Thermoform Engineered Quality LLC in Huntley, Ill., has invested more than $6 million for new equipment, another clean room and an eco-roof.
President Randall Loga said the upgrades in machinery and infrastructure will enable the custom thermoformer to better serve medical device and packaging customers, and also keep pace with changes in the industry’s quality and safety requirements.
TEQ has ordered four custom-designed all-electric servo motor-driven Speedformer-brand pressure formers — a KMD85 and three KMD78s — from Kiefel Technologies Inc. of Hampton, N.H., a business unit of Brückner Technology Holding GmbH.
TEQ expects to begin operating the automated machines with advanced process and material control features by late July. TEQ is selling three older Kiefel formers and a Sencorp.
Huntair Inc. of Tualatin, Ore., has installed two Class 8 Servicor-brand modular clean rooms in Huntley. TEQ’s recently opened second clean room occupies 2,000 square feet and has two pressure forming lines. Operations began in 2010 in a 3,000-square-foot clean room that houses four lines. Huntair is a subsidiary of the CES Group LLC unit of Nortek Inc.
In an energy-saving move completed in August, TEQ installed a highly reflective white Uniflex-brand elastomeric roof coating from the consumer group of Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. through its Lake in the Hills, Ill., store. “We believe we are seeing 15 percent savings in cooling costs,” said Todd McDonald, TEQ director of sales and marketing.
For a program generating major growth, TEQ supplies an unidentified U.S. company with disposable probe covers of specially formulated polypropylene for the ThermoScan-brand infrared ear thermometer.
Over two years, TEQ has thermoformed more than 2 billion of the covers with zero defects in the field, McDonald said.
A five-year contract was signed in August 2009 with TEQ projecting program sales of $40 million. The effort involved relocating production capability to Huntley from Carlow, Ireland, and has contributed to TEQ’s major sales growth.
TEQ flexibly collaborates with customers.
One venture utilizes TEQ’s pressure forming expertise, consulting talent at Spartan Design Group LLC of Tonka Bay, Minn., the lid production capability of Technipaq Inc. of Crystal Lake, Ill., and heat-seals machinery from Belco Packaging Systems Inc. of Monrovia, Calif.
“We work to provide total solutions for sterile barrier systems,” McDonald said. “We have been working together for about a year, and we have quoted” numerous jobs.
In addition, TEQ wants to help medical processors with low-volume requirements. “We will try to come out with a stock-size medical-trade program that we can customize with inserts,” McDonald said. “That would allow us to operate with lower tooling costs, smaller minimum quantities and increased lead times.”
McDonald plans to expand on the stock concept in the TEQ booth during the June 18-19 UBM Canon trade show in Philadelphia.
TEQ competitors include Prent Corp. of Janesville, Wis.; the Perfecseal division of Neenah, Wis.-based Bemis Co. Inc.; the Nelipak business of Elmwood Park, N.J.-based Sealed Air Corp.; and Computer Designs Inc. of Whitehall, Pa.
TEQ employs about 100, operates 11 pressure forming lines, owns and occupies 85,000 square feet in two Huntley buildings and reported sales of $36.7 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. That result was up from $30.1 million for the September 2011 FY and $17.5 million for the September 2010 FY.
“We have had a lot of growth,” McDonald said. “This year will be flat (in sales). We are using the time to recover and invest in the business.”
TEQ adopted its current limited-liability-company identity in June 2011 and previously operated as Tek Packaging LLC.
TEQ is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Esco Technology Inc. and part of Esco’s filtration and fluid flow business segment. In 1997, Esco acquired the assets and stock of TEQ predecessor Filtertek Inc. and related entities including Tek Packaging from Schawk Inc. for about $92 million.