Made in Eastern Iowa: Clevertech2 and the pursuit of making superior parts

By  | 

MCGREGOR, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Deep inside the garage of Robert and Darlene Rottinghaus is the end result of decades of engineering, tinkering and some long-range thinking about making a product even better.

Robert and Darlene Rottinghaus make parts in Jesup and work out of their garage in McGregor, to provide superior parts for ag and military than the original equipment offers.

“Certainly always thinking about ways to make them better and that’s the part of the job that I like the best,” said Robert Rottinghaus. “I always enjoy thinking about how to improve things.” This couple operates Clevertech2, a company that came from the original Clevertech, which Robert’s father started in 1987.

“He was a farmer and always knew there was a better way to do things so the original equipment on some parts, there was always a way to make them better,” said Rottinghaus.

Now Robert helps create parts that work in Case IH combines and cornheads, White Planters disconnects, John Deere combines, as well as military work. Hose assembly systems and combine straw chopper knives fill the CleverTech2 website.

He showed us one of the cornheads he produces. “These are so popular that we have Case IH dealers who buy them from us because it works better than anything they can find,” said Rottinghaus.

The garage is packed with shipping supplies, containers, boxes and the tools that lead to the creation. McGregor, however, is not where the manufacturing takes place. That would be Jesup, where Robert and Darlene will do the actual work of making the parts.

It’s that curiosity to find a solution for others, to make a system more efficient, that Robert takes with him, even on the road.

“Sometimes, we carry a Case IH kit in the car and we’ll be on the road and we’ll see someone and say ‘he’s not chopping very good’.”