Italy's Piovan SpA has purchased Universal Dynamics Inc., a U.S. maker of material conveying and equipment, dryers, loaders, feeders and granulators, in a move Piovan officials said is a key to building Piovan into a global producer of auxiliary equipment.
Una-Dyn, based in Woodbridge, Va., announced the news Sept. 29 on its Web site. Piovan is buying Una-Dyn from Mann+Hummel GmbH of Ludwigsburg, Germany. M+H is a major automotive molder that bought Una-Dyn in 1995 from the Rainville family.
M+H officials said the firm will focus on its core automotive business. Terms were not disclosed.
Una-Dyn President Bill Goldfarb said the auxiliary equipment maker has annual sales of $25 million to $35 million and employs about 140.
Piovan, after buying Una-Dyn, now has sales of about $180 million and employs around 750, according to Filippo Zuppichin, Piovan's general manager in Europe.
Piovan runs factories at its headquarters near Venice, in Santa Maria di Sala; at Osasco, Brazil; and in Suzhou, China, near Shanghai. The company runs a Canadian sales and service site in Mississauga, Ontario, that has focused on dryers for PET.
Piovan is a broad-line auxiliary equipment company that makes materials-handling equipment, dryers, dosers, temperature controllers, chillers, mold dryers and granulators. Up until now, the Italian auxiliary company has not been active in the U.S. market.
``It's a big move,'' Zuppichin said.
``Piovan has the ambition to be the leader in the auxiliary market, and with this acquisition, we are among the leaders in the world.''
Piovan claims to be Europe's largest auxiliary equipment manufacturer. But a global manufacturing footprint is needed to serve multinational customers, Zuppichin said.
Piovan was already strong in Europe, Asia and South America. North American production was the missing link.
``In our vision to accomplish this goal to be a major manufacturer of auxiliary equipment, we want to be present directly in all major plastic markets, to have a consistent distribution and service network,'' Zuppichin said.
``And in each continent, we like to manufacture with a factory that also distributes the products.''
In recent years, Piovan has moved aggressively to expand internationally. Production began in Brazil in 2000. The company established an Asian presence in the early 1990s in Singapore. Piovan began manufacturing in 2005 at Zhuhai, China.
Giorgio Santella, Piovan's marketing director for global activities, said the new Suzhou factory began making dryers, materials-handling and feeding equipment, and mold-temperature controllers in September.
Production has relocated from Zhuhai.
Santella said company executives have studied how to enter the U.S. market with the broad line of auxiliary equipment for many years. He said Piovan looked at several auxiliary companies before picking Una-Dyn.
``We needed a company with a solid base, with roots in the ground and someone who has been there a long time,'' Santella said.
Piovan was founded in 1936, to produce molds for sheet metal processing. In 1963, it moved into auxiliary machinery for the plastics industry.
M+H said it will continue to own a German auxiliary equipment company, M+H ProTec GmbH.