A Tradition of Excellence in Industrial Knives
Anyone who has passed the large white concrete building at 68thand Loomis Rd. – the one with the aquablue Kinetic logo emblazoned on the facade – may have wondered what this company is, and what exactly they do. Of all Greendale’s businesses, The Kinetic Co., Inc., is one of the most unique, so we are pleased to share its story with our readers.
With a longstanding history going back more than 70 years, Kinetic prides itself as the world’s leading manufacturer of industrial knives for the paper, wood, metal, plastic, and food processing and packaging industries. This thirdgeneration, family-owned business is testament to Milwaukee’s rich manufacturing heritage.
Its fascinating story began in the late 1940s when an industrial tool salesman named C.L. Masters was serving northern Wisconsin – a thriving area, home to numerous paper mills. His customers repeatedly asked if he knew of a source for better quality industrial knives than were currently available. Fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit,
Masters conducted research and began making prototypes of high-quality cutting tools in his garage. After moving to a small machine shop on 34th Street in Milwaukee, Masters founded The Kinetic Co. primarily to serve the sanitary paper industry.
Masters soon brought his son Joseph on board, and he, in turn, brought his own two sons, Cash and Jared, into the business. From an early age, these two young brothers visited the shop with their dad on weekends, and learned the ropes from the ground up. Small, miscellaneous errands gave way to driving the delivery truck. Cash, in particular, gravitated toward the “mechanical” aspects of the business, while Jared was more of the “marketing guy.”
When he turned 18 years old, Cash started running the machines, and was intrigued by the larger ones, particularly the “grinders.” Over the next 25 years, Cash would be the key person to make decisions on new and rebuilt equipment purchases for the company. During this time, he also concentrated on the knife-making processes, and learned the “old-school” ways from the machinists who had spent their entire careers at Kinetic. Cash was always thinking of, and trying new and more efficient manufacturing methods by using new equipment and techniques.
Since 1970, Kinetic has occupied its 10-acre Greendale site. This state-of-the-art facility is home to highly skilled engineers, metallurgists, machinists and technical support professionals, many of whom have decades of experience satisfying Kinetic customers.Their vast combined knowledge – and passion for stretching the boundaries of quality – equip its customers with the best, longest-lasting knives in the industry.
When Joseph Masters passed away in 2013, the two brothers co-managed the company. Then, in 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic spread and the world went into lock down, Cash was named president/owner According to Cash, his favorite part of leading Kinetic is “leading the best team of salespeople, engineers, finance and skilled craftsman and women. Together we make the finest industrial knives and hardened wear products in the world.”
Kinetic serves a wide range of industries with its diverse product line and quality services:
- Steel Industry
- Paper Industry
- Metal Industry
- Rubber Tire and Plastic Industries
- Food Processing and Packaging
- Grinding, Machining and Heat-Treating Services
- Full-Service Machine Shop
Think about all the fascinating ways an industrial steel knife is used in today’s world. For example, blades to cut toilet paper rolls, or other knives for the paper industry, or knives to saw or slit all types of metals. How about knives to shred old rubber tires or plastic, or knives used for food packaging and sealing.
Responding to his first year as president, Cash admits it was a “very long year,” beginning with multiple daily meetings and trying to stay on top of orders – all while keeping staff healthy and safe. “Some customers were ordering several months of product in advance in case of potential shutdowns due to the pandemic,” he explains. “It was a crazy time, going from having a couple meetings a week to being in meetings most of every day. I think about how strong the entire Kinetic team is, and how our many strengths helped us through 2020.”
It is exactly those strengths that set Kinetic apart from the competition. Kinetic offers the industry’s most stringent manufacturing and testing processes, and precision-cutting solutions. Consistent quality is ensured by selecting the appropriate steels. Then, the highest quality, heat-treating services are handledby three distinct in-house furnaces. Proper heat-treating refines the material’s grain structure so that it provides the ideal combination of strength, hardness and ductility. And finally, unparalleled service and after-sale support complement Kinetic’s high standards. A combination of premium equipment, state-of-the-art technologies and decades of experience allows Kinetic to tackle and solve any challenge – to yield the world’s best industrial knives.
Cash admits that “2021 is going to be a game changer” but is excited about what the new year has to offer. Among its new product offerings are two exclusive products being introduced for the paper industry. “After the craziness of 2020, I am so proud of our team as they continue to meet and exceed industry standards, and create innovative products for the future,” states Cash.
Cash and his wife Gina, along with daughter Victoria and son Clayton, have lived in Greendale for more than 20 years. Cash says the Village is a “great place to live, shopping is convenient, and welove the small-town feel while being only minutes away from the airport or downtown Milwaukee.” Get ready for the fourth generation of the Masters’ family coming up through the ranks, as Clayton works on Kinetic’s shop floor.
This article was first published in the magazine Life in the Village, spring 2021 edition.