It’s a long way from crafting custom-made buttons in France to creating fastening and assembly solutions for vehicles being built around the world — 155 years long to be exact. The global ARaymond Network of companies, including its North American-based operations in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Canada, and Mexico has been celebrating its 155th anniversary this year.
The company has also been looking ahead to the next phase of the its history and reflecting on its tremendous adaptability as it has survived wars, depressions, and recessions by continuing to reinvent itself and thrive through difficult times.
Founded by Albert-Pierre Raymond and continued by four more generations of entrepreneurs from the Raymond family (Achille, Albert-Victor, Alain, and Antoine), the ARaymond Network has become a global supplier to the automotive industry.
The roots of its exponential growth can be traced to its innovations, such as the 1886 invention by Albert-Pierre of the press-stud, which would soon became a worldwide success. The ARaymond Network remains headquartered in Grenoble, France — where it all began in 1865 — and today employs 7,250 employees in 25 countries throughout the world.
Rochester Hills, Michigan, hosts its North American headquarters. “One-hundred and fifty-five years is a long time to run a family business, and few have been able to adapt the way ARaymond has, in large part due to the quality and dedication of our workers,” said Antoine Raymond, president of ARaymond. “We truly view all of our team members as family, and the results are undeniable.”
North American sales, engineering and manufacturing facilities are currently located in Rochester Hills; Logansport, Indiana; Flemingsburg, Kentucky; Hamilton, Ontario; and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
“I’m excited about the new frontiers we are exploring and to see where the future takes us — including expansion of our work related to new market trends within the automotive industry, but also pharmaceutical, solar energy equipment, and so much more,” added Antoine.
The ARaymond Network is an industrial success story that started in France in 1865, and was initially focused on creating custom button designs for gloves and boots, before developing into the modern fastener supplier it has become today.
Some of the most disruptive times for the company were during both WWI and WWII, when it stepped up and transformed into a wartime supplier. Later, the company was among the first in the industry to digitize and develop electronic tracking methods, modernizing how business was done.
Lloyd Knight, who works as an ARaymond project and data manager in Logansport and has nearly 50 years of experience working at the Logansport plant, credits ARaymond’s longevity with its flexibility and eagerness to adapt.
“ARaymond has always been on the cutting-edge and willing to make the tough decisions. At Logansport, we’ve long been known as the can-do division and a state-of-the-art plant,” Knight said. “There’s a lot of visionary work we’ve been able to do, and have always been able to adapt to the market changes.”
ARaymond first tested the U.S. market in 1987, and the current North American locations became part of its operation in 2009 with the acquisition of Tinnerman. A family business since 1865, the ARaymond Network has been defined by key inventions over the years.
Here are some key dates and innovations from the company’s history:
- 1886: Albert-Pierre invents the press-stud, which becomes a worldwide success for ARaymond
- 1925: Launch of the Vitex zipper
- 1935: First spring steel clip developed for the automotive industry
- 1955: Beginning of plastic molding process
- 1989: Launch of first generation of quick connectors for automotive fuel systems
Alain Raymond, who led the company during a period of major growth from 1965 to 1999 when it became a truly global entity, said he is proud of the legacy and reputation of his family’s company.
“Today, more than 20 years later, ARaymond’s future is as bright as the day I left,” Alain said. “That’s all I could wish for. What has been done is quite remarkable in every respect.”