NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski has joined the ranks of entrepreneurs in the metalworking industry while continuing his successful racing career. He has launched a new company, Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (KAM), focused on hybrid machining technologies. The company held a grand opening at its 70,000 sq.-ft. Statesville, N.C. facility, on Thursday, Jan. 24, which was attended by KAM employees, industry partners, local media, racing media, and manufacturing industry media. Keselowski is investing “tens of millions of dollars” in equipment and expertise. KAM currently employs 30 people and expects to have up to 100 employees. The new company started up in April 2018.
In addition to presentations by Keselowski and others, the grand opening featured three panel discussions with KAM staffers, industry partners, and other technical experts.
KAM’s industry partners include ALSCO, BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., GE Additive, Mazak Corp. and Pinnacle X-Ray Solutions. The new company is located in the building formerly occupied by Keselowski’s Camping World Truck Series team. His team, Brad Keselowski Racing, ended operations at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
KAM will be focused as much on additive manufacturing technology as traditional manufacturing technology. Motorsports is said to be one of the earliest industries to adopt 3-D printing technology, using it for rapid prototyping of its expensive, one-off cars, and Keselowski became familiar with AM technology as a racer.
“The capabilities of new technologies are limited only by our imaginations and willingness to act,” said Keselowski. “Until now, much of this advanced manufacturing technology was considered too complex and too expensive for production level applications. By combining additive manufacturing with subtractive capabilities, the goal of KAM is to lead the way for the next industrial revolution by making these technologies more accessible.” KAM has already installed 3D printers from GE’s Concept Laser unit, multiple machine tools from Mazak Corp., and toolholding, workholding and metrology equipment. More equipment is on the way.
KAM will offer custom solutions in metal hybrid manufacturing for industries including aerospace, medical, automotive, defense, oil and gas, and tool and die.
Keselowski plans to continue racing and will be at Daytona Feb. 17 when the NASCAR season opens. Steve Fetch, general manager, will oversee day-to-day operations at KAM. He previously was vice president of global quality for 3D Systems.
Major industry suppliers are supporting KAM. “It’s fantastic to work with a true entrepreneur like Brad Keselowski, and we are excited to be a partner with KAM for tooling and tool measurement systems. Brad has a bold vision for his company and great people on his team. We wish them all the best in this new endeavor,” said Chris Kaiser, president and CEO of BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., Hoffman Estates, Illinois, who attended the event and spoke at one of the panel discussions.
“Mazak congratulates Brad and wishes him the best of luck on the grand opening of Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing,” said Dan Janka, president, Mazak Corp., Florence, Ky., who also attended and participated in a panel discussion. “We at Mazak are honored to be a KAM technical partner and are committed to providing Brad and his team with the industry’s most advanced and highest quality manufacturing technology and support to ensure KAM’s productivity and its success.”
Keselowski, 34, is the sixth highest-paid NASCAR driver with total earnings of $11.2 million, according to Forbes’ 2018 list of NASCAR’s highest-paid drivers. He was the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.
Keselowski has a long family history in manufacturing and racing. His grandfather made drill bits for the military during World War II and he worked with his father and uncle, both of whom were racers, as they built their cars in the family shop. As a driver, Keselowski learned more about advanced machines, tools, engineering designs and other technological innovations.