Inc., 14 Walter Court, Lake in the Hills: Advanced Flexible Composites specializes in manufacturing high-performance composites.

The company makes PTFE and silicone-coated fabrics and belting, as well as pressure sensitive tapes for a variety of industries worldwide, according to its website.

The company operates in a 70,000-square-foot facility in Lake in the Hills.

Founded in 1988, AFC employs 80 people today.

Illinois Mining Corp., 41 Walter Court, Lake in the Hills: An employer of 35 in Lake in the Hills, Illinois Mining Corp. produces and supplies aggregate material across the Midwest.

The company began in 1976 as a small sand and gravel brokerage, and gained its current name in 1983.

It services both private and commercial customers in the Chicago and Rockford areas, according to its website.

KBI Kold Ban International Ltd., 8390 Pingree Road, Lake in the Hills: For the past 40 years, KBI has manufactured ether injection systems that help diesel engines start in cold weather.

The 8,000-square-foot Lake in the Hills manufacturing facility incorporates just part of what KBI does.

The company also distributes supercapacitors, which supplements batteries of high-powered vehicles to make sure they always have enough power to start. They also sell jump-start devices.

KBI employs 27 people.

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