Profile Plastics Corp. acquired Arrem Plastics Inc. on Dec. 6, linking two longtime Chicago-area, heavy-gauge thermoforming operations. Terms were not disclosed.
Within a year, Profile intends to close Arrem's 95,000-square-foot site in Addison, Ill., and absorb the operations at Profile's 100,000-square-foot facility in Lake Bluff, Ill. Both locations are leased.
``We are combining strengths in manufacturing, engineering and customer base,'' Profile President Stephen R. Murrill said in a telephone interview.
Both companies specialize in pressure formed parts that are highly cosmetic and close-tolerance, trimmed with computer numerically controlled equipment. Medical-test equipment is an important market for both firms.
``Both are pioneers in molded-in color,'' Murrill said.
Profile hired enough Arrem employees - less than 25 - to continue the Addison operations. Altogether, the firm employs about 100.
``The soft markets of recent years put Arrem in a loss situation that could not be continued,'' Murrill said. ``Several years ago, both [firms] were the same size.''
Plastics News' ranking of North American thermoformers estimated Profile's 2001 sales at $16 million and Arrem sales at $7.8 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2001.
Richard Muhlethaler, now retired, founded Arrem in 1945.
His son, Arrem President Dale Muhlethaler, does not anticipate staying with the combined business.
Arrem and Profile ``have been in a competitive situation for years and had been in the same markets to some extent,'' Dale Muhlethaler said. ``Our areas of interest were broader than Profile's'' and, at one time, included significant volumes in lighting applications.
Profile focused on higher-volume applications, while ``Arrem was good at shorter runs,'' Murrill said. Both firms use vacuum, pressure and twin-sheet forming processes. John Grundy founded Profile in 1960 and sold the business to Murrill in 1987.
Murrill noted industry trends. ``In heavy-gauge thermoforming, product life cycles seem to be short,'' lasting one to five years, he said. ``At Profile, we must have 25 percent of the business new every year or you will shrink. Arrem was not getting 25 percent a year in new business.''