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Advanced Blending deal brings Moretto to US auxiliary market

By: Bill Bregar

June 12, 2013

Moretto SpA, a major Italian auxiliary equipment manufacturer, has named Advanced Blending Solutions LLC of Menominee, Mich., to become the exclusive distributor of Moretto products for the United States and Canada.

The deal means Advanced Blending Solutions, which has focused on a line of auxiliary equipment for extrusion and compounding, now becomes a broad-line supplier.

Moretto equipment is used for injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, PET and optical disc. The company also designs customized turnkey auxiliary systems. Moretto products include feeders, dosing units, mixers, hopper loaders, chillers, dryers, PET crystallizers, granulators and dust separators, storage silos and bag fillers, temperature controllers, machine controllers and plant supervisory systems.

Mike Rasner, CEO of Advanced Blending Solutions, and Moretto CEO Renato Moretto finished the deal on May 7 at Moretto headquarters in Massanzago, Italy. They announced the news on June 12.

ABS plans to offer a complete product line of all Moretto auxiliaries, branded as ABS by Moretto, in addition to the Michigan company's own equipment. ABS will handle sales, service and spare parts for Moretto in the United States and Canada. The agreement does not cover Mexico, where Moretto works with another firm.

Rasner said the deal means Advanced Blending Solutions will expand.

"We have 44 full-time employees right now, and with our expected growth, which is going to be heavily impacted by the Moretto partnership, I would expect we will be adding 15 to 20 jobs over the next three to five years," he said.

Advanced Blending Solutions' headquarters is in Menominee. In 2012, the company purchased its own 16,000-square-foot building in nearby Wallace, Mich. Both towns are in the extreme southwestern tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, north of Green Bay, Wis.

Moretto's sales manager, Paolo Gasparotto, said the Italian company employs 240 people, and operates subsidiaries in Germany, Poland, Brazil and Turkey. Moretto also uses dealers to sell in a total of 54 countries. The family-owned Moretto does not release sales, he said.

But the U.S. market is a challenging one, he said. Moretto exhibited at NPE shows but found that potential customers wanted service technicians in the states, not just in Italy. "The U.S. market is very, very complicated and needs a high specialty in parts and service," Gasparotto said.

The family-owned Moretto does not position itself as a cheapest, instead focusing on strong technology, he said. An example is a new dehumidification system that is very energy efficient.

Moretto searched for a partner with technical and engineering skills to directly serve the U.S. and Canada, before connecting up with ABS.

Moretto has never before tried direct sales to the United States, although the company does have installations there through selling equipment to global players that have U.S. operations, such as those in Europe, the Far East, Africa and South America.

Advanced Blending Solutions now becomes a much broader auxiliary equipment company. "We did a little bit in injection molding, but with the Moretto partnership, we'll definitely be able to handle the injection market very well," Rasner said.

Advanced Blending Solutions was born in 2009, when former employees of the closed-down CRG Logics Inc., started a new company. ABS focused on the same extrusion-related products of CRG, including some major plastics packaging customers.

Rasner said he has enjoyed dealing with Renato Moretto. "It is very inspiring to work with Mr. Moretto and see firsthand his great passion for his extraordinary products and people," Rasner said. "In the last 33 years, he has created a culture of constantly reaching for excellence."