Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day One Photos



Jim Laystrom

Engineering Manager

Laystrom Manufacturing

3900 W. Palmer St.

Chicago, IL 60647

Voice: 773-342-4800 x212

Fax: 773-342-9762

Cell: 312-835-7009



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Watch this space for upcoming photos of our laser install!!

Starting today 9/7, we began installing our new 4000W laser, expanding our already world class flexible manufacturing system. We are already capable of running 24/7 – now we can run twice as much!

Colin Cosgrove

Sales Manager

Laystrom Manufacturing Co.

3900 West Palmer Street

Chicago IL 60647

c. 773 852 3863

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our profile on the

Colin Cosgrove

Sales Manager

Laystrom Manufacturing Co.

3900 West Palmer Street

Chicago IL 60647

p. 773 342 4800

f. 773 342 9762

c. 773 852 3863

Please visit our website

For the latest updates, visit our blog

It's the end of the world as we know it...

No it’s not! It’s the future – twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook! And now you can learn (a little) more about us by visiting each of those sites:




Colin Cosgrove


Sales Manager

Laystrom Manufacturing Co.

3900 West Palmer Street

Chicago IL 60647

p. 773 342 4800

f. 773 342 9762


c. 773 852 3863




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fab 40

We are pleased to be recognized by The Fabricator as one of the "Fab 40" - their list of the "the most aggressive and successful shops" in their readership. The magazine contacted 1,000 people in February and published the Fab 40 in June.

Fab 40

Dan Davis is the Editor-in-Chief of The Fabricator: “To our knowledge, no other magazine has attempted to put together such a list,” Davis said. “The FAB 40 not only gives the metal fabricating companies — those on the list and perhaps those wanting to be on it — a chance to see how they compare with other companies, but also provides a glimpse into where the industry is headed.”

The magazine cites several ways that these companies have handled the recent economic realities, including:
- investing in equipment
- strengthening relationships with current customers
- targeting new sales
- focusing internally to get rid of waste.

That sure sounds a lot like what we have been busy doing here at Laystrom!

Thanks to everyone at The Fabricator for this recognition - we will most assuredly plan on maintaining our position amongst the industry best year after year after year!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Metal Forming Magazine

Brad Kuvin, Editor of Metal Forming Magazine, in his April editorial, recognized Laystrom as a "forward thinking" company due to our recent install of a high-efficiency steam boiler and high-efficiency aluminum windows.

More from Bob Laystrom:

With the help of the CITY OF CHICAGO through a ‘Small Business Improvement Fund’ (SBIF) grant, we have made two GREEN investments. We found that working with the city on this program was ridiculously simple – another way that the City supports business in Chicago. The City is picking up ½ of the cost of these major capital improvements.

First we replaced all of our 2nd floor office windows (circa 1940’s) with high efficiency windows. We are using less energy, and also getting the benefits of reduced glare, improved appearance and noise reduction.

The second investment - we are replacing our low pressure steam boiler used to heat the factory (circa 1920’s) with a modern high efficiency boiler with an expected reduction in natural gas usage of 10-15%.

Thanks to the City of Chicago, Alderman Reboyras (, the staff at Somercor ( ) and the staff at Greater Northwest Chicago Development Corporation ( ) A link to the City’s webpage for the SBIF program is:,+engine+has+been+restarted&contenTypeName=COC_EDITORIAL&

As Bob says, working with the city could not have been easier throughout this process. As summer comes around we can all attest to the wonderful benefits of having tinted efficient windows - the thermostat remains untouched and, as I write this, a cool afternoon breeze sweeps through the offices. Now that's a way to make the office workforce more efficient too!

Thursday, April 15, 2010 New face of blue collar workers  
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FMA Safety Award

Laystrom has been awarded the FMA Satefy Award of Merit - a testament to our disciplined employees who focus on their environment and take pride in their work.

Friday, August 28, 2009

TMA Safety Award


Recently Laystrom received our Certificate of Registration for ISO 9001:2008 - we thank all the employees who help us acheive this distinction and maintain the high level of customer service this demands.

Friday, May 29, 2009

News about GM and the manufacturing supplier base

Two of our respected colleagues in industry, Virgil DeLay of Diemasters Manufacturing and Bruce Baker of the Tooling and Manufacturing Association, were recently asked to vocalise a supplier's view on the ongoing GM situation. Please click on the attached link to read a CBS report and view the attached video.

Like Diemasters, it is our diversity that helps us remain strong in the recent economy. We fully support Virgil's call to his customer: "Communicate, communicate, communicate to your supply base. We're all in this together."

This seemingly simple call to action is fundamental in allowing a supply base to react to fluctuations in demand and to make the necessary adjustments for success. As a business - setting aside any political implications or societal responsibilities - it will do GM and Chrylser no good to restructure themselves for long term viability if they do not involve their business partners - the supply base - in their plans and do not talk to that base. This is true of any business at any scale.

When we began to make our decisions about transferring work to our Chicago facility from Elk Grove, many of our earliest questions and concerns were about the impact, long term and short, on both our customers and our suppliers. Once we validated that the impact would be overwhelmingly positive, the following procedures and steps became much more justifiable and logical.

"Communicate, communicate, communicate" - it's a simple message but it can make a big difference!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Here's what's next!

In an earlier post I proposed the question: What's next?

My answer was to point out that the fundamental elements of what has made Laystrom a successful business for over 50 years do not change just because the stock market is up this week or down the next. Strategic planning, strength through diversify, and strong customer service remain valid foundations for growth and prosperity.

With this in mind I can say that change is not only good, it is important. What is most important is what changes are made and how they are made. The core principles do not change, but many peripheral elements must, by necessity, shift and reset over time. What is most important is to manage change and maintain focus on customer needs and expectations.

As we relocate our Elk Grove operation and reshape our Chicago facility, we are actually improving our on time delivery! We are managing the diverse and complex needs of over 100 customers in 20+ different markets and managing our own strategic initiatives too!

Up next will be an online auction to clear out some space and enable us to improve product flow, implement efficiency directives and put ourselves in a position of strength as the economy around us recovers and expands.


Click here for good deals!

Latest news: we are selling some of our assets so we can merge into one building and gain efficiency and strength through product flow and targeted application of resources.

Last year, when we increased our laser cutting capacity and opened up space in our Chicago plant, we realised just how much more capacity we could have if we focused more on our product flow and floor plan. After doing the appropriate analysis and planning, we have decided to shift all operations from our Elk Grove facility to our Chicago facility.

Click on this link to see the eqiupment and accessories we have going to auction. We are excited to lay out the next phase of our growth plan and move some equipment out so we can move more equipment in!


Monday, April 20, 2009

What's next?

In 2008 Laystrom focused on growth, development of new markets, and new equipment required to satisfy strategic planning, strength through diversity and strong customer service.

And this year's themes?

Strategic planning, strength through diversify, and strong customer service! These still remain the core elements upon which we run our business. The world around us may be suggesting specific tactical decisions and areas of focus, but the fundamental strengths that our customers rely on remain the same.

We have been around for a long time, we have seen a lot of up and downs, and we have stayed true to the belief that we can and will succeed in meeting our customers expectations. The foundations of our business are solid and our relationships with our customers and suppliers remain strong.

With these factors in mind, we are always in position to focus on long term strategic planning. Coming soon, I will have an update here that will lay out some of the plan for us to maintain our high level of customer service and our diversity.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008 Letter to customers and friends

Just before Christmas, Bob and I personally signed and sent this letter to many of our customers and friends, along with our annual calendar. If you didn't receive either, let me know and I'll remedy that!

Dear Customers and Friends,

Like many of you, we have found this to be an interesting year. As we wind the clock forward to 2009, we all have questions that need to be answered, and a vision of the future to be understood.

Has the sky fallen?
Our answer is No. Some of our customers are up, and some are not – none have filed for bankruptcy, and we don’t expect any will. We remain positive about the long-term direction of manufacturing and, for our part, we will continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations as we have for 58 years.

Concerned about costs?
Twice this past year a major customer of ours was faced with escalating costs and asked us to join them in the pursuit of cost containment. We readily agreed, and through a co-operative design process we reduced our customers’ costs by 20% for upwards of $60,000 in annualized savings. How can we help you control costs?

What are you planning for the 2009?
Earlier this year we purchased a Flexible 4000W Laser Manufacturing System. This system delivers speed, agility and lights-out 24/7 automation. It is another significant and strategic investment that keeps us firmly at the forefront of metal processing capability. We are planning our future and, while we do not expect it to be easy, it is a bright future. Come see for yourself!

We are a diverse organization, not beholden to the Big 3 and we do not need a bailout!
With you, our customers and friends, we are working our way towards a stronger, more resilient manufacturing industry. At the core of our relationships is a belief in collaborative effort and partnership. It is in the melding of our strengths with yours that we both grow stronger and help each other remain at the competitive edge of industry.

For questions about our new laser, our plans for the future, and for more on how Laystrom can help you meet your goals, call me at 773.852.3863, or email me at

Lets make it a prosperous 2009 together!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The result of a lot of hard work

Now that we have a clean floor, we could have a barn dance or a rave, but I think we'll maybe just wait a couple of weeks to let the concrete cure and then...
Stay tuned!

More progress...

It may look like bobcat rodeo or bobcat demolition derby, but it's really just a bunch of guys working hard!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Changes - first there was a lot of steel...

This are images from our factory floor in mid-June 2008
Stay tuned for changes!

Monday, June 23, 2008


As can be seen above, a photograph can say a thousand words!

We recently brought in a professional to get product shots, as well as people and machinery. The results will be posted on our website ( as will as in some sales and marketing literature. We expect this will show the diversity of industries and markets that we serve, highlighting our capabilities in stamping, fabrication and, as always, in quick-turn prototyping.

More to come soon!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

PMA Sales and Marketing Roundtable

Looking forward to reporting next week on the PMA Sales and Marketing Roundtable in Nashville, which is taking place this Thursday 5/15.

Topics for discussion will include - among other things - Market Trends, Quoting, Material Pricing, International Opportunities & Strategic Planning.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tooling and Manufacuring Association

We are also listed with the Tooling and Manufacturing Association - although this listing is permanent!

I am currently serving on the Marketing Committee with TMA as we work together with our peers to find the best ways of marketing this industry to the public, as well as to our customers!


PMA Member of the Month

On the website of the Precision Metalforming Association, we are now listed as the "Member of the Month!"

Click on the title of this post to get to the site and scroll down just a little.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another selection of samples

Quick-turn prototypes - we made these in 3-5 days to help our customer get their product to market quickly
These were a fun project - we produced a multitude of these for the telecommunications industry

Acquisition of these upright parts was a dire emergency for our customer, so we turned them around in rapid fashion and helped them close the deal with their customer.
A 20-piece assembly, often called a "card-cage" for the electronics industry
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Engineering examples

The frame - critical to machine stability! - for an industrial packaging customer

Industrial packaging - 7 ga. construction. This particular item is part of a major project where we are working together with our customer to reduce costs - even in the face of increased steel costs!
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Friday, April 4, 2008

We came across this article written about the incredible depth and diversity of the Chicago manufacturing base. Best I can figure, this was written in the early 1970's. Have things changed since then in Chicago (and at Laystrom - see the highlighted section on page 3) - yes and the rate of change is constantly increasing. For those of you who are 'seasoned' like I am, seeing a few of the old company names serves as a reminder of how much things have changed.

I would argue that the Greater Chicago area still has the most depth and diversity of any US manufacturing center. Many of the company names mentioned are gone, but we still have a lot of talented companies!

Has Laystrom changed -- sure. Just like Chicago, we have developed a lot more depth and diversity to what we do. Back then, we made metal stampings for 'aircraft and automotive' markets. In 2008, we still make metal stampings but our processes are just as much CNC sheet metal fabricated parts (lasers/turret press/robotic welding) and short run type metalformed parts as it is stampings. And we do very little these days for the automotive marketplace and instead concentrate on other markets - Among many other market segments, we service medical, telecom, ag. and construction equipment, packaging systems, and lab testing equipment. We do a lot of prototyping today. Bob Laystrom

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Amada Press Brake!

With 130T of forming power and a 10' bed, our Amada HDS is versatile and productive every day!

Not just a big hammer, but a practical and efficient machine!

The ability to program offline, as well as form multiple bends in one set-up is critical to our success in meeting and exceeding customers' expectations.
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