R-K was started in February 1949 by Bill Keller, my dad, and John Runge. My dad was working for a wholesaler that was holding commissions on him and Mr. Runge was an electrical engineer that was being passed by in his organization. While at lunch one day, they decided they couldn’t do any worse working for themselves and R-K was started.
R-K started out as R-K Electric Company, Inc. as a panel builder. DC voltage was still king of controls after World War II and they did a lot of DC control panels for the steel mills, the machine tool industry and paper manufacturing industries. Gradually, R-K became one of the largest control panel companies in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
During the early 60’s, Mr. Runge started tinkering around with “electronics”. The transistor wasn’t in the main stream then, so neon bulbs were used to turn On and Off the relays in the early timers. (Yes, inside of every timer was a light!) When the transistor came out, R-K moved on to more “sophisticated” electronics.
By the late 70’s the electronics section of R-K was growing fast and by the mid-80’s the control panel business was closed and R-K focused completely on electronics. At that point we changed the company name to R-K Electronics (to avoid all of the phone calls asking if R-K did residential wiring) and more identified R-K with the electronics world.
By the mid-80’s I (John Keller) became the sole owner of R-K and developed it into the company that it is today.
What R-K is Today
Today, R-K manufactures a wide variety of electronic automation control components for the electrical controls industry. We cover very low voltage intrinsically safe relays (no sparking in hazardous areas) up to 600 volt three phase monitoring controls.
In addition to our standard line of products R-K also designs and manufactures custom processor based embedded controllers for our OEMs. These are dedicated PLCs with the hardware, programming and packaging that is specifically designed to what our OEMs need to operate their equipment.
R-K's focus is on innovation. While many competitors have products that look and operate like everyone else, R-K listens to the customers and develops control components that have innovative features that improve the capabilities of the products for the customers and simplify their control requirements. Making our customers more successful is the goal!
What’s in the Future?
R-K continues to stretch our understanding of quality electronic design and is focusing even more on our customers. R-K continues to improve its products and manufacturing capabilities and is developing controls that interface with our own color touch screens. Our customers drive our future!
Contact us if you want to learn more about how R-K can help you!