Creating Custom Solutions for over 35 Years
Our story begins like a lot of family-owned businesses: In a small location as one person’s dream, and our dream started in 1983. Do you remember 1983? You could pick up a new Dodge Ram 50 for $5700, Mario Bros. debuted as a video game and leg warmers were the pique of fashion.
After getting out of the US Army, our co-founder, Orville Rinne, went to work as a salesman for Henry Filters in Ohio. While working there he met a man who was an engineer for a company we all know – SKF Bearings. They had just come up with a conveyor system that was going to revolutionize the industry. Orville and his son, Rhett, thought it was a great opportunity, and with that and their Midwestern work ethic they went to work selling some of the United States’ first FlexLink conveyor systems.
One Man's Dream, Born in a Garage
When the original integrator decided to leave SKF, FlexLink needed another integrator, and Flex-Line Automation, Inc. was born. It all started in Orville Rinne’s garage and shop. Orville’s son, Rhett, and his wife, Cathy, were on board from the start.
Flex-Line has remained a family business since, with employees like Rhett and Cathy’s daughter, Lauren, growing up in the business and becoming an integral part of our day-to-day operations.
We’re pretty proud of Flex-Line. We’ve poured ourselves into this company, and we love our work! We really get to know our clients and their needs, and we get to “save the day” a lot, thanks to creative thinking and industry knowledge and experience. At Flex-Line, we are all family, including our customers!
A History of Excellence
In 1987, four years after we started, we became an authorized FlexLink System Builder. This was when they just started the program; in fact, we were selling FlexLink in the US before they even had an office here.
Since we started creating solutions, we’ve earned many awards for excellence in sales and service from FlexLink, as well as other vendors. We’ve also patented several new products and conveyor solutions that we’ve developed internally. We’d love to tell you more about those, but due to their proprietary nature, we can’t.
Keeping secrets is part of our business, and if we develop something for you that needs to stay quiet, we can do that. We understand the competitive nature of business, and your need to keep that edge on the competition.
Calling Chester Home
Flex-Line is based in Chester, IL. We’re in a great central location in the US, close to major interstates and right on the banks of the Mississippi River. Not only is it a beautiful area, but we’re also in a perfect spot to get your order out the door and on the road to you.
Chester, IL is also the home of Popeye (you know, the “Sailor Man?” Spinach ring a bell?), and we’re definitely Popeye enthusiasts. In fact, we love it so much that Rhett built a custom 1948 Harley Davidson Panhead replica, decked out in tribute to Popeye. Our lobby features a display case with generations of Popeye memorabilia, too.
The Flex-Line crew are animal lovers, and we support the local Humane Society with donations. We have also donated to help the tornado victims in Alabama, and support bettering our own local community as well.
We’ve created unique solutions for clients all over the country, from smaller businesses to large, corporate giants, and they’ve all agreed that we deliver a cost-effective and custom solution that satisfied their needs and improved their process.
A lot has changed since 1983, but one that hasn’t is our dedication to being at the top of our industry, and doing it by exceeding your expectations with every turn. Whether you’re ready to change the world or you’re just reworking the production floor, let us help. We can handle it better than anyone.
Explore Recent Latest News & Stories
You wanna watch this!
That is right all! Our new boxEZ video has launched! Watch the video that Gabe in engineering described as “That is, actually not bad.” What do you think? Personally, I didn’t think the last collaborative box erector video was bad; but I do agree that this one is phenomenal! Watch it and let me know!
Recycle conveyor systems to support production and the planet!
Recycling is an important topic so this Earth day I decided to put on my planateer hat and let you know how easy it is to recycle conveyor systems! Here is the sustainability statement from FlexLink which kind of covers this if you want something more technical, but let’s dive in! So let’s talk […]
Let’s talk case packing!
Let’s dive into the world of case packing! Case packing, putting products into boxes or cases for transportation and storage, sounds simple. However, there are a lot of components that go into making it happen. Firstly, some products don’t lend themselves well to being case packed by a robot. For instance, irregularly shaped, extremely heavy, […]
New product alert! The Thouzer by Doog!
Go watch “Rhett’s Robot Emporium“, and you can see why the collective groan is real when one of us comes back with yet ANOTHER automated solution that we want to add. Our line sheet is already pretty crowded. But this one is on me. The Thouzer is so cool! We all know that material […]
Robots are like tractors.
FYI today’s blog is not about all the cool advancements in agricultural robots. Even though I am still trying to encourage my husband to design a “hay”GV so I don’t have to pick up square bales anymore and I think the advancements there are really cool. But we are talking big picture. Despite what you […]
Rust-out is rising, is it time to look beyond ROI?
Hey guys, ROI isn’t everything. There. I said it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, or different opinions as the case may be. However if you are only thinking about ROI when it comes to deciding whether or not an investment in automation is a good move you are doing yourself a […]
Is it an XL or an X65? An XM or an X85? How do you tell these conveyors apart?
It can sometimes be challenging to try to determine chain series for tabletop conveyor systems. Since the patents have been expiring on FlexLink plastic chain conveyors they have come out with a variety of new series, which to the casual observer look like the old style. But they are not backwards compatible, so we have […]
What’s in a name?
Let’s talk pallet / palletizing / pallet handling conveyors! Okay, so ya’ll know I have grown up in this industry. That usually means that I am all up on the jargon, but that isn’t always the case. Take for example, “pallet conveyors.” There are three main types of conveyor that someone who calls up and […]
Feeling unstable? Get a stretch wrapper!
If your company needs to palletize and ship goods, you need a stretch wrapper! These machines wrap stretch film (think giant saran wrap) around a load of products, securing them for transport, and preventing damage. There are several different types of stretch wrappers available, each with its own unique features and advantages. The most common […]
Integrating Robotic Palletizers
As full service robotic integrators it is no surprise that we have gotten quite heavily into the realm of robotic palletizers. What is that? Well, robotic palletizing is using a robot is used to arrange products or packages onto a pallet. The robot, or cobot, is programmed to pick and place items in a pattern […]