Robert Sly, whose company Reduction Engineering Inc. already serves the rotational molding industry with pulverizers and rotomolding machines, has purchased part of mold maker Wheeler Boyce Co.
The two companies are about 10 miles apart, Reduction Engineering in Kent and Wheeler Boyce in Stow, Ohio.
Sly said he bought a portion of the company. Bud Boyce, president of Wheeler Boyce, continues to own part of the firm. Sly declined to say what percentage of the mold maker each man owns.
The deal means Reduction Engineering now offers products for every part of rotomolding. The company makes pulverizers that grind plastic resin into rotomolding powder. Reduction also sells Rotoline-brand rotomolding machines.
``We're able to offer a customer the rotomolding machine, with the molds and with the material processing,'' Sly said. ``We can literally set someone up in the business.''
Wheeler Boyce uses both the traditional cast aluminum process, and the machining process, which is newer to the rotomolding industry. In machined molds, a computer numerically controlled machining center cuts the molds from a block of aluminum. The company made a major investment in the CNC metalcutting equipment, which produces rotational molds quickly and automatically.
``Wheeler Boyce has always been on the cutting edge of what's going on,'' Sly said during a June 15 interview in Kent, at the headquarters of Reduction Engineering, where he is president and owner.
Sly said the company plans to invest in machinery and equipment to do mold prototyping and better serve international customers.
Reduction Engineering has a strong international business, Sly said. He got into the rotomolding equipment side of the market in 2001, when he bought a machinery company in Brazil, renaming the firm Rotoline. ``We're about to deliver our 50th machine,'' he said. ``We've got customers ordering their third machine.''
Sly said Rotoline machines have been sold around the world, including Brazil, Asia, Australia, the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Rotoline claims the Brazilian-made shuttle machines cost about half as much as a carousel machine. The shuttle machine moves the spinning molds in and out of a cylinder-shaped oven. The equipment has Allen-Bradley controls and Maxon burners for the oven.
Bud Boyce could not be reached for comment.
Sly said changes in rotomolding have created challenges for mold makers. The really high-volume sectors, like toys, are maturing. Orders for those type of parts - ``10 molds of the same item'' - are rare, he said.
The manufacturing recession is easing now, after some difficult years. ``2001 through 2003 were killer years for anyone in capital equipment, regardless of the industry,'' Sly said. ``When the projects slow down, mold manufacturing slows down also.''