Tuscarora Inc. expanded into thin-gauge thermoforming with the Sept. 10 acquisition of FormPac Corp. of Sandusky, Ohio. The New Brighton, Pa., firm predicts the addition of FormPac, a $6 million-per-year business, will boost its thermoforming sales to more than $10 million a year from its plants in Burlington, Wis., Conyers, Ga., and Sandusky.
John O'Leary Jr., Tuscarora's president and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview that his firm has focused on sheet-fed thermoforming of mid- to heavy-gauge products such as materials-handling pallets and trays made of high density polyethylene and styrenics. It did internal, thin-gauge development and became convinced it should enter the market.
FormPac will launch Tuscarora into stand-alone thin-gauge packaging markets and will complement sales of its other packaging products such as foams and multimaterial constructions, O'Leary said. FormPac makes trays, clamshells and blisters using vinyl, styrenics and PET on roll-fed, in-line equipment.
O'Leary said the purchase will give Tuscarora ``the critical mass'' to expand its thermoforming aggressively. Earlier this year it bought thermoformers and routers from Vantage Industries Inc. of Ocala, Fla., and moved them to Conyers.
William Duff, former owner of FormPac, will become general manager of Tuscarora's thermoforming business. Duff said he sold his business because he wanted his firm to be part of a bigger organization. As his competitors merged, Duff did not want FormPac ``to be the small fish'' in the market. Internal growth was slower than he wanted and an acquisition search did not bear fruit. He said Tuscarora treats its employees well and has national distribution.
Duff said in an interview that he expects to add heavy-gauge capacity at Sandusky, where all employees will be retained. Earlier this year Sandusky added a 14th thermoforming machine and expanded space to 75,000 square feet.
The firm's key markets include medical, electronic, toy, and cosmetic industries. FormPac was established in 1957.
Tuscarora now has 32 manufacturing plants in North America and the United Kingdom. O'Leary estimated its sales for the year ended Aug. 31 at about $180 million, mainly to consumer electronic, high-technology, appliance and automotive industries. It trades on Nasdaq.