Made Right Here: K'Nex
Updated On: Jan 16 2012 05:43:07 PM CST
If you dream it, you can build it with K'NEX.
"We're a third generation family business," said Michael Araten, President and CEO of K'NEX Brands. The company has been around since 1992.
It all happens in Hatfield, Montgomery County.
"We're the only toy company in the world that makes things on a mass scale still in America" Araten said.
This is the place where some of the biggest sellers in toy aisles all over the world are born.
"We've got NASCAR cars going, we've got Monster Jam monster truck, we've got Sesame Street for the pre-schoolers, and we make Lincoln Logs, and of course our roller coasters," said Araten.
The process starts with an idea from one of the "creative-types," then the rest of the team brings it to life. Almost everything is crafted on the premises, including the parts that make the toys, and the stainless steel molds that make the parts.
"What this allows us to do is carve it in any shape we want," said Araten. "So essentially what we're doing is fancy jello mold making."
Once the mold is in place the machines can get to work, churning out parts around the clock. The parts start out as raw plastic. Color is added, and then the machine shapes the part.
"Almost everything that the kid plays with is made here, all our rods, our connectors, our bricks," said Araten.
But one thing that doesn't roll off the assembly line at K'NEX, is waste. All excess plastic is recycled at the machine. In fact, K'NEX recycles enough plastic to make about a million K'NEX sets every year, according to Araten.
Away from the factory floor, the "big kids" are also hard at work, trying out new products, and trying to figure out what the next big thing will be in toy land, which is something the folks at K'NEX seem to have down to a science.
"It's real cool to know that about every hour of every day, a few million kids in the world are playing with stuff that we made here in Hatfield," said Araten.
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