A plant consolidation by DT Industries Inc. means its thermoforming equipment unit, Sencorp Systems Inc., will begin manufacturing the Stokes brand of pill-making equipment this year.
The move could lead to more jobs at Sencorp's factory in Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod, said Sencorp President Brian Urban.
DT, an industrial conglomerate based in Dayton, Ohio, announced March 22 that it has completed its plant integration. By consolidating manufacturing, the company has cut its number of factories from 22 to 12. DT also went from 17 divisions to six.
Sencorp becomes the headquarters of the DT Converting Technologies division. Sencorp's 155,000-square-foot factory will house manufacturing operations of Sencorp, Armac and Stokes, plus Rigo thermoformers through a partnership with Rigo Group srl of Milan, Italy.
DT is transferring Stokes manufacturing from Bristol, Pa., in a move that should be completed by the end of this year. Stokes will maintain a sales and service office in Bristol.
DT is reorganizing as it rebounds from a 2000 accounting scandal that caused Nasdaq to halt trading temporarily in DT stock. Several executives were fired after an investigation found that Sencorp and a Canadian division, Kalish, overstated some asset accounts.
Company officials say the firm has moved past those troubles and is poised to benefit from the U.S. economic turnaround.
``This is a restructuring. Coming out of that makes us even stronger,'' Urban said in a telephone interview.
Urban said the Hyannis operation will use the name DT Converting Technologies instead of Sencorp, but will retain Sencorp as a brand name.
The U.S. slowdown has depressed sales of all plastics machinery, but Urban said things seem to be improving.
``Since November, we've seen the market firm up. Orders have been slightly increasing and steady. It's been a more positive environment than the past year and a half,'' he said.
Moving Stokes to Hyannis marks the second time the Hyannis factory has gained work when other plants closed. In 1999, DT shut the former Armac Industries thermoforming machinery factory in Fall River, Mass., and moved it in with Sencorp. The Sencorp business used to be part of DT Packaging Systems.
Urban said DT Converting Technologies will offer jobs to some Stokes employees. The move also could lead to more hiring in Hyannis, although he did not have a specific target.
The plant laid off some workers in 2000, when Sencorp placed its extruded foam and downstream equipment business up for sale.
Stokes pill-making equipment can be integrated with Sencorp's thermoforming and sealing equipment.
Urban also is excited about new thermoforming equipment the company plans to release this year, and a new push into cut-sheet machines. In November at Pack Expo in Chicago, DT will introduce the Gen II roll-fed thermoformer.
``It's the most sophisticated piece of equipment that we've built,'' Urban said.
One big innovation: using a robot to unload trimmed parts directly out of the trim press.
The high-speed Gen II was designed to meet U.S. and European requirements. Urban said Europe now accounts for about one-third of the company's thermoforming machinery business.
Sencorp is known for its packaging-related equipment, but Urban said the Hyannis factory just completed its first sheet line.