Melco Engraving Inc. has set up a joint venture company in Solingen, Germany, to offer its Ni-On electroless nickel coating for plastics molds. The venture, with Solingen-based Fotorelief J. & F. Kruth GmbH, was sealed June 1.
Rochester Hills, Mich.-based Melco is providing the technology for the 50-50 arrangement, while Kruth will handle production in Solingen, said Dennis Evans, Melco vice president and general manager.
"We saw the automotive industry was going global, and we needed to supply textures developed in the U.S. to the European industry," Evans said by telephone.
Melco is a privately owned company specializing in texturing, engraving, mold repair and electroless co-deposit mold coating. Customers include Ford, DaimerChrysler, General Motors and Toyota, Evans said.
Melco's coating provides a duller finish instead of the bright finish of other variations of the coating. The coating, which is 25 percent Teflon fluoropolymer, also protects the mold from wear and corrosion. In addition to automotive applications, the company also serves the houseware and cellular telephones industries.
Evans said Melco joined up with Kruth, which also specializes in mold texturing and engraving, after Melco's owner, Mel O'Dowd, toured Europe looking for a partner company.
Evans would not disclose either firm's financial investment.
This venture is different from Melco's other international partnerships in Japan, Brazil and India because those plants are not working on Ni-On, Evans said.
Melco's plans include developing new coatings to lengthen the life of molds. The company also will unveil new products at NPE 2000 in Chicago, at Booth N6779.
"As new coatings develop, we will make those available in Europe," Evans said. "We will also develop new texturing applications in the United States."