After 72 years of ownership by the Hendrickson family, extruder maker Welding Engineers Inc. has changed hands and is moving to Ohio.
National Feedscrew & Machinery Inc. announced April 17 it purchased the assets of Welding Engineers of Blue Bell, Pa. Welding Engineers' production will move to National Feedscrew's headquarters in Massillon, Ohio.
National Feedscrew makes screws, extruders and tire presses — mostly for the rubber industry. Buying Welding Engineers ``will enable us to strengthen our engineering and control groups, as well as enhance our plastics process technology capabilities,'' Paul Roberson, vice president of business development at National Feedscrew, said in a press release.
Roberson expects most of the engineering staff to relocate from Blue Bell to Massillon, where National Feedscrew employs 170.
Welding Engineers makes twin-screw, counter-rotating extruders for devolatizing, compounding, reactive extrusion and plastics recycling. It employed about 45.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, it includes Welding Engineers' 3-year-old agreement with Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd. to sell, design and build Toshiba's co-rotating, twin-screw compounding extruders.
National Feedscrew bought Welding Engineers from W Bar E Inc., its Blue Bell-based parent owned by the Hendricksons. Not included in the deal are three other firms, which will continue to be owned by the family: Welex Inc. of Blue Bell, which makes sheet extrusion systems and extruders; Wexco Corp. of Lynchburg, Va., a barrel maker; and Welding Engineers Ltd. of Geneva, Switzerland, which makes rubber finishing equipment.
The late John B. Hendrickson founded Welding Engineers in 1926 in King of Prussia, Pa. The company welded and fabricated large metal products such as pressure vessels, then got into rubber and plastics machinery. Peak employment was about 500. About 10 years ago, the company shut down the metal fabrication operation and moved to Blue Bell to focus on extruders.
John B. Hendrickson's son, John G. Hendrickson, founded Welex in 1967.
The company reorganized, creating W Bar E as the four unit's holding company. David Borthwick, president of W Bar E, said management decided Welding Engineers was no longer a good fit with the three other businesses.
National Feedscrew was founded in 1985 when Alfred Roberson and his three sons purchased the feed screw division of Akron-based NRM Corp. and moved it to a vacant steel mill in Massillon.
National Feedscrew is a division of Roberson Heavy Industries.