Precise Technology Inc. expanded its packaging capabilities by acquiring Phaff BV, a Zevenhuizen, Netherlands, injection molder. The firm, in North Versailles, Pa., near Pittsburgh, also began production at a facility in Bridgeport, N.J.
Phaff specializes in thin-wall food packaging and has particular expertise in in-mold labeling and high-speed, off-line decorating. These strengths make Phaff "an excellent strategic fit for us," said Precise Executive Vice President Mike Farrell.
Farrell said Phaff will share its in-mold and decorating technology with Precise's U.S. operations and be its European base for global product launches by Precise's international customers.
Phaff runs 42 high-speed Netstal injection presses with clamping forces from 40-300 tons, eight Bekum extrusion blow molding machines and several high-speed multicolor printing systems. Its sales last year were about $16 million, Farrell said in a telephone interview. For some packaging jobs, Phaff can mold and decorate a container in about a five-second cycle, according to Farrell.
Precise had been seeking a European acquisition for three years. Farrell said Phaff is one of the companies Precise first approached, but the owner wasn't ready to sell until Phaff and Precise got to know each other.
Rob Phaff, former majority owner, will continue with the operation as a technical consultant. Precise would not disclose the cost of the acquisition.
Farrell said his firm plans to expand Phaff immediately by adding four more presses to handle a new packaging program. It will consider further expansion in Europe, probably by setting up satellite facilities.
In Bridgeport, N.J., Precise invested $10 million in an existing facility to form a new subsidiary, Precise IML, an injection molding operation dedicated to in-mold labeling for an unnamed principal customer.
The 63,500-square-foot facility is the firm's fourth production facility dedicated to a specific customer, part of a program the company calls customer-aligned production. Farrell would not disclose the plant's main customer.
Bridgeport contains 10 Krauss-Maffei presses, and soon will have 11, with clamping forces up to 575 tons. The plant includes automated materials-handling equipment, high-speed robotics and on-line process control.
Precise earlier this year took over a molding facility in Playtex Products Inc.'s Streetsboro, Ohio, plant. Precise is doing all the molding at the Playtex plant for the Diaper Genie. The in-plant molding operation includes 16 Van Dorn Demag presses from 50-650 tons.
"Five or 10 years ago, an [original equipment manufacturer] would have handled a large molding program internally rather than turn to a contract molder," noted Precise President and Chief Executive Officer John Weeks in a news release. "Today, leading OEMs recognize that a [customer-aligned production] facility enables them to increase their efficiencies by effectively outsourcing the work."
Precise has 11 injection molding operations and three mold-making facilities in the United States. It had estimated custom injection molding sales of $111.7 million last year.