San Francisco-based holding company KCA Engineered Plastics Inc. has bought its second West Coast injection molding company in 12 months. KCA recently completed its acquisition of US Thermoplastics in Temecula, Calif. Last year, KCA acquired Trico Plastics, a custom injection molder in Azusa, Calif. Together, the two molding firms employ about 160.
UST serves the electronics industry with both standard proprietary plastic hardware and custom molding of small, complex parts using high-cavitation tooling.
The UST acquisition gives KCA a total of 50 presses with 28-1,000 tons of clamping force. Both Trico and UST have fully equipped toolrooms with computer numerically controlled machining, electric discharge machining, wire EDM, and full-service mold-making and repair capabilities.
Bruce Claude, UST's former owner, continues to work with the KCA companies on new tooling and engineering projects as a design consultant.
KCA President Sedge Dienst said he expects to ``broaden the product line of UST beyond its current range of electronics hardware,'' as well as capitalize on UST's ``success as a cost-effective source for standard spacers, card guides'' and similar products.
Dienst is former president of Western Sky Industries Inc., a northern California molder of aerospace and automotive parts. He sold his share in that firm to form KCA and began looking for various businesses to acquire.
Dienst said that he and part-ner P.J. Nora, a financier who assembled a strong investor group to back KCA's efforts, found some opportunities in injection molding and felt that plastics would be a good way to go.
``What will set us apart is that we will have a network of companies with differing capabilities, offering a variety of solutions and services to our customer base,'' he said.
``Our customers really respond to this idea. Each company has a variety of strengths and capabilities they can offer, and customers have needs in all areas of manufacturing that span both companies,'' Dienst said.
KCA's firms provide a variety of value-added operations, including assembly of intricate circuit-board components.
Trico offers molding of larger parts, with presses up to 1,000 tons. Last year the company purchased a new 720-ton Toshiba to accommodate more large-part molding.
KCA plans to acquire more molders, Dienst said.