Local Business

Company on a roll in Wauconda

WAUCONDA – Menges Roller, a manufacturer of industrial rollers which are used to make plastic, paper and steel goods, is celebrating 20 years in Wauconda.

The company moved into a custom-designed building at 260 Industrial Drive in 1993. The company has been in business for 47 years,

Matthew Menges, president of Menges Roller, established the Wauconda location with his father and founder of the business, Lou Menges. The company was originally based in Streamwood, moving to Wauconda in an effort to increase its capacity and have a larger, newer building.

The 25,000-square-foot building houses heavy equipment for steel fabrication – Menges rollers are made of steel, some weiging up to 10 tons – plastic and rubber extruders and ovens used to make coatings on the rollers), as well as heavy overhead cranes and the like.

“We’ve found success at this location, Matthew Menges said. “Sure, we offer a high-quality line of products, but the area’s central location and solid infrastructure have also contributed heavily to our prosperity.” He said teh company expects to grow about 20 percent in 2013.

As new plastic materials and high-tech materials are developed, Menges Roller supplies rollers to those plastic processing plants – the company makes a liquid-filled roller that cools hot extruded plastic film. As steel output has increased, Menges Roller has increased itsoutput of heavy-duty urethane-coated rollers to the metal industries.

Menges Roller serves a range of well-known companies across the U.S. and into Canada, Central America and other parts of the world.

Menges echoed a common complaint in manufacturing – the difficult to find employees who have precision machining experience.

“We fabricate precision components that are machined and assembled with tolerances of hundredths or thousandths of an inch, so math comes into play,” Menges said. “And we use different grades of steel and aluminum, so metallurgy is a relevant field. And, of course, we deal with rubber and silicone, so knowledge of chemistry, the different compounds, and how they’re vulcanized and finished is also important.”

Menges offered advice tor young people interested in a manufacturing career.

“If you’re a young person and college doesn’t feel right, that’s fine, but learn about science. learn how things are assembled,” Menges said. “There are jobs at companies like mine in the industrial sector, but you have to have the necessary skill and knowledge. We love to hire qualified, skilled, local people.”

Many of Menges Roller’s current employees have 15 to 20-plus years of service. This company is like a family,” Menges said. “I treat my employees fairly, as I would a family member, and they give me their best every day.”

Matthew Menges son, Charlie, has joined the firm. Charlie Menges attended Lake Zurich High School and graduated University of Alabama in 2010.

“I’m proud to build on what my grandfather started. Although he passed away in 2009, I’m sure he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished, where we’re going and the fact that we are still in Wauconda.”

Menges Roller is a supporter of local business and community organizations, including the Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce recently kicked off tours of manufacturing plants so business owners and government leaders could get a better understanding of local industrial companies, and Matt Menges, with his 20 years here in Wauconda, provided an invaluable perspective as to the state of manufacturing in our community, and in our country,” said Glenn Starkey, chamber director. “It was a sold-out tour, and everyone loved it. To see right here such a clean, high-tech facility, that ships throughout the country, was a real eye opener for the group.”

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