Thermoset molder and compounder Mar-Bal Inc. has purchased Lattice Composites LLC, a Riverside, Calif.-based epoxy and polyester compounder.
Mar-Bal will merge Lattice with its AltraSet Composite Technologies unit, and Lattice will move its advanced manufacturing equipment and staff to Mar-Bal's AltraSet plant in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
The deal will expand Mar-Bal's composite technologies to include Lattice's customized epoxy chemistry systems.
"We were impressed with what they can do," Mar-Bal President and CEO Scott Balogh said in a Nov. 4 telephone interview. "This is a natural evolution for us."
Balogh added that aerospace customers are looking for the repeatability and scalability that Lattice's materials can provide. Those materials "have properties you can't touch with other thermosets," he said.
Lattice officials making the move to Ohio include founder and CEO Ruchir Shanbhag; Larry Landis, materials engineering vice president; Zach Melrose, operations director; and Steve Stine, process engineer.
Balogh said the deal is an acquisition that will give Shanbhag an ownership stake in Chagrin Falls-based Mar-Bal. Balogh added that major end markets for Lattice's materials included oil and gas and ballistics.
Mar-Bal traditionally has worked with polyester and vinyl ester bulk molding compounds (BMCs). The deal with Lattice will create new opportunities for epoxy-based products and material solutions for the composites industry that are not available with any other material suppliers.
New epoxy-based products for Mar-Bal will include BMC and sheet molding compound (SMC) composites, filament winding resins and bulk and film adhesives.
Balogh said the combined operations will make Mar-Bal "the world's leading provider of composite materials solutions."
"We have the ability to custom design, formulate and manufacture a wide variety of composite materials to fit most any product application or manufacturing process," he said.
Mar-Bal established AltraSet in 2018 after it renovated and reopened a former injection molding plant in Painesville, Ohio. Balogh said that all of Lattice's equipment should be in place in Chagrin Falls by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Shanbhag founded Lattice in 2015. The firm was launched with the goal of changing traditional paradigms of epoxy use, officials said. Lattice has focused on basic resin packages that provide superior material properties when compared to other resin systems, they added.
In a news release, Shanbhag called the deal with Mar-Bal "a no-brainer," since the two firms have been working together for several years.
"We needed to grow, and Mar-Bal's cutting-edge manufacturing and composite material capabilities were aligned perfectly with our high-end epoxy performance expertise," he said.
Mar-Bal is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020. The firm operates manufacturing plants in Ohio, Virginia and Missouri, as well as a plant and sales office in China. Mar-Bal serves the appliance, electrical, industrial, foodservice, transportation and construction industries, employing 450 and posting annual sales of about $70 million.