Donaldson Co. Inc., a Minneapolis maker of filtration systems and replacement parts, will team up with Centro Inc., its supplier of rotational molded parts, in a new joint venture that will rotomold parts at a new plant in the Midwest next year.
Donaldson, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and Centro, headquartered in North Liberty, Iowa, have enjoyed a long-term business relationship, and this new venture ``is an evolution of that relationship,'' according to Dennis Grigal, Donaldson's market business unit director.
Plans call for the joint venture, which has not yet been named, to build a manufacturing facility in the Midwest that should be operational in 1997. Several sites are being considered to serve Donaldson's plants in the region, Centro President Gary R. Rozek said in a telephone interview.
Centro, which employs about 500, also has plants in Horicon, Wis., and Springdale, Ark. It reported sales of $42.6 million for its fiscal year ended June 29, making it the fourth-largest custom rotomolder in North America, according to Plastics News' annual rotomolding survey. Centro serves original equipment manufacturers in the agriculture, lawn and garden, transportation and recreational vehicle industries.
Donaldson operates 10 U.S. plants, including facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. The firm also operates 11 other plants around the world, plus four joint ventures.
Grigal said the joint venture with Centro represents the first that Donaldson has with a parts supplier. The company has joint venture partnerships with some of its customers and a finished goods supplier in Indonesia.
Donaldson's product mix includes liquid filters and exhaust and emission-control products for heavy-duty mobile equipment; in-plant air-cleaning systems; air-intake systems and exhaust products for industrial gas turbines; and specialized filters for such diverse applications as computer disk drives, aircraft and personal respirators.
Rozek said Centro's joint venture with Donaldson represents a trend as molders and their customers design creative ways to do business.