DELANO, Minn.—Service continues to be a priority for Trelleborg A.B.'s Sealing Solutions unit, and its latest acquisition only furthers that goal.
The firm in January finalized a deal to acquire all of Sil-Pro L.L.C. from Precision Associates Inc. and its business partner Kevin Carver. Based in Delano, the manufacturer of silicone parts reported $38.7 million in 2017 sales and is part of Trelleborg's bolt-on strategy to position itself in the medical industry.
Financial details were not disclosed. Trelleborg said all employees will transfer with the business.
"Today's agreement represents the culmination of 18 wonderful years of prosperous partnership among the Kadue and Carver families and our hundreds of dedicated and talented employees," PAI President Bradley Kadue said in a statement. "The team at Sil-Pro has built a phenomenal business over that time, and we are proud to have played a part in that success. We are pleased to have partnered with such a capable and ethical company as Trelleborg. We know that Sil-Pro and its employees will be a marvelous complement to its operations."
PAI develops seals and other rubber products through molding, compound development and testing. The firm operates an ISO Class 7 clean room with tool-making capability located at its 130,000-sq.-ft. facility. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is a subsidiary of Trelleborg, which is based in Trelleborg, Sweden.
Linda Muroski, president of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions' North American unit, said adding Sil-Pro to the Trelleborg portfolio will help both companies break into new customer bases and share best practices.
"We'll have one cohesive sales team that sells all of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions' health care solutions," she said. "It gives us a chance to share capabilities across manufacturing facilities as well. We want to make sure we're taking the best practices of one and putting them in the other."
Sil-Pro recently repurposed 3,000 square feet at its 35,000-sq.-ft. silicone molding site in Delano to add up to 10 silicone molding machines. Sil-Pro operates two Class 7 clean rooms at a pair of facilities in Delano, the other spanning 50,000 square feet for thermoplastic molding.
Drew Gaillard, global director for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions' health care and medical business, said Sil-Pro brings Trelleborg into certain areas of the medical field it previously had not been in. The firm makes products for long-term implant, disposables and surgical instruments, among others.
"They have been playing in slightly different applications than we have," he said. "Orthopedics being one because they have thermoplastics capabilities, something we have not had in the past. In the diabetes space, we've been producing seals at our Switzerland site that go into pumps, but Sil-Pro is in a different space in terms of patches that go on the skin."
But the additional services Sil-Pro brings to the table also will help Trelleborg enhance its position as a strong medical supplier, according to Muroski.
Sil-Pro offers a variety of secondary operations. The silicone site offers pad printing, bonding, slitting and sub assembly, among others. Sil-Pro's thermoplastics site does some assembly work, pressure decay testing, pad printing and ultrasonic welding, among other secondary operations. The firm added thermoplastic capabilities about eight years ago thanks to organic growth coming from customer requests.
Muroski highlighted Sil-Pro's ability to produce two-shot thermoplastic/silicone overmolded parts; its tool shop, giving Trelleborg the ability to produce liquid silicone rubber molds in the Americas for the first time—something it previously only had in Europe; and its robotics shop, bringing automation capabilities to Trelleborg should it decide to go that route, as key additions to Trelleborg's offerings.
"What we're hearing more and more from OEMs is that they want us to take over non-core services," Muroski said. "Where can we finish the product for them and give them a final assembled product in the end so they don't have to spend their resources doing non-critical or non-core activities. That's one area which we certainly can help our customers because we do offer services."
Drug eluting advancements
Trelleborg also has been busy enhancing capabilities for drug-device combination products and highlighted a couple of these developments at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West show, held recently in Anaheim, Calif.
Gaillard highlighted Trelleborg's partnership with PermeaDerm Inc. to develop a product made from silicone sheeting that embeds drugs into the device for use in wound care. The firm is targeting military applications, but the product also can be used in a number of other wound applications, like burn victims.
The product is a very thin sheet of silicone that releases drugs into the wound, but unlike a bandage it also breathes and exposes the wound to air.
"It's been quite successful and expanding globally," Gaillard said. "The standard practice has been to wrap wounds up with bandages, but this can be painful for the patient and includes risks. The goal has been to reduce the cost of wound management by minimizing dressing changes and fluid accumulation, thereby minimizing infection complications and patient discomfort. This is one example of drug eluting technology, and there are more and more areas where this is being looked at for consideration."
Gaillard added that drug eluting devices is a growing space within the medical industry and that Trelleborg seeks to get ahead of the trends to help push advancements for OEMs.
"Our customers are looking for us to be proactive and not just wait for a quote to come over," Muroski said. "We have to get into our customers' locations and look for opportunities to take over their non-core activities thereby making them more efficient."