Case Studies

The RDI Group: Celebrating 110 Years of Relentlessly Pursuing Innovation

  • Written by: The RDI Group: Celebrating 110 Years of Relentlessly Pursuing Innovation
  • Produced by: The RDI Group: Celebrating 110 Years of Relentlessly Pursuing Innovation
  • Estimated reading time: 5 mins

The companies that make up The RDI Group (RDI) combine decades of experience with state-of-the-art technology and tools to offer customers a special combination of product performance, project execution and ongoing support. The team listens to each customer’s individual needs and focuses all energy and resources on creating products and services that will be attractive in various markets. RDI works tirelessly to support each customer through the entire life cycle of a machine, providing parts, service and technical expertise to help customers meet or exceed individual manufacturing goals.

“We’re problem solvers for our clients,” explains Curtis Maas, chairman and CEO of RDI. “We listen to what they need to accomplish and work hard to offer the best overall solutions so our clients can meet their manufacturing objectives.”

RDI’s world headquarters is located in Itasca, Ill., where the company’s overall product lines serve customers in various industries, including asphalt roofing and waterproofing, coil processing as well as many other industrial processes, power generation and telecommunications. RDI is staffed with a team of 150 experienced, skilled employees in addition to a 120,000-square foot facility to develop, engineer and manufacture a wide range of products for RDI’s three business units.

Reichel & Drews (R&D), Chicago Slitter and RDI Enclosures are RDI’s three operating businesses. Though each serves different markets, the three businesses share resources and technical expertise to streamline operations. The companies work together seamlessly to create products that outperform the competition in productivity, product performance, customer service and support, as well as overall value.

RDI meets the needs of customers around the world with additional offices in Germany and China, as well as a skilled network of representatives worldwide. RDI equipment and products can be found in customer locations across North America, throughout Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

Engineering Expertise

“Our focus to continually meet and exceed our customers’ objectives is what continuously drives us as a team,” explains Fred Kestler, president of RDI. “We want our customers to know that we’re there for them throughout the entire lifecycle of the machine, from providing spare parts and maintenance help if needed to consulting on a complete upgrade of the system if desired. We want to be a trusted and long-term true partner for our clients and we know what we have to do to earn that role.”

R&D has the longest history of RDI’s operating businesses, with a founding date of 1902. The company provides complete production systems, individual machines, spare parts and consumables and service for manufacturers of roofing and waterproofing products worldwide. High-speed shingle production systems, modified membrane systems and traditional roofing lines built by the R&D team are making high-quality roofing products for customers around the world. R&D machines combine sophisticated process and machine control system with durable and high-performance mechanical systems to provide extremely reliable and productive capacity.

“We have been around for a very long time, but that alone means nothing,” says Maas. “What sets us apart is our intense focus on using our experience to keep improving what we do and what we offer our customers. That requires teamwork and sharing of information across our organization, and we have put in place unique tools and technology to make that happen.”

According to Maas, experience is of no value unless it leads to improvements and products that serve customers better tomorrow than yesterday. R&D has expanded with locations around the world, allowing the team to be closer to customers and develop a better understanding of individual needs in addition to ensuring the team can provide the fastest lines available in the world, or lower capacity systems if needed to meet the needs of a particular market or customer.

The team has also added various technologies along the way, boasting a range of products and the flexibility needed for R&D to serve a wide range of customers with equipment and technology as well as spare parts and a level of service to fit any budget while still meeting objectives. Whether a customer needs an entirely new plant, an upgrade to an existing plant or an individual machine to make a new product or improve overall performance, R&D has the products, experience and know-how to satisfy that need, allowing the entire RDI operation to run smoothly.

Coil-processing Equipment

But the operation doesn’t stop there. Chicago Slitter is RDI’s coil-processing equipment business, which has recently expanded through the addition of two exciting product lines. For over 40 years Chicago Slitter has provided slitting lines and cut-to-length lines, and the team has now added coil-fed laser cutting systems and high-speed punching/bending lines for a wide range of applications.

Chicago Slitter’s expanded range of highly productive coil-processing systems enables the company to serve customers in many industries. The team can provide the right system to meet a customer’s need to convert master coils to finished parts by slitting, laser cutting, punching/bending or cut-to-length.

The patented laser cutting system – direct from coil – will enable customers to lower their costs while producing high-tolerance blanks with quick changeovers and optimized nesting not possible with traditional production systems. Using the latest fiber laser technology combined with Chicago Slitter’s overall machine capabilities the team can achieve extremely high cut speed and surface quality.

Chicago Slitter is focused on providing the most productive coil processing systems available, enabling customers to successfully compete for business around the world. High-yield, high-speed and high-quality production systems combined with reliable, automated operation can provide the right investment opportunities for producers of metal parts to grow. Chicago Slitter’s goal of achieving this for every customer drives the team’s engineering and development work, showcasing the company’s part in the RDI success story.

Another 110 Years of Triumph

RDI also provides both standard and custom-engineered and -built shelters and enclosures, as well as contract manufacturing services for clients through RDI Enclosures. RDI Enclosures serves customers that need a factory-built shelter or enclosure to house equipment and systems. RDI Enclosures will supply a custom-engineered and -fabricated building to house controls, metering and pumping systems, as well as power distribution and infrastructure equipment. The company constructs each building to a client’s exacting specification, which can also include complete mechanical, electrical and piping installation, allowing the complete system to be tested and shipped from a single location. This is yet another attribute that RDI is able to provide through its group of well-versed companies.

Even with 110 years behind the teams, RDI continues to grow. Engineers throughout RDI are working on the next phase of products to meet the needs of customers. Innovation and product improvement will continue to support the strategies going forward, with the realization that in order to stay ahead, the team must remain competitive by continually improving.

“We’re investing in our products, our people and our processes to make this happen,” says Kestler. “We believe that there are great opportunities ahead for a company like ours. Our customers expect us to bring them solutions and technology that help them meet their goals, and we have every intention to not let them down.”

RDI has established many long-term relationships with customers large and small. The team will continue to explore the latest technologies ensuring every product reflects the innovation, value and quality craftsmanship for which The RDI Group stands.

Published on: March 13, 2013

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in US Builders Review” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


Spring 2018



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.