Thermoformer Amros kicks off retail lines
CLEVELAND—Thin-gauge thermoformer Amros Industries Inc. is entering retail markets with holiday and children's products.
The Cleveland firm debuted a two-part, snap-fit Christmas wreath holder during the holiday season and by Halloween will introduce ornaments such as bats, a pumpkin doubling as a storage container, and a motif featuring a witch, broom and moon, said Ed Girard, sales and marketing vice president.
The firm also is testing in schools a line of children's briefcases fitted with paint wells and molds for plaster modeling. It also has a patent pending for a three-dimensional coloring book.
Girard said Amros will market its new products to craft and specialty shops and mass merchandisers. It decided to enter the retail arena after thermoforming popular wreath holders for Rubbermaid Inc. for a few years.
Amros thermoforms the new products from vinyl sheet, the main material for its contract packaging business. President Gregory Shteyngarts said his firm will continue in contract packaging, now its major business, as the retail side grows.
Shteyngarts predicts his firm will need to process in-house scrap as the new retail business generates more vinyl trimmings, and by year-end may need an extrusion line to convert scrap to vinyl sheet. It will continue to source virgin vinyl sheet for most of its needs.
He said Amros plans to build three robots to boost efficiency and could need more thermoforming machinery as its current seven lines reach capacity. Amros recorded sales of about $1.7 million for the year ended March 31, 1997.
Keeler Plastics exits PET film extrusion
ST. CHARLES, ILL. — Keeler Plastics Inc. will focus on its blow molding and PET film converting operations following the April 1 sale of its PET graphic arts film business to Multi Serve Imaging of Sycamore, Ill.
Keeler of St. Charles sold the inventory and goodwill of its graphic arts film distribution business for undisclosed terms to Multi Serve, a supplier to the printing industry.
John Felinksi, Keeler president and majority owner, said the sale will allow his firm to concentrate on Rez Tech West of San Jose, Calif., and Filmquest of St. Charles. Rez Tech extrusion blow molds PVC containers for confectionery, food and industrial markets, and Filmquest cuts and forms purchased PET film.
Each subsidiary has about $3 million in annual sales, Felinski estimated by telephone.
Investment firm buys 2nd plastics outfit
CADILLAC, MICH.—A holding company that specializes in buying plastics and rubber firms has purchased Michigan Rubber Products Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
MRP, headquartered in Cadillac, manufactures rubber air-induction hoses for engines, static gaskets, sealing systems, noise-dampening components, and water and fuel tubes. Its main processes are rubber compression, transfer and injection molding; rubber extrusion; and plastics injection molding.
The new owner is SKM Applied Technology Partners, a New York-based holding company known as ATP that was formed in July by investment firm Saunders, Karp & Megrue.
``ATP's strategy is to leverage off MRP's reputation with its customers and expand into related rubber and plastics segments opportunistically,'' said Raymond B. Langton, ATP president and chief executive officer.
MRP employs 495 at its Cadillac headquarters and manufacturing operations. Officials declined to disclose its annual sales.
The firm is the second acquisition for ATP; in January, it purchased Sussex Technology Inc., a plastics injection molding firm.
ATP said it has about $500 million available to support its investment strategy and will use the Cadillac company as a platform for other rubber and plastics acquisitions.
ZCL Composites snags tank maker LeGay
EDMONTON, ALBERTA — ZCL Composites Inc. acquired LeGay Fiberglass (1993) Ltd. of Waverley, Nova Scotia, boosting its ability to supply fiberglass-reinforced thermoset underground fuel storage tanks across Canada.
The Edmonton firm did not reveal terms of the deal, announced March 11. David Roy and Firman Legay, former owners of the 25-person Waverley operation, will continue to manage it. LeGay makes single- and double-wall underground tanks under the Protector name for Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
Cooper hits carmakers with lighting system
SPARTA, TENN. — Motorists who hate fumbling around in a darkened vehicle for hand grips, storage bins and cup holders may get some relief soon from Cooper Automotive's lighting engineers.
The supplier has introduced what it calls a distributive lighting system — a network of plastic light pipes for interiors.
Think of a spider web with a light bulb in the middle, said Keith Bucher, product engineering manager at Cooper's Wagner Lighting Division in Sparta.
Cooper now is quoting business for the 2001 model year to use the technology in cup holders and storage bins. It expects the first applications to be in large cars and minivans, where there is more interior space to illuminate.
Because distributive lighting uses a single source, or very few sources, it eliminates the cost of placing bulbs and sockets everywhere illumination is desired. To transport the light from the source, the system could use fiber-optic lines or molded plastic pipes.
Using transparent molded plastic could be less costly than using fiber optics, which probably would require coupling devices, Bucher said. A molded plastic web could be made in one step.
The various interior components are illuminated at low levels. The idea is to highlight the components to make them visible without creating glare.