Caplugs LLC owner Protective Industries Inc. led a major consolidation in the injection molded caps and plugs market in May, when it bought Niagara Plastics Co. - and now Protective has shut down Niagara's dip molding plant in Cresson, Pa.
Protective Industries President John Byrne said its Caplugs division already runs nine dip molding machines at plants in Buffalo, N.Y., and Los Angeles, so the Cresson plant was not needed after the acquisition. The plant, which employed about 30 people, closed in August.
The closure ended decades of dip molding in Cresson. Niagara Plastics bought the operation, then called Cresson Plastics, in 1969.
In 1998, Niagara Plastics moved the plant's injection molding production to Erie, Pa., as Niagara was undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion of headquarters there.
Now Niagara Plastics and Caplugs are divisions of Buffalo-based Protective Industries. The third division is Mokon, which makes chillers and temperature-control systems in Buffalo. The combined annual sales from all three divisions totals $65 million, with 590 total employees.
Byrne said Protective Industries will continue to operate Niagara's Erie injection molding factory. ``Niagara is a very well-run company. It's very reputable in the marketplace,'' he said.
Niagara brings the company larger-tonnage presses, in the 400-ton range, since the company tended to use more higher-cavity molds, he said. Caplugs tends to use smaller molding machines.
Byrne called the acquisition ``a classic story of an industry consolidation.'' Both companies were pioneers in plastic plugs and caps - a giant market of small components used in a range of industries, including office furniture, medical tubing, hydraulics and food packaging. Byrne said Niagara and Caplugs, with 125 injection presses in Erie and Buffalo, and the dip molding operations, turn out a whopping 2 billion-plus caps and plugs a year.
The Caplugs business began in the late 1940s, Byrne said. Niagara Plastics was founded in 1953. Both companies have an extensive line of proprietary products sold through a catalog, and can develop custom-made caps and plugs.
Protective Industries declined to disclose the purchase price for Niagara Plastics, which had sales of $24 million a year.