Jenfab Cleaning Solutions manufactures washers, not to be confused with where you put your dirty laundry, but equipment that cleans small and large parts in industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical and more.
Jenfab and JRI Industries were previously separate companies. However, in 2013 JRI purchased Jenfab and the company became known as JRI/Jenfab. In March 2019, JRI/Jenfab consolidated its operations and rebranded as Jenfab Cleaning Solutions.
Jenfab Cleaning Solutions CEO Rhonda Wright says Jenfab was started in Connecticut in 1960 by Kurt Jensen, and JRI was started in Springfield about 30 years ago by Jack Rogers. During the consolidation, the company closed its facility in Berlin, Connecticut, and is now based out of the 66,000-square-foot building in Springfield, which they moved into in April 2017.
Jenfab Cleaning Solutions’ declined to disclose revenue, but Wright says most of its sales comes from manufacturing parts washers, although the company also offers repairs and service on parts washers.
Wright says Jenfab started manufacturing washers for NASA when Jensen started it in 1960.
“That was his first company that he worked with, when he started his company many moons ago,” she says. “We started off in that industry, then it went to automotive and it went to different industries.”
Diverse customers, products
John Manley, owner of Manley Equipment based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, is a distributor for Jenfab Cleaning Solutions.
Manley says Jenfab customers vary from oil and gas companies, manufacturers, the large industrial engine business, the aerospace industry and more.
“Everybody has to clean something, no matter what industry it’s in,” he says. “The type of customers we call on are so diverse.”
The sizes, types and price range of these washers vary just as much as the types of customers, Manley says.
“In a washer you can have anything from a 2-foot diameter to a 12-foot diameter,” he says. “So something you could stand in as opposed to something you could put a small part in.”
Washers styles on Jenfab’s website include those for conveyor belts, cabinets, dip agitators, and rotary baskets and drums. These machines can vary in cost everywhere from $10,000 to $300,000.
David Dietzel, vice president of engineering at Jenfab, says the most sold washers are the PCS front load cleaning system, which are industrial-sized washers.
Dietzel says most washers the company builds are built to specification for each client. He says the process includes drawing and modeling the machine before its built, then sending it into production, working on electrical, programing and then testing the machines.
“We are really adamant about running the machine before the customer sees it, to make sure it does what we think it’s supposed to do,” he says. “Then we almost always run the machine with the customers.”
The machines do more than washing, he says, but the machines can wash and dry parts, and even put an anti-rust coating on metal parts.
“It’s really rewarding at the end, when you start with nothing and you build something, and at the end you come up with a product that really makes (customers) happy,” Wright says.
Additionally, Jenfab Cleaning Solutions is trying to be as green as possible by being mostly water-based instead of using solution-based cleaning, Wright says.
“We don’t want to do anything that hurts the environment whatsoever,” she says. “We are probably 95% aqueous based and we push that very heavily, because we want to do what’s good for the environment and make sure we keep our earth clean.”
Part of the reason behind the recent consolidation of the companies was because the Jenfab facility in Berlin, Connecticut, focused on specialized machines for the customer while JRI focused on more mass produced items.
“When the two companies came together, (JRI) wanted to have a more inclusive offering, that’s why we purchased Jenfab,” Wright says. “When it came to the consolidation, we were looking at what we could do to grow the industry. We decided we wanted to have it all under one location because it makes it easier for common practices and we have our engineering group here.”
Another benefit to staying in Missouri was it’s a friendlier state for a growing manufacturing business, Wright says.
“From a cost perspective, it’s more economical to have employees in this part of the country,” she says. “On the East Coast you can easily add 30%-45% to the base wage. From keeping your costs low and staying competitive, those are things we consider.”
Wright says that if Jenfab Cleaning Solutions were to grow in the future, that the Springfield location was built with the possibility of expansion in mind.
“Part of our strategic plan moving forward is to really grow our line and to expand upon the customization to the market,” Wright says.
She says the company’s goal is to help companies that purchase from them, such as GM and Remington, to name a couple, have their needs met.
“I tell people all the time that we ‘put it in, it comes out clean, and that’s all you need to know,’” she says. “But, there’s much more to it; it’s more complex than that.”
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