Elkhart, Ind.-based Spark Industries LLC acquired several product lines from Elmhurst, Ill.-based Fast Heat Inc., including those for hot runner controls and diagnostics, and has moved production to Elkhart.
All Fast Heat employees were retained and about a dozen sales representatives will be added, Spark Industries Managing Partner Chad Root said in a phone interview.
Financial terms of the deal are confidential, Root added.
Founded in 1957, Fast Heat manufactures temperature controllers, diagnostic tools, custom cables and other devices that help produce quality parts, reduce waste and increase plant productivity.
Root and his business partner, Manny Diaz, are very familiar with Fast Heat, which has a wide variety of customers in the consumer goods, packaging, medical, automotive and appliances end markets.
Root was general manager of Fast Heat's hot runners and controls business unit from 2003-06. Then, he was a subcontractor on the controls side from 2006-10 before opening two of his own businesses: Root Industrial Sales, which sells equipment to the plastics industry, and Spearhead Sales and Marketing, which is a branding and web development business.
Diaz had been the operations manager of Fast Heat since 1991. He also has two patents related to diagnostic tools for checking molds and cables.
Root said he and Diaz founded Spark Industries to continue the hot runner controls business of Fast Heat, which was previously owned by Tim Stojka, who was the NPE chairman in 2006, and other members of the Stojka family.
Root said the Stojka family owns companies involved with other industries but held on to Fast Heat because it is a steady business. His marketing company was asked to help with a business development about a year ago and then discussions turned to acquisition.
"Through that process, the current, long-time production manager, Manny Diaz, and I decided to acquire the product line. We started Spark Industries LLC to do that," Root said. "The name Spark comes from the Fast Heat heritage. The company had a sculpture in the front lobby of a guy made from heaters. His name was Sparky, so we ran with that and decided to call our new venture Spark Industries."
Spark Industries acquired Fast Heat assets, such as manufacturing equipment and intellectual property, patents, customer and vendor lists, inventory, backlog and the right to use the brand name for three years.
The acquired product lines include Ion low-cavitation controllers for up to 24 zones; Pulse advanced hot runner controllers for up 180 zones; MoldXChecker testing systems; CableXChecker to show wiring diagrams and specified connectors; and SmartMold, which is a hot runner mold box that protects thermocouples.
Spark Industries also acquired the parts and services business.
Fast Heat now operates out of a 10,000-square-foot facility in Elkhart, which is about 125 miles from Elmhurst. Root said customers should see faster response times and lead times, product updates, new products and competitive pricing as the supply chain is optimized.
"We will have a lot more inventory and parts on hand," Root said.
Customers also should watch for a new human-machine interface in the first quarter of 2021 and more affordable modular controls for low-cavitation tools in the second quarter, Root added.
He has a positive outlook for the year.
"We have a backlog and will fill orders immediately. We have strong financial support. Root Industrial sells to the injection molding industry. We have a lot of things in our favor," Root said. "We feel the wind at our back. I think we will do well."