The HPM Division of Taylor's Industrial Services LLC has won a multimillion-dollar order to sell injection presses to automotive molder Venture Holdings LLC, including a probable order for more than 40 machines for a plant Venture is building in Alabama to serve Hyundai Motor Co.
At NPE, HPM announced that it has sold 66 two-platen Freedom presses to an unidentified Tier 1 auto supplier. Sources at competing machinery manufacturers at NPE identified Venture as the customer, and Venture spokeswoman Annalisa Toth confirmed that the Fraser, Mich., firm is buying HPM presses.
HPM will begin shipping the machines in August and continue during the next 21/2 years, HPM said.
``The contract is the largest in HPM's'' history, said Christopher Filos, Taylor's president and chief executive officer.
``Spread out over almost three years, the contract will allow us to schedule production and delivery so we can satisfy this order while also fulfilling the needs of other customers.''
Toth said the current purchase order is for 18 presses that will go to existing locations, not the firm's new Alabama plant. The 18 presses are dedicated to a DaimlerChysler job making full interiors for 2005-2009 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The presses will start production by the end of the summer, but the facility has not been determined.
Venture and HPM have discussed the purchase of 40-plus machines for the new Venture Alabama plant, but that part of the deal has not been finalized, Toth said. ``It's not on the books yet,'' she said.
Venture officials broke ground June 17 for Venture Alabama. When completed, the factory will have 600 machines molding instrument panels, interiors, body panels and parts for front-end assemblies for Hyundai. The South Korean automaker is building its first U.S. assembly plant, near Montgomery, Ala.
Filos, interviewed at HPM's booth, said the presses will be turnkey systems, equipped with Ventax robots and a Siemens TC03 controller. Siemens Energy & Automation created the personal-computer-based controller for HPM.
While HPM was promoting the sale at NPE, executives of several competitors expressed doubts about the deal. Several said they thought Venture Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, had more financing work to do to sign off on all 60-plus machines.
``I thought there was some financial restructuring before the deal would be released,'' said one injection press executive, who spoke anonymously. Officials at two other press suppliers said they bid on the Venture contract.
Venture Holdings filed March 28 for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit. The filing came 10 months after its German subsidiary, Peguform GmbH, filed for insolvency.
Eleven different firms connected to Venture Holdings - all owned by Larry Winget - are included in the Chapter 11 filing. But Venture spokeswoman Toth said Venture Alabama is a new subsidiary of the Venture umbrella and is not affected by the bankruptcy.
Filos said all 66 machines have been financed.
Taylor's Industrial Services of Tinton Falls, N.J., bought the HPM assets in mid-2001, just before the machinery maker filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. Taylor's Industrial's units include Taylor's Towing and Heavy Hauling, which will deliver the finished Freedom presses.
``Winning a contract this large over other major global machine suppliers confirms what we set out to accomplish two years ago,'' Filos said. ``We have focused on personal service and true partnerships with customers.''