DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — Hobson Mould Works Inc. plans to license its mold-making technology to three other tooling shops in an effort to start a worldwide network of mold makers.
Hobson has reached agreements with Allmand Industries Inc. in Livonia, Mich., Maquinados Industriales in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and Snider Mold Co. in Mequon, Wis., said Hobson President Gerald Hobson.
``We will teach them to build blow molds the way we do and serve markets we can't serve,'' Hobson said. ``These are mighty fine shops, but they haven't done much blow molding.''
Allmand and Maquinados make injection mold tooling, and Snider does compression and structural foam mold making.
Hobson said he hopes to strike similar deals with firms in South America, and he has a strong prospect in Europe. Hobson is based in Shell Rock, Iowa.
``In order to sell tooling, you have to be global,'' he said.
Hobson said he hopes the firms will be doing projects together in the first quarter of 1999. One focus of the alliance will be the automotive industry.
Terms were not disclosed, but Hobson said the three partners bought a license for Hobson Mould's technology, which includes mirror finish, deep-draw and area-selective multilayer blow molding. Hobson also runs an annual, invitation-only seminar on blow mold tooling that drew more than 130 attendees this year.
The Iowa firm will get a royalty fee from each blow mold that the others sell, he said.
Hobson said the firms may invest in each other in the future. The companies will operate separately, but could share resources on large projects, he said.
``I think this is our first step in a long race,'' he said. ``I don't see all four of us being in one company, but I can see all four of us working together to be bigger and better companies.''
Allmand brings proximity to the automotive industry, which Hobson needs to win contracts. Maquinados brings a Mexican presence, while Snider brings the agricultural, recreational and structural foam markets.
Hobson Mould has about $10 million in annual sales and hopes to push that to $20 million next year. That figure does not include potential sales from the partnership, he said.
Hobson Mould announced $4.6 million in capital spending in August, including investment in a 40,000-square-foot addition to its 80,000-square-foot factory.
Hobson was interviewed at the K'98 show in Dusseldorf.