TecStar Manufacturing Co. of Germantown, Wis., has broadened its scope by investing in a Texas operation.
Newly formed joint venture Mikron TecStar LP will injection mold components for the electronics and medical markets at a custom-designed, 98,000-square-foot facility in San Antonio. The venture between TecStar and a unit of Mikron Holding AG of Biel, Switzerland, was announced Aug. 6. Terms were not disclosed.
TecStar has taken a 50 percent stake in the San Antonio operation, aiming to become a vertically integrated supplier with global capabilities.
The venture is the latest among dramatic changes affecting the global mobile-telephone market.
Months ago, original equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson, a major Mikron customer, trimmed back its orders and then outsourced handset production to a contract manufacturer. Mikron entered a restructuring mode, ahead of its principal competitors.
One result is a joint venture, BaldaMikron AG, which links Balda AG of Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, and Mikron. The venture was disclosed in April and became official July 18. Balda makes plastic components for mobile phones, medical devices and satellites.
Biel-based BaldaMikron is operating Mikron's production facilities in Shanghai, China, and Ipoh, Malaysia, and pursuing mobile-phone-market developments such as Bluetooth through the venture's Norwegian wireless technology group. Bluetooth technology links telephones and other devices within 30 feet of each other without wires.
BaldaMikron also became involved with Mikron's newly leased San Antonio center for the North American and Mexican markets, which was completed last year. So far, the all-electric injection molding machines have seen little use.
``We are now perfectly situated to provide complete support from development through production to any region of the world,'' Craig Hall, TecStar president, said in a news release.
The TecStar-Mikron relationship started during a casual conversation between two peers at a trade show last fall, well before tremors in the mobile-phone market. The concept was rekindled in the wake of Mikron's restructuring.
TecStar has about 700 regular and temporary employees. It operates 86 presses with clamping forces of 28-720 tons. The firm has several structures occupying about 170,000 square feet in Germantown and 30,000 square feet in Libertyville, Ill.
TecStar makes extensive use of proprietary flexible multishot processing technologies along with in-mold decorating, painting and shielding.
Privately held MGS Manufacturing Group of Germantown handles administration functions for TecStar and two sister companies in Germantown, including design and mold house Moldmakers Inc. and Statistical Plastics Corp., which does sampling and qualifying.
MGS was started in 1982 and TecStar in 1998.