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Hedstrom buys trash bin rotomolder Nuwave Container

By: Bill Bregar

May 17, 2012

ASHLAND, OHIO (May 17, 2 p.m. ET) — Rotational molder Hedstrom Plastics, in recent years, has purchased small custom molders, an exercise ball business, and now something really big — rotomolded trash dumpsters.

Hedstrom recently bought Nuwave Container LLC from Richard Maggio, who will stay on as a consultant. Terms were not disclosed.

Now Hedstrom officials are moving two large rotomolding machines, a Ferry 370 and a Ferry 280, from Nuwave’s plant in Santa Ana, Calif., to Ashland, where they will run in a 45,000-square-foot leased building.

“We’re in the midst of dismantling these machines and shipping them to Ashland,” Hedstrom President and CEO Jim Braeunig said.

Nuwave makes bins that hold up to eight cubic yards. The one-piece dumpster, rotomolded from high density polyethylene, weighs about half as much as the classic steel dumpster.

“They’re much lighter weight. They don’t rust. They don’t need to be repaired on a regular basis,” Braeunig said. The plastic bins can be stacked for easy storage and transportation. Also, they can handle heavy organic waste such as food scraps, which can degrade steel as they decompose, he said.

Hedstrom needs the leased space because the company does not have room to mold the dumpsters in its new headquarters plant in a former Wal-Mart in Ashland, Braeunig said.

“We feel we can grow this business,” Braeunig said. “We feel that it can be a substantial piece of our business.”

California-based Nuwave Container did some of its own rotational molding, at Superior Rotomolding, and also used a network of rotomolders in other areas.

Braeunig said Hedstrom will take that same approach, building a regional strategy that can ship to commercial waste haulers around the country. From its Ashland operation, Hedstrom will cover east of the Mississippi River. Hedstrom also will subcontract with Rotational Molding Inc. in Gardena, Calif.

“We’ll probably also be using Meese Orbitron Dunne for their plant in [La Mirada] California,” he said.

Depending on demand and freight shipping costs, Hedstrom may also set up trash container operations in the southeast and east coast regions, Braeunig said.

A key innovation—covered by patents—is molded-in lifting pockets, the tube-shaped area that the lifting forks on a garbage truck slide into to raise the bin.

Braeunig said other rotomolded dumpsters use bolted-on metal lifting tubes. Nuwave literature claims the brand is “the only unibody dumpster in the waste industry.”

Braeunig said some competitors may be violating the Nuwave patents, and Hedstrom is now checking that out.

Hedstrom officials visited Nuwave’s plant to look at rotomolding machines that were for sale. They discovered the company was available, Braeunig said.

“We continue to look for good acquisitions,” he said.

The Nuwave deal follows a series of purchases at Hedstrom Plastics, a division of Ball, Bounce and Sport Inc.:

• Just a few weeks ago, Hedstrom acquired exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the Bosu line of fitness ball products. Hedstrom will manufacture the Bosu line.

•  In 2009, Hedstrom bought Diamond Plastics Inc., a custom rotomolder in Dunkirk, Ohio,

•  Hedstrom acquired another Ohio rotomolder, North Coast Custom Molding Inc., in 2010, and moved it from Carey, Ohio, to the Diamond plant in nearby Dunkirk.

Hedstrom Plastics is owned by a group of veteran managers, who bought the Ashland rotomolding factory in 2004, after swing set company Hedstrom Corp. closed down.