Alexander Machinery Inc., a South Carolina maker of textile winding equipment, has jumped into the plastics auxiliary equipment business by purchasing shredder maker Hempstead Industries Inc.
``This is our first foray into the plastics industry,'' said Steve McConnell, Alexco's international sales manager, who heads up the shredder business.
Mauldin, S.C.-based Alexco paid an undisclosed price to buy Flint, Mich.-based Hempstead from owner and President Victor Taylor.
McConnell said Hempstead had stopped manufacturing shredders. Alexco bought the customer list, and machinery technology and drawings, he said. Alexco will maintain a Midwest sales office in Flint. Shredders will be produced at Alexco's 103,000-square-foot headquarters plant in Mauldin.
Alexco was founded in 1977 by Bill Alexander. Its core business of textile machinery makes machines for winding and unwinding open-web fabrics. The winders allow a textile maker to inspect the fabric right on the loom, for defects, and produce large rolls with no seams, reducing waste.
The company also has diversified into products for pneumatic equipment and mechanical services such as installing machines and piping in factories. Alexco has produced more than 50,000 machines operating in factories in 58 countries.
Now, as the hard-hit U.S. textile industry continues to move to lower-wage countries, Alexco continues to diversify. If the shredder business and other nontextile businesses do well, the company may end up with just a small portion of sales coming from textile mills, McConnell said.
``The textile industry has always been feast or famine,'' he said.
Alexco is stressing its ability to make customized shredders. Company engineers will help plastics companies determine how to integrate shredders into a complete system to process plastics scrap.