United Defense Industries Inc. is boosting its ability to make weapon system containers for the armed forces with the $8 million purchase of Engineered Plastic Designs Inc., which does business as EPD Container Solutions of Berthoud, Colo.
EPD makes specialized containers from polymers and metals for military munitions such as missiles and bombs, as well as containers for subassemblies for aircraft and space systems.
Arlington, Va.-based United Defense Industries, a publicly traded company, is adding EPD as a subsidiary of its Armament Systems Division in Minneapolis.
United Defense spokesman Doug Coffey said his firm makes a large number of canisters for the U.S. Navy and is looking to expand its offerings. He said EDP will continue to operate under its same management in Colorado.
John Dinsmoor, a co-founder of Engineered Plastics Designs, said in a telephone interview that EPD uses a variety of polymers and processing methods. The company rotational molds linear low density polyethylene, reactive injection molds rigid and flexible polyurethane, thermoforms polycarbonate and acrylic, and injection molds nylon for different products. EPD has a four-building complex, including 65,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and employs 80, Dinsmoor said.
Dinsmoor and Barry van Everen founded EPD in 1994, launching production with an automotive hardtop for the Chevrolet Geo Tracker. Both men are staying on as vice presidents. The company switched to defense work because government contracts allowed them to plan a year ahead.
``A lot of people never give [our product] a thought. They know the high value of what's inside, but no one thinks of how to get it from the factory to the field,'' Dinsmoor said, noting that EPD's containers hold items valued from $100,000 to more than $1 million.
EPD's containers must be strong, watertight and frequently humidity-controlled. Dinsmoor added that a missile or subassembly may be stored in a container 10-15 years before use.
``What sets us apart is that we have a complete test lab. We do all the validations,'' he said. The company has engineering, design, production and assembly capabilities.
United Defense designs, develops and produces combat vehicles, artillery, naval guns and missile launchers for the Defense Department. It also does nonnuclear ship repair and conversion.