Founded in 1910, Danuser is an international equipment manufacturer specializing in augers, skid steer attachments and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
Based in Fulton, Missouri, the fourth-generation family company serves the agriculture, construction, utility, demolition and material handling industries with a diversified roster of products that are vital to life on a farm or worksite, including power takeoff (PTO) auger systems, hydraulic auger systems, auger bits, concrete breakers and post drivers.
The company also serves agricultural, construction and turf-care customers with a range of OEM products including ball joints, custom linkages, rod ends, hydraulic cylinder components and other custom machined and fabricated parts.
A longstanding name in the industry, the company was started by Kasper Berry Danuser over 100 years ago as a simple blacksmith’s shop in Readsville, Missouri. The Danuser Machine Company remained focused on maintenance and repair work until 1937, when Kasper died and the next generation of Danusers began to transform the business.
Kasper’s son Henry began diversifying the company soon after with the introduction of a portable air compressor, a tree-moving machine and in 1941, the first rear-mounted tractor blade in the country.
In 1943 Danuser unveiled its first post hole digger, designed to such high-quality standards that serial numbers 2 and 3 are still in use today, over 70 years later. Such products helped cement Danuser’s reputation as a leading manufacturer and the company landed contracts with big names such as Ford Motor Company, J.I. Case Company and International Harvester.
“Once the name got out there we got into post drivers, rakes and boring heads for auger and log splitters and it developed from there,” says Glenn Danuser, vice president and co-owner of Danuser.
While the auger has long been the backbone of Danuser’s business, the OEM side has been on the rise as of late. OEM parts, including ball joints, klik pins and clevis pins, have been sold to over 1,000 customers in both the agricultural and nonagricultural industries. “We’re diverse; if the OEM world goes down, our attachment division is strong, and vice versa,” Glenn says.
While Danuser’s equipment is used across a number of industries, the company is particularly well-suited to serve beef cattle customers, a sector where Glenn sees some real growth potential. “They need to set fences, they need our tools, they have money and are expanding,” he says.
Intimidating the competition
Never one to rest on its laurels, Danuser has continued its legacy of innovation throughout the years. In 2015, the company introduced its latest advance: the heavy-duty, multifunction Intimidator, a land-clearing attachment for skid steers and tractors that can pull trees, stumps, shrubs and posts, dig out stumps and boulders and saw and cut roots with its replaceable excavator bucket and vertical steel jaw. The synchronized jaws are actuated by a rear-mounted cylinder, allowing users to excavate objects without the fear of damaging equipment.
“People wanted a tree-puller for years. They’ve been boring and made the same way for a while and so we wanted to make something different,” says Glenn. “Lots are ineffective unless you have a big machine like this, which can dig and dive and go after different materials.”
After a lengthy research and development process that saw the company tear through several prototypes, Danuser took the prototype Intimidator on the road in early 2015, soliciting feedback from customers on the innovative new product and allowing the company to generate buzz. The Intimidator, which has a lower operating cost than a bulldozer and requires less work than a chain saw, has quickly become a market leader; Glenn reports selling over 200 units in the first month.
“A lot of research and development went into this machine,” says Glenn. “A few companies had cornered that market, but people needed a better one so while they were complacent, we went right by them.”
Ambitious growth plans
Danuser has been located at the same site in Fulton since 1910, but the company recently added a 32,000-square-foot plant to expand the post driver market and meet the company’s goal of introducing a new product every year.
Glenn credits Danuser’s success to the company’s ability to play the long game and not get caught up in flash-in-the-pan industry trends. “Slow and steady wins the race. Everyone gets hyped up, but if you hold your ground and have a great customer base and following, you’ll be fine,” he says.
As the company continues to grow, Glenn is focused on keeping the fourth-generation business in the family, dodging acquisition while expanding its product line. Glenn himself grew up in the family business and has been pushing wheelbarrows around the yard since his teenage years. After heading to the East Coast for college, Glenn returned to the family business in 1996, joining his father and ensuring a strong line of succession. His sister Janea returned to the family business in 1999 to join the family team.
Danuser currently has 81 employees and while few of them carry the Danuser name, it still feels like one big family with average employee tenure of 14 years. “There are a few guys still in there from when I was a kid,” Glenn says. “It’s not only a family business; the employees are family too. We have to keep making the correct decisions to keep money flowing so we can all grow together.”
Strong family leadership, innovation and 100-plus years of experience put Danuser is a unique position as an industry leader, serving the agricultural and nonagricultural clients both in the U.S. and overseas.
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