InterTrade Industries Ltd. has acquired the assets of Tru-Form Plastics Inc. and is merging the thermoforming operations of the 59-year-old business with its own in Westminster, Calif.
The combined companies are going forward under the name Tru-Form Plastics, an InterTrade Industries Co., with production and the headquarters in Westminster.
A renovation of InterTrade's 75,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is underway to house Tru-Form's 14 machines and most of its 30 employees. The move should be complete this summer.
In the meantime, some new hires were brought on board to build up a "safety stock" of key products so no supply is interrupted as operations merge, InterTrade President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Goode said in a phone interview.
Tru-Form produces housings for medical gear, parts for aircraft interiors and galley applications, components for the automotive aftermarket and more.
InterTrade makes packaging for automotive, medical and consumer products as well as cabin interiors, seating and equipment covers for aviation and defense.
Founded in 1975, InterTrade's officials had their eye on Tru-Form as a competitor in the aerospace market that was located just 21 miles away in Gardena, Calif. The businesses also overlapped in the defense, automotive and medical markets. Sometimes the companies split common customers' work between them.
"That's one of the beauties of this merger," Goode said. "We have complementary skills and in the same markets."
While both companies thermoform plastic parts, Goode said Tru-Form's main capabilities include drape forming, cold forming, heat bending, engineering, fabricating, complex assembly of metal and plastic parts, packaging, bar coding, painting, silk screening and printing.
The strengths of InterTrade and its 50 employees are in tool design, tool making, processing thin- and thick-gauge thermoformed parts and assembling components, Goode added.
"The combined employees, equipment and inventory will allow us to be more responsive to customer needs; produce more complex fully-assembled, painted and silkscreened products; increase throughput; and reduce lead time in our newer and larger AS9100 and ISO 9001 certified facility," Goode said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Goode said Tru-Form was owned by an individual who had told him the business is "near and dear" to him but it's time to sell.
"I admired them," Goode said of Tru-Form. "I think they have a great brand name and capabilities and I wanted all of his people."
Goode said he expects the "vast majority" of Tru-Form employees to make the move to the privately held InterTrade, which has room for them and their operation because a sublease deal with a neighboring business ended.
"That opened up a pretty large area," Goode said. "For the renovation, we're tearing down some walls, moving equipment and racks to improve the flow, and setting up areas to accommodate a bigger assembly area, sanding booths, paint booths and silk screening capabilities."
The acquisition also brings thermoforming, pressure forming and CNC machines to the combined location and increases InterTrade's capacity by 60 percent, Goode said.
"A lot of times a merger like this really makes sense even if you have to go across the country to do it," he added. "What makes this even better is that it's only 21 miles away. We're confident that most of the employees that we offered positions to will be able to move with us when we combine all forces in Westminster."
The move is happening in stages.
"We've choreographed it so people will stand by when machines show up and connect them to air and power and get them up and running as fast as possible to resume production," Goode said.
Looking further ahead, he said he is optimistic about growth forecasts for aerospace and defense and expects strong results from medical device packaging and large medical device enclosures.
"This combination wasn't about putting two companies together and then reducing staff and cost reductions," Goode said. "This is really about putting these two companies together to better position ourselves for growth."
Earlier this year, InterTrade also "officially joined forces" with Global Packaging Development in Garden Grove, Calif. Tom Cantwell, the owner and operator with 20 years experience in thermoforming, now is general manager of InterTrade's sales, engineering, production, warehousing and customer service teams.
In addition, Wayne McKay, who has seven plant startups to his credit, is senior plant manager. He had assisted InterTrade with relocating Plastic Concept Inc., from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Westminster in 2015, which was a few years after it was acquired.
InterTrade is a subsidiary of American Innotek Inc., which is based in Oceanside, Calif. Goode is also president and COO of the parent company, which has two other divisions. They are Brief Relief, which offers patented bags with safe chemicals for treating waste to full-field lavatory systems, and RESTOP, which offers portable sanitation systems.