Custom Roto-Mold Inc. has strengthened its presence in Europe through a partnership with Pentas Moulding BV of Almelo, the Netherlands.
CRM, based in Benson, Minn., has been active in Europe but the partnership with Pentas will make it easier to work with customers there, according to CRM Vice President Cory Claussen.
“We will be able to manufacture in Europe,” Claussen said in a phone interview. “Also we have technology we can share through collaboration between engineering departments.”
CRM's Jan. 1 memorandum of understanding with Pentas makes the firms partners but they don't plan to exchange assets or equity, Claussen said. Both companies are family owned — CRM is held by the Claussen family — and they share a common business culture. Each company has a global outlook — CRM exports to 15 countries, although Europe is its major offshore region.
“They truly are a sister company,” Claussen said.
Pentas does its own tool building and could supply molds to CRM, which has relied on outside mold builders. Pentas also is highly automated and CRM can benefit from that expertise.
“We will have access to their tooling,” he explained. “They can offer advantages we have not seen before.”
Claussen said his company could also gain U.S. business through working with Pentas and its customers. Transportation, highway construction and industrial products are some of the markets the partners can share.
“Collaborating with Pentas allows us to leverage creativity, experiences and resources,” Claussen stressed. He expects the firms to exchange information on materials, process and product knowledge, global sourcing and new technologies.
“Combining strength and knowledge will give us an interesting future together,” said Pentas CEO Ruud Koorn in a news release.
CRM also has been strengthening its domestic operations. It has been buying new Ferry rotomolding ovens as well as relocating equipment from its former Little Falls, Minn., factory into a newly occupied, second plant in Benson. It bought the Little Falls facility in 2012 as Phoenix Plastics but recently closed it to improve efficiency. Benson's local development agencies supported the move from Little Falls into a vacant, 25,000-square-foot building in Benson.
CRM was founded in 1994. Its 105 employees run nine rotomolding lines making polyethylene and nylon products for agriculture, amusement, child safety, construction, marine, military and recreation markets. The firm's sales have been running at about $18 million per year.