Nypro Inc. is acquiring 50 percent of Technology Products Inc., a Longmont, Colo., custom injection molder of close-tolerance parts, mainly for the medical market. Nypro Colorado Inc. will begin operating July 1 from TPI's 20,000-square-foot plant in Longmont, said Nypro's corporate vice president, Randall Barko. The plant has 80 employees and 16 presses, with clamping forces of 30-250 tons. John Beach, sole owner and president of TPI, will head the joint venture as general manager.
TPI recorded 1994 sales of $5.4 million. Barko said he expects that figure to reach $20 million in three to five years.
The partnership gives TPI greater engineering and tooling resources. In exchange, Nypro gains a foothold in a region it has eyed for some time.
``We've been chatting back and forth for the last couple years and were finally able to put it together,'' Beach said in a March 28 telephone interview.
The deal jelled during the pastthree months, Barko said. Neither he nor Beach would disclose terms.
Since opening shop in 1975, TPI has been molding precision parts for original equipment manufacturers.
Currently its market mix is roughly 80 percent medical, 20 percent telecommunications, Beach said. That medical business will augment Nypro's already-hefty share of the market; half of Nypro's $197.6 millionin annual sales come from molding medical device components and assemblies, according to Barko.
The remainder of Nypro's sales are roughly half electronics and telecommunications - for customers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Verbatim Corp. - and half consumer products, Barko said.
TPI's expertise in insert molding will give Nypro, which has ``very little'' capability in thatarea, another service to offer its customers. At Longmont four Newbury presses do insert molding, primarily medical components. One of the company's biggest jobs, Beach said, is a
conductive cuvette used in lab work. Other insert work involves molding insulators onto electrosurgery blades, he said.
The firm is registered with the Food and Drug Administration under the Medical Device Act, which requires traceability and adherence to good manufacturing practices, Beach said. Three of TPI's 16 presses run in a Class 100,000 clean room.
TPI molds mainly for customers in the Denver metropolitan area, he said. Those include medical OEMs Aspen Laboratories Inc., Baxter International Inc. and Medtronic Inc.; as well as telecommunications firm Digital Equipment Corp., for which TPI molds small parts for computer disk storage.
With few customers in common, the firms' merger creates ``more of a complementary customer base than ... overlap,'' Barko said.
``We've never really been competing for the same piece of business per se,'' he said.
In fact, the Colorado plant will move Nypro closer to its customers with established operations in the area. Currently Marquest Medical Products Inc. of Englewood, Colo., is Nypro's biggest customer there.
In time the firm will transfer Marquest's molds to Longmont, Barko said.
Nypro tried to secure a plant in Colorado once before. A hoped-for venture with Marquest failed in 1993 while it struggled to recover from financial woes stemming from an FDA lawsuit filed in August 1991.
Although Nypro and Beach have planned ``nothing concrete'' as far as expansion, Beach said the company will grow with its customer base.
``Part of Nypro's philosophy is to put plants close to their customers, so we'll probably continue to push regional growth,'' he said, adding that he expects the new company to grow ``pretty rapidly'' during the next two years.
Barko said Nypro Colorado will upgrade its operations gradually, which includes building its toolmaking capability. TPI now makes 30 percent of its molds for use in-house, and subcontracts the rest.
As with all Nypro plants, the venture's engineering and new-product development will come out of Nypro's Clinton, Mass., headquarters, a centralized approach that gets the product to market more quickly and keeps costs low, Barko said.
Nypro employs about 1,889 at 10 U.S. molding plants, including one in Puerto Rico; worldwide it operates 18 facilities. The firm placed ninth in Plastics News' 1994 ranking of North American injection molders, with sales of $174.9 million for its fiscal year ended June 30, 1993.
Corporate sales have doubled in the past five years, according to a recent company news release. Barko said he expects sales to reach $500 million by 2000.
Nypro President and Chief Executive Officer Gordon B. Lankton holds majority interest in the employee-owned firm.