Novatec Inc. and Advantage Engineering Inc. have formed an alliance, called Auxiliary Systems Group, to compete against broad-line auxiliary equipment makers.
Baltimore-based Novatec makes dryers and conveying equipment, and is the largest North American distributor of blenders made by Maguire Products Inc. Advantage Engineering, in Greenwood, Ind., makes chillers, cooling towers and temperature-control units.
Novatec and Advantage Engineering remain separate companies, independent and privately held. They are about the same size. Novatec employs about 120 and Advantage, 85. Neither company releases sales numbers.
The two companies announced the alliance at the Plastics News Executive Forum, held Feb. 25-28 in San Diego, where they exhibited together.
Forming ASG allows the two to work together as a single engineering team, with complete project management. The resin-handling and heat-transfer equipment made by the partners account for about 70 percent of the total investment in auxiliaries for most plastics operations, according to Advantage President Harry Short.
At the same time, Novatec and Advantage will keep focused on their specialty areas. That gives ASG an edge, because the companies are product-focused and have a broad selection of equipment, officials said. ASG also plans to supply some equipment made by other companies, such as robots and granulators.
Conrad Bessemer, Novatec's president and chief executive officer, said ASG will be a ``seamless interface'' with customers, giving them coordinated service - including selling the equipment, designing complete systems, installation and technical support.
``Customers of Auxiliary Systems Group will enjoy the economic and logistical advantages of having all of their engineering, controls-customization and installation needs managed by a single project team, representing a true working alliance,'' Bessemer said. The group will give customers a single quotation and single purchase order.
Novatec and Advantage Engineering will share customer information, such as order histories and service calls, through a centralized database.
Novatec and Advantage did not compete against each other. For years, they have used many of the same distributors and manufacturers' representatives, as reps wanted the two complementary lines, Short said at the forum. That means ASG starts with its North American sales reps largely in place. The partnership will add reps in a few regions where there was no overlap before, Short said.
Bessemer and a group of investors bought Novatec last May. Bessemer said that, since the ownership change, the company has added about 20 employees to beef up for the alliance with Advantage Engineering. Most of the new hires have experience in the types of equipment made by both companies, he said.
Jim Zinski will head ASG's project management group. He is vice president of applied projects at Novatec. Doug Arndt, who is Novatec's regional vice president, will manage the Michigan project office.
Bill Jones, former Conair vice president for heat-transfer development, has joined ASG to coordinate infrastructure development projects between the two companies.
An affiliated company, Advantage Electronics, will be dedicated to embedding a common communication platform, so controllers on equipment from both companies can talk to each other. Advantage Electronics is based at Advantage Engineering.
Novatec will customize and develop controllers for products from both companies. By the end of March, Novatec will open a controls technology center at its Baltimore headquarters.
Short bought Advantage Engineering in 2004 from his partner, Phil Oswalt.