Hoping to expand in automotive aftermarket parts, a joint venture involving Starcraft Corp. has acquired the reaction injection molding assets of Troy Tooling Inc. and reopened one of its facilities.
Troy Tooling, based in Rochester Hills, Mich., had closed in June after struggling financially, said Doug Goad, Starcraft executive vice president of operations and quality. Starcraft, an aftermarket parts distributor, bought some of the assets at a July 16 auction through its Tecstar LLC joint venture.
The 50-50 venture between Goshen, Ind.-based Starcraft and Troy, Mich.-based engineering firm Wheel to Wheel Inc., makes niche automotive parts for production vehicles. The Troy Tooling purchase gives the venture its first manufacturing facility for aftermarket components, Goad said.
The company has rehired 10 people and reopened one of the two Troy Tooling buildings, a 24,000-square-foot facility that makes RIM parts. Starcraft is negotiating to buy the building and plans to expand its molding work in Rochester Hills, Goad said.
The Troy Tooling plant is generating about $2 million in annual sales, according to a quarterly report from Starcraft, a publicly held company.
The plant will make components for smaller-volume specialty vehicles, where both low tooling costs and customized designs are critical, he said. Tecstar will launch its first product from the plant, a rear bumper fascia for the Chevrolet Corvette, at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in November, he said.
Tecstar had started work with Troy Tooling on the RIM fascias before financial problems closed the company, Goad said.
``When they got in serious trouble, we needed someone else to do the process again or keep them alive,'' he said. ``We decided to integrate that operation into our business strategy and go forward with aftermarket applications.''
Troy Tooling was founded in 1970 and was divided into two buildings, one for RIM manufacturing and another for tools, fixtures and gauges. Tecstar did not buy the second, 44,000-square-foot building.
Former Troy Tooling President Hans Maser bought the firm in 1990 and launched a $2 million expansion six years later. Troy had more than $10 million in sales at the time of the expansion.
Troy President Stephen McLaughlin could not be reached for comment. Troy had formed a partnership earlier this year with iDeal Tool Co., a consultant in speed-to-market and lean manufacturing principles for toolmakers and stampers. Ideal had moved into Troy's offices to launch joint projects. But the venture never got off the ground, and the company moved out at the end of May, said Ideal President Gary Gathen.
``I guess they had enough of this economy,'' he said.
The RIM business was fairly strong for Troy Tooling, but the tooling and fixtures end was tough, Goad said. ``They were badly beaten in the market,'' he said. ``But it's the RIM area that we think is a great opportunity.''