Blow Molded Specialties Inc. of Foley, Minn., has expanded its technology base by acquiring AcroTech Midwest Inc.
BMS bought AcroTech on March 9 for undisclosed terms, according to BMS President Jeff Spethmann. AcroTech's relatively new multilayer Kautex blow molding machine was a key attraction of the Watertown, S.D., operation, he said in a telephone interview.
The purchase complements BMS' custom blow molding work ``with an emphasis on coex blow molding and fuel tanks, a new process for us,'' Spethmann said.
AcroTech installed the Kautex multilayer blow molding machine in late 2005 to meet anticipated demand for high-barrier plastic gas tanks in riding lawn mowers and similar vehicles. The market for such tanks is developing more slowly than AcroTech expected and the company had a round of layoffs last fall.
Delays in the market convinced AcroTech's owner, a principal with Atek Cos. of Minneapolis, to sell the firm, according to Atek President Kay Phillips.
Spethmann said he will continue the fuel-tank drive started by AcroTech in off-road and utility vehicle markets and for outdoor power equipment.
``Both industries are facing regulations that limit the evaporative emissions allowed from fuel tanks,'' said Spethmann, who added the regulations are best met with a multilayer blow molded tank.
AcroTech blow molds parts for off-road and utility vehicle markets as well as snowmobiles and watercraft. It employs 65 in its 98,000-square-foot building. On site are 23 blow molding machines. Spethmann said he plans to keep the facility open, but it will operate under the Blow Molded Specialties name.
BMS shares some of the same markets and sells to other sectors, including point-of-purchase displays, playground equipment, appliances and sporting goods. Its 60,000-square-foot operation includes 10 blow molding machines with shot sizes up to 60 pounds and a staff of 60. While headed under Spethmann since 1999, BMS' annual sales have grown to $18 million from $3 million.
BMS' parent, Upper Midwest Industries Inc. of Minneapolis, also has interests in expanded metal mesh products, and point-of-sale equipment.
Atek's remaining plastics business is injection molder Atek Plastics of Kerrville, Texas, formerly called AcroTech Southwest. It also has stakes in medical manufacturing, mechanical and electrical assemblies and metal processing.