When Hans Hausner created and ran Germany’s largest chrome plating company during World War II, he could not have known that more than 70 years later, his grandsons would be running a company built on those foundations in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Hausner Hard Chrome is an industrial hard coating services company offering hard chrome plating to reduce friction, wear, corrosion, sticking and chemical and heat damage to metal components that range from small dental burrs to 75-ton mill rolls.
The company’s corporate headquarters along with a 36,000 square foot plant are on Medley Road in Owensboro, where about 90 employees work. Another plant just outside Chicago in Elk Grove, Illinois, employs about 40 people.
CEO Dave Hausner said their services allow companies to rebuild, protect and extend the life of their parts due to excessive wear and tear during operation. Their unique H.H. Chromeseal plating process can be applied in any thickness from 10 millionths of an inch to a quarter inch to components such as coal screens, valves, shafts, housings, rolls, plates and machine parts ranging from sizes that fit in your hand to parts that require 35-ton crane capacity.
Their principal customers come from diversified industries including mining, steel, aluminum, manufacturing, aerospace, metal processing and roofing. Other customers include the oil and fuel industry, power plants, food processing plants and plastics manufacturers.
To apply the chrome plating to a part, technicians place the component in a tank with their propriety Chromeseal solution that enhances the properties of chrome. An electric current then bonds the chrome to the part, protecting it and extending its life by up to five times in some cases.
Hausner said they focus on three main characteristics as a company: quality, service and innovation. “That’s who we are,” he said. “Our creativity allows us not only to solve problems, but to come up with new processes and tools.”
Those three characteristics guide everything they do. “If you don’t do it right, you’re going to have a problem,” he said. They once had a company ask them to coat a 30-foot cylinder when their largest tank was only 20 feet long. Their solution? Turn the cylinder itself into a tank by capping it off. Problem solved. Their quality control focus includes inspections through every phase of each project.
Hausner Hard Chrome also provides on-site services for companies who cannot send the parts to the plant or who need repairs done quickly. They have worked inside a shuttle hanger at NASA, on a printing press for $100 bills at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. and inside the blast furnace at a steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They can also provide alternative coatings with their thermal spray services.
Hausner’s grandfather’s creative DNA still flows through the company; he held 54 patents and worked on German V-2 rockets. The German government forced him to work for them in World War II before he came to the United States to work for Chrysler. He wouldn’t hand over his patent rights to them, so he started his own company with his son Wolfgang.
When Hans retired, Wolfgang founded Hausner Hard Chrome in Elk Grove in 1969. Dave is now the CEO and his brother Jeff is the President. They have grown up in the business and while they have titles, they don’t stand on ceremony. “We wear a lot of hats,” Hausner said, including sales, engineering and more.
The company expanded to Owensboro after setting up plating operations to improve the screens for Owensboro’s Hendrick Screen Company in the late 1970s. Hausner Hard Chrome eventually took over the plating and then built their own plant. Their initial building was 12,000 square feet, and they added 24,000 square feet in 1989.
The plant is full of overhead cranes to hoist large, heavy parts (they once worked on a 90,000-lb motor armature) a machining department to grind parts to appropriate finishes, and dozens of machines, technicians and parts, all with one goal: to serve the customer.
The Hausners extend their service philosophy to giving back to the community as well. They have become involved in several ministries in Owensboro, including MentorKids, CareNet, Friends of Sinners and more.
“God has changed our hearts and grown our desire to serve better,” Hausner said. “We’re going to great lengths to improve who we are and the impact we have.”