Tuscarora Inc., a major manufacturer of custom molded foam products, has launched its third thermoforming operation, in Conyers, Ga. In December, the New Brighton, Pa.-based firm bought three vacuum formers and two computer numerically controlled routers from Vantage Industries Inc. of Ocala, Fla., according to Vantage's former owner, Thad Boyd.
Neither Boyd nor Tuscarora's marketing manager Rachel Coltin would disclose terms of the Dec. 12 deal.
Tuscarora moved at least some of the equipment from Ocala to its Conyers plant, where it is thermoforming components for former Vantage customer Mark III Industries Inc., a van conversion firm in Ocala.
At the Conyers plant, Tuscarora manufactures mainly expanded foam interior packaging, along with other, integrated materials, such as corrugated paperboard, for consumer electronic and high-tech products, and white goods.
Publicly held Tuscarora's only other business is foam automotive components, such as bumper cores, air-bag deployment doors, and acoustical engine covers.
Boyd said he decided to sell Vantage because the business volume did not justify its costs.
``It wasn't a profitable venture anymore,'' he said.
About five years ago Boyd opened the shop to supply Mark III with windows for its vans, branching into thermoformed parts, such as window shrouds and compartment trays, around 1993, he said. In 1994, Vantage had $6 million in sales, $1.45 million of that in thermoformed components, mainly for Mark III, which also is owned by the Boyd family, he said. Mark III buys cargo van chassis from Big Three carmakers, turns them into luxury vehicles by adding running boards, wheels, carpeting, leather seating, videos, stereos and televisions, then sells them to car dealers. Last year it did sales of about $675 million, Boyd said.
When Vantage closed, roughly 15 people worked in its thermoforming operations, Boyd said.
By adding vacuum forming at Conyers, Tuscarora can offer its customers materials-handling totes, trays and pallets, and such products as x-ray encapsulations, instrument housings and garage door panels, which it also makes at plants in Burlington, Wis., and Beaver, Pa. The company had thermoforming sales of $4 million this year.
Also at Burlington, a single blow molding machine is dedicated to making garage door panels, Coltin said.
Tuscarora reported 1995 sales of $163.3 million.