The roots of KIC took hold way back in 1935. At that time, Lewiston-Auburn, Maine was an important center for shoe manufacturing in the US. Making shoes and boots required specialized leather stamping and forming expertise to craft the parts (called Counters) that comfortably hugged your heels to keep your shoes from slipping off your feet. Twin City Counter Company was formed to make those parts and they did so for many decades. Major customers have included the US Army, L.L. Bean, and Red Wing. Those stamped and formed leather parts are still made today in Maine by a division of KIC.
Around the 1950’s the US shoe industry was under pressure, as the shift towards lower cost and plastic heel parts and overseas production took hold. The leaders of the company then were looking beyond shoes for an application where they could use their expertise and equipment for stamping and forming. They found new opportunities related to cosmetics applicators, lamp shades, and various felt pads.
By the mid 1990’s new technology was introduced to help retailers process increasingly popular credit card transactions, and a need for cleaning cards emerged to clear the swipe channels and magnetic heads of the readers. The lure of these new markets was strong growth potential, so two related companies were acquired – KIC (Keep it Clean) Products in New Hampshire, and CleanTeam in California. All these operations were combined to create the new corporation, KICTeam Inc, in 1997.
Since then, KIC has developed a myriad of patented technology cleaning tools and chemical agents, resulting in over 200 ways to keep equipment clean and performing at its best. Specialized agents include MiracleMagic™ and CoinMagic™ for cash handling equipment, SheerDevice™ for greasy environments, ClearDisplay™ for a variety of surfaces, and CrystalVu™ for monitors and touchscreens.
In 2004 KIC engineers created and then patented a new type of cleaning card incorporating a stamped and formed pattern they called Waffletechnology™. These cards worked much better than the competition, and soon the major reader manufacturers, Ingenico and Verifone, took notice, partnering with KIC to create unique cards for their new models.
In 2019 KIC patented AutoClean™ technology. AutoClean technology uses the drive motors of the device to do the cleaning for you. The custom-designed cards lock in place inside a device, letting the belts and rollers scrub themselves clean against the card as the motor is run. By automating the cleaning process, KICTeam turns cleaning that was too difficult, too time-consuming, or simply not possible into something that can be done effectively, easily and consistently – in a fraction of the time.
In 2020 KIC expanded further by acquiring Teknipure Inc in Arizona, specialists in cleaning products for high technology cleanroom applications. Teknipure focuses on medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, microelectronics, optical, and flat panel manufacturers, aerospace and defense contractors, and auto makers. Teknipure brings deep technical expertise in wipe materials science and cleaning tools.
Over the years, over 50 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) have recognized KIC’s expertise and partnered to develop technical device cleaning solutions. OEM partners today include Canon, Diebold-Nixdorf, Digital Check, Epson, Glory, Hyosung, NCR, Panini, Tidel, and Zebra.
KIC then was built from the ground (under your heels) up, to the heights of the modern high-technology business. A classic American success story of adapting to challenging times and growing through innovation.