Conair Group Inc. has beefed up its downstream extrusion offerings by purchasing Michigan Plastics Machinery Co.
Conair will keep the Michigan Plastics Machinery brand and will continue to operate the company's plant in Kawkawlin, Mich. In a related move, Conair has formed a new business unit, Conair Extrusion, which will include the Michigan Plastics Machinery product offerings.
Conair announced the deal Sept. 20. Terms were not disclosed.
Michigan Plastics Machinery, founded in 2000 by former Conair employee Steve Sickles, employs 21. The company makes downstream equipment for pipe, PVC fence, windows and other profiles. Products include vacuum and cooling baths, haul-offs, fly knife and rotary cutters, traveling saws, coils and winders, embossing units and dumping tables, air rack tables and pay-off units.
Conair said the purchase boosts its sales in downstream extrusion by 50 percent.
All key Michigan Plastics Machinery employees are expected to remain with the business, according to Pittsburgh-based Conair.
Conair's main factory, in Franklin, Pa., also makes products for downstream extrusion.
Conair President Christopher Keller said joining the two companies creates a ``formidable supplier.''
``Conair excels in systems for smaller profiles and tubing commonly used in medical applications, as well as fast-delivery standardized products. We also have been very successful in supplying lines for producing wood-plastics composite,'' Keller said. ``At the same time, MPM excels in designing and delivering lines for larger pipe and profile applications, as well as highly customized products.''
The deal is about more than technology. Conair also has solid people skills, through a number of industry experts.
``Demand for industry expertise is enormous'' in downstream extrusion systems, said Ben Martin, marketing communications manager.
Sickles has 28 years of experience in the downstream extrusion machinery business. He started in 1979 at Gatto Machinery Development Corp. of Long Island, N.Y., a pioneer of downstream products such as vacuum sizing tanks, pullers and cutters. Conair bought Gatto Machinery in 1988.
Sickles left Conair in 1996 to work for downstream extrusion equipment maker G.F. Goodman & Son Inc. of Ivyland, Pa. He soon returned to Conair and worked at the Metaplast downstream extrusion business in Canada, which Conair purchased in 1997, and later at Conair's headquarters in Pittsburgh as product manager for downstream extrusion equipment.
Keller said creating the Conair Extrusion unit will allow Conair to give a higher level of customer service, including early-stage consultation, site evaluation, trials at the Conair Technical Center and development of a total extrusion system that includes upstream processes such as material handling and downstream equipment.
In addition to Sickles, other key Conair Extrusion executives include:
* A 35-year extrusion veteran, Ernie Preiato, who has directed sales of Conair's downstream extrusion equipment for the past 10 years. Preiato is the former president of Gatto.
* Product managers Bob Bessemer, a 25-year veteran and inventor of modern downstream cutting systems, Dave Czarnik, a tooling expert with 15 years of experience, and Brian Hilton, with 22 years of downstream application work.
* Ed Phillips, who joined Conair in 1993 and became extrusion aftermarket manager in 1997. He will relocate from Pittsburgh to become vice president and general manager of the Michigan operation.
Conair was a major customer for Michigan Plastics Machinery, which built larger-sized and custom downstream equipment for the auxiliary maker.