Japanese equipment giant Yamaha has acquired a Milwaukee plastic fuel tank rotational molder to shore up its U.S. boating motors unit.
Yamaha Motor Corp. said June 19 that it bought Kracor Inc. and will fold it into Yamaha Marine Systems Co. of Kennesaw, Ga. Kracor was founded and owned by rotomolding guru George Kraemar.
Kracor funs five multi-armed rotational molding lines and employs about 30, Kraemar said in a phone interview. He founded the company in 1969, when rotomolding was more art than science before developing into the sophisticated technology it is today, he told Plastics News.
"I could think of no better way to assure Kracor's continued growth than aligning with Yamaha," Kraemar said. Surprisingly, Kracor did not sell plastic fuel tanks to Yamaha, although it is a leader in supplying them to other marine motor manufacturers.
Kracor rotomolds fuel tanks and other products ranging in size from about a quart in volume to some 300 gallons. In addition to marine motor fuel tanks, it is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for fuel tanks in other markets, and rotomolds for other diverse industries like lawn and garden and agriculture.
Kraemar said Kracor rotomolds marine fuel tanks with a nylon barrier inner layer to meet stringent fuel emission standards for small gasoline engines. The exterior layer is cross-linked polyethylene for toughness. Sandwiched between them is another plastic layer in Kracor's proprietary system.
Yamaha Marine spokesman Martin Peters said in a phone interview the purchase resembles activity in the auto industry, where Tier 1 suppliers are taking on bigger components programs.
"We want to be a systems supplier to boat companies," Peters explained. Yamaha's marine-oriented business sells to about 120 different boat OEMs. "We want to supply everything that is part of the [marine] engine and related systems."
Peters said Yamaha will continue to supply rotomolded components to non-marine accounts and plans to expand the marine fuel tank business.
"We value Kracor's technology," Peters added.
Kraemar entered the Rotational Molding Hall of Fame in 1997. Kracor is a charter member of the Association of Rotational Molders and Kraemar was its third president in 1977-78. Among his accolades is the Boating Industry Magazine's 1994 Mel Barr award for outstanding service to the pleasure boat industry.
Yamaha Marine markets marine outboard motors from 2.5 to 350 horsepower. It claims to hold about a third of the market share for marine outboards in the United States with a network of 2,000 dealers and OEM customers. Yamaha Marine also supplies global markets. It is a division of Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. in Cypress, Calif.
"The Kracor employees will help us supply rotational molded parts and integrated fuel tank systems to boat builder customers and Yamaha's internal business units," stated Yamaha Marine President Ben Speciale in a news release.
The world market for marine engines was valued at $10.72 billion in 2015 and is forecast to grow at a compounded annual rate of 3.85 percent, according to marketsandmarkets.com. Growth in building both commercial vessels and pleasure boats is driving growth, the market research firm explains.