Fourth generation Superior Die Set celebrates 90th anniversary

By Clare Goldsberry
Published: August 2nd, 2013

There are not many companies in the mold industry that can claim 90 years in business, but Superior Die Set Corp. is proud to accept that honor this year. Founded in 1923 by Kasimir J. Janiszewski, a blacksmith by trade, the Oak Creek, WI-based company has evolved to become one of the nation's oldest family-owned and run corporations, employing over 500 people worldwide, including a wholly owned subsidiary - FCPK Bytow - in Poland, from where Kasimir Janiszewski emigrated at the age of 23.

Hard work, perseverance, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit helped Janiszewski put Superior Die Set at the forefront as a supplier of die sets, mold bases, pins/bushings, three-platen presses, cut-and-ground machined plate, fabrications and forging products. Leadership at Superior has been passed through four generations including Kasimir's sons Alphonse, Casimir H. and Edward in the 1960s. Casimir H. (Casey) Janiszewski, was made company president in 1968, serving in that capacity for 55 years, and today still acts as chairman at age 89.

In an interview with Casey Janiszewski, he explained to PlasticsToday that he was very instrumental in getting Superior into the plastic mold business. "At that time, when I was president my father was still active in the company," he said. "Every time I brought up the subject of plastics and getting into the mold business, he countered me by saying 'there's no reason we should go into plastic - nothing is made in plastic.'  Of course at that time there were a lot of things being made in plastic including automotive parts.  So we didn't go into the plastic mold business until after my father died. It took a lot of money to get into that business, but I knew the future was there in plastics."

Today, the plastic injection mold business is a big - and growing - part of Superior's business and the company is seeing greater demand for its mold bases and components.  "We've been quite successful with it," Janiszewski said, "even more so over the past few years. We're going through an expansion now and making the investment in new technology. We see it as a real growth opportunity in the future.

"Some of the new Haas CNC high-speed machining equipment we're installing is very impressive," said Janiszewski. "I'm so impressed with the new technology and advancements - so much more accurate and faster than we had many years ago."

Casey will celebrate his 90th birthday on Sept. 12, and Superior will celebrate 90 years in business that same week, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 10 with a dinner and plant tour for members of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA). The festivities include an open house and plant tours for media and dignitaries on Sept. 10, along with a 90th dinner celebration that evening; and an open house event on Sept. 13, for customers and vendors.

That week's celebration will conclude with an open house for employees and their families.

Today, family members include Casimir J. (also nicknamed Casey) and Frank J. Janiszewski, who serve as CEO & President, and Executive Vice President respectively. Casey's sons, Nicholas (Customer & Product Support Manager) and Steven (Regional Sales Manager) are part of Superior's management. Frank's son Jacob, serves the company as Production Scheduler.

In addition to Superior Die Set, the family also owns Greendale Precision Services (GPS), which was founded in 1974. GPS started manufacturing precision punches for the metal stamping industry, but gradually added mold and medical components to the mix. Today, operating in a climate controlled facility and using state-of-the-art equipment, GPS products are used in the automotive, off-road, aerospace, furniture and medical industries.

Superior has managed to survive the ups and downs of manufacturing including the Great Depression, the push for offshore manufacturing in the early 2000s, and the recession in 2008.  In spite of challenges, over the past year Superior has invested millions of dollars in new equipment to its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, which includes a sophisticated ERP computer system that allows the company to be completely paperless on the shop floor while maintaining over 2500 work orders each day. A plant expansion is planned for later this year.

Superior's President Frank Janiszewski added, "Manufacturing is in our blood, and we are committed to our employees, our great customer base and our supportive vendors. Our goals and vision for the future are to build a stronger company and develop new, innovative manufacturing techniques to allow us to serve our valued customers with both better products and greater productivity."

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