ATLANTA—Spectrum Plastics Group has upped its profile in complex medical items by acquiring Apex Resource Technologies Inc.
Apex specializes in tooling and injection molding of difficult parts such as implants and bio-absorbable products. Spectrum is a significant player in medical but also sells into high-value food and industrial applications. Spectrum mainly extrudes components, including silicone tubing, but it also has complementary operations in injection molding, silicone processing and assembly.
Apex runs 26 injection presses with clamping forces up to 385 tons at its Pittsfield, Mass., headquarters, which includes a recently expanded Class 8 clean room. Spectrum manages 15 plants in the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Ireland and Malaysia.
"Spectrum is like us but much bigger," said Don Rochelo, the Apex founder and president who will continue with the business, helping with business development.
"My objective has always been to grow the company," Rochelo said. "With their resources we can get there. We are valued for our expertise in designing for manufacturing."
"Apex has all the elements we are looking for as we evolve our business to the next level," Spectrum CEO Neil Shillingford said in news release. "Great customer relationships, strong engineering and design capabilities, a focus on performance plastics suitable to invasive medical applications, and a solid operating culture that fits our core values."
Spectrum, based in Alpharetta, Ga., was formed in 2017 by the combination of Pexco L.L.C. and PPC Industries and its subsidiary Kelpac Medical. A year later global private equity AEA Investors bought Spectrum from private equity Kohlberg & Co. L.L.C.
Rochelo started Apex in 1983 then sold it to MedSource Technologies Inc. in 2000. The business didn't grow as fast as expected so Rochelo bought it back in 2002. Apex invested heavily to expand its medical-related business, including a Class 8 clean room, recently expanded by 40 percent. More than 60 work at Apex's 45,000-square-foot facility in Pittsfield.
Apex molds a range of thermoplastics. For bio-absorbable items the customer chooses the molding material and does due diligence for medical approval. Apex comes in to design the process to mold the part. Bio-absorbable material choices include polylactic acid and polyetheretherketone.
Apex is certified to ISO 13485, ISO 9000 and ISO 14644-1, a relatively new standard for cleanrooms and controlled environments. It does two-shot molding, insert molding, overmolding and gear molding. The operation is highly automated.
Apex is Spectrum's first acquisition under AEA ownership.
"We plan to continue pursuing acquisitions that fit our core objectives, to provide specialty plastic solutions on behalf of the medical device industry and our customers," Shillingford predicted.
Spectrum operates multiple Class 7 and Class 8 clean rooms. In its 15 factories it employs about 2,000.