Gleason Corp., a specialist in cutting tools and metalworking machinery to produce metal gears, is moving into plastic gear production by purchasing K2 Plastics Inc. of Bergen, N.Y.
Bergen is near Gleason's headquarters city of Rochester.
Gleason has manufacturing operations around the world. K2 Plastics employs about 10 people and runs nine injection molding machines — all-electric Roboshots with clamping forces from 17-72 tons.
“This will be a very, very small part of the business, but it's an exciting one because it's new for us,” said Alan Finegan, marketing director at Gleason.
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, announced Sept. 6.
Gleason will retain K2 Plastics' management team, including President Klaus Kremmin II, who founded the molder in 2001. The newly formed Gleason-K2 Plastics Division will continue manufacturing at the Bergen factory.
K2 focuses on gear molding and subassemblies. The company offers gear-design services and prototyping.
Kremmin said K2 molds gears from engineering for markets including medical, consumer products, electronics, gearboxes for electrical motors, and power and air tools.
Its custom molded gears include spur gears, helical gears, bevel gears, planetary gears and internal gears, pulleys, bushings, rotary air motor rotors and vanes and plastic nozzle assemblies. The firm developed a no-weld line technology that eliminates the weld line where two flow fronts meet on an injection molded gear — a potential weak link.
But even though K2 is much smaller than Gleason, both companies share a dedication to the gear industry.
“We are a machine tool builder with a total focus on gearing,” Finegan said. “We pretty much stay strictly with gears.” He said the K2 purchase does not signal a major change of direction for Gleason, but rather, “it is a way that we can broaden our reach in the gear market.”
Gleason also makes a small number of metal gears for niche markets and does pre-production and prototyping work for customers.
Gleason Corp. is an old-line Rochester company that dates to 1865, when William Gleason, an Irish immigrant, opened a machine ship that became the Gleason Works. In 1874, he invented the first bevel gear planer, kicking off a new industry — bevel gears, which transmit power at an angle — and opening up a major new way of power transmission.