Over the next two weeks, we'll be counting down some of the most innovative industrial companies covered in-depth by and its sister publications throughout 2013.

Coming in at #11 is Lantech, based out of Louisville, Kentucky. We selected them because of their impressive growth and domination of a niche market: with over 65,000 machines sold around the world, the company is the world's largest manufacturer of stretch wrapping equipment.

Pat and Bill Lancaster believed that pallet loads of product could be better protected — that billions of dollars of unsalable product due to shipping damage could be reclaimed and energy spent recycling, repurposing, or disposing of this damaged product could be regained. Pallet loads could be better stabilized and product should be — and could be — better protected in transit. Thousands of man hours, spent loading products onto a truck one box at a time, could be regained.

The elasticity of plastic was the answer. Layers of stretched plastic film could encase pallet loads, stabilizing and containing the products and ensuring a safe journey to its final destination.

Testing proved their concept of ‘stretch wrapping’ worked. The passion to perfect their product grew, it was introduced to the packaging industry in 1973, and a dinner table discussion turned into the world’s first stretch wrapping machine. 

“It’s a classic American rags to riches story,” says Jim Lancaster, CEO of Lantech. “[My father] came up with this idea of unitizing a load by rotating it in film. He built a machine to do that and sold it. And that gave him enough money to make the next one, and off to the races he went.”

Today, Lantech is the world’s largest manufacturer of stretch wrapping equipment.

Read the rest of the article here.

See the rest of's Most Innovative Industrial Companies For 2013.