Chiller manufacturer Thermal Care Inc. has acquired the assets of AWS Inc., which makes cooling equipment and temperature controllers for printing presses.
The purchase fits Thermal Care's plan to grow by diversifying into new markets.
Thermal Care of Niles, Ill., bought the assets of AWS from Bank of America, according to Thermal Care spokeswoman Audrey Guidarelli. Thermal Care is the second company to own the AWS business in two years. In late 2000, AWS was acquired by Grafix North America Inc., which distributed printing-industry equipment made in Germany by Grafix GmbH.
Grafix North America lost its distributorship license for the German equipment and went out of business. The bank foreclosed and seized its assets, including AWS, which ran a leased plant in Elgin, Ill. Guidarelli said Thermal Care bought several AWS assets from the bank, including auxiliary equipment for sheet-fed and web printing and a line of process cooling equipment.
Thermal Care will maintain those printing-specific businesses as a new market, she said.
A third AWS product area - chillers, cooling towers and heat exchangers - will be integrated into existing Thermal Care product lines.
Thermal Care has moved AWS production out of Elgin and into Thermal Care's 850,000-square-foot plant in Niles. Rich Stratz, a 22-year veteran of AWS, will continue to manage sales to the graphic arts industry.
Thermal Care has retained about 30 AWS employees, Guidarelli said.
For years, printing had been the core market for AWS, but in recent years the company had started to move into plastics auxiliary equipment. Now under Thermal Care, the focus of AWS will return to printing products.