Motionmaster Inc., maker of a popular brand of routers for thermoformers, has bought a stake in a thermoforming equipment manufacturer, 3-year-old Vector Machinery Inc. of Asheboro, N.C.
Scott Bollar, Motionmaster's president and owner, announced July 5 that he has ``purchased a significant equity interest'' in Vector, which was founded by Richard Brashier. Vector makes machines for thermoforming heavy-gauge sheet, including high-speed rotary machines, single-station shuttles and double-end shuttles.
The companies declined to say what percentage of Vector that Motionmaster acquired.
Under the agreement, Bollar will direct sales and marketing for Vector. Brashier will remain as president and will direct product development, engineering and operations.
In a statement announcing the deal, Bollar said: ``Vector will be able to draw on Motionmaster's technical resources and manufacturing experience to streamline production. Most significantly, Motionmaster will provide the financial backing and stability needed for the rapid growth we anticipate.''
Some new products will result. Vector plans to introduce a value-priced line of single-station formers at the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference & Exposition, coming Sept. 14-17 in Milwaukee. In a telephone interview, Brashier said Vector initially focused on high-end machines but now wants to offer a broader line, with help from the relationship with Bollar.
Brashier worked for seven years as plant manager at thermoformer Engineered Plastics Inc.'s factory in Gibsonville, N.C. He was there when the company bought a Motionmaster five-axis computer numerically controlled router as part of a plan to modernize production.
He became vice president of operations at Lamco Machine Tool Inc., a small manufacturer of thermoforming machines in Morehead City, N.C.
After only a short time at Lamco, he founded Vector Machinery in 1998.
Vector also is small - 11 employees working in a new, 20,000-square-foot plant that opened in February 2000. But the company already is expanding. A new 10,000-square-foot addition should be completed this fall, Brashier said. He plans to hire six more people by the end of the year.
``We're very busy right now,'' he said.
Vista, Calif.-based Motionmaster was founded in 1982. It supplies routers for machining plastics, composites, wood, and non-ferrous metals. In the plastics industry, CNC routers have become widely used in thermoforming and rotational molding.
``Ninety percent of our customers use CNC routers,'' Brashier said. ``It's very big in thermoforming.''