In a vertical integration move, gas and chemical delivery system maker Ichor Systems Inc. has acquired a plastic component supplier operating as Ajax Custom Manufacturing.
The strategic transaction provides Ichor Systems with an in-house source for computer numerically controlled precision-machined plastic parts, production of thermoformed components, thermoplastics welding services and assembly and module contract manufacturing capabilities.
Both businesses are based in California's Alameda County near many Silicon Valley customers needing capital equipment for microelectronic semiconductor chip, LED and flat-panel display manufacturing.
Ichor has its headquarters in Fremont, and Ajax is in Union City. Together, the operations employ more than 500.
Ichor Systems, which works primarily with metal, predicts the integration will help it control the cost of plastic commodities for its manufacturing and assembly requirements.
Ichor CEO Tom Rohrs said in a news release that the acquisition solidifies his firm's “position as one of the largest suppliers of plastic systems in the semiconductor chemical delivery market.”
Ichor Systems was founded in 1999 and designs and manufactures process tools, gas delivery modules and chemical delivery modules. In 2012, private equity firm Francisco Partners Management LLC of San Francisco and London acquired Ichor Systems.
In addition to Fremont and now Union City, Ichor Systems has manufacturing facilities in Tualatin, Ore.; Austin, Texas; Singapore; Shah Alam, Malaysia; and Blantyre, Scotland.
In an interview, Norm Haas, Ichor vice president of sales and marketing, said customers are projecting 2016 sales growth of about 10 percent vs. last year.
Ajax's Union City operation covers 55,000 square feet, including 4,000 square feet for an ISO Class 4 clean room and a chemical cleaning room. Ajax's largest size for vacuum or pressure forming is 48-by-72-by-36 inches.
In addition, Ajax has a 2,000-square-foot logistics and distribution facility in Pflugerville, Texas, near Austin.
Ajax Custom Manufacturing, which is incorporated as Ajax–United Patterns & Molds Inc., said it also offers thermoplastic and thermoset injection molding services through strategic partner Wright Engineered Plastics Inc. of Santa Rosa, Calif.
The Ichor-Ajax transaction was completed April 11 and publicly disclosed May 11.