by 

Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Thermoset Molding Inc. has acquired AcroReels, a division of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Atek Companies LLC that manufactures reels for the recording industry.

Wisconsin Thermoset employees

Wisconsin Thermoset Molding and Rose Polymer employees after the recent merger of the companies.

WTM, which acquired Milwaukee-based Rose Polymer Composites LLC in January, has changed its name to reflect the recent changes. Its companies are now included under the corporate umbrella brand Cornerstone Composites Inc., based at 900 E. Vienna St. in Milwaukee.

Both WTM and Rose Polymer are contract molding companies, with WTM focusing on electrical/power transmission and commercial construction and Rose Polymer specializing in oil/gas and mass transit.

WTM previously molded the hubs for reels made at AcroReels, and now has acquired the name, rights to manufacture the whole reel, and some equipment and tooling for an undisclosed price. The hubs continue to be made in-house, while the flange manufacturing has been locally outsourced, said Andy Stroh, WTM’s vice president.

WTM and Rose Polymer will maintain their separate locations under the new umbrella, which focuses on providing tailored, high-performance composite material engineered to replace metal and thermoplastic parts for original equipment manufacturers.

“Industry 4.0 and the technologies that support it like 3-D printing, automation and the Internet of Things, are changing the way OEMs make parts,” Stroh said. “To remain competitive, they are looking for ways to increase productivity, improve performance and reduce production costs. We can support OEMs from a material standpoint by working with them to develop custom formulations that are stronger than metals or thermoplastics, corrosion resistant and potentially lighter weight.”

Wisconsin Thermoset and Rose Polymer’s combined capabilities have allowed them to offer concept, prototyping, testing, tooling and production services. The companies have upgraded equipment that includes 32 advanced compression, transfer and injection molding presses, as well as extruders, preheaters and preformers. Four shifts run the two manufacturing locations.

Rose Polymer’s square footage is approximately 7,500, with another 10,000 square feet of leased space nearby. WTM is roughly 38,000 to 40,000 square feet.

Stroh said in January that the combined revenues exceed $10 million, and he expects the companies together to grow at 5 percent to 10 percent a year. WTM and Rose Polymer have about 40 employees each.

“Our combined capabilities make us especially suited to help industrial and commercial OEMs that use a large amount of metal parts, structural and mechanical components or produce parts that will be exposed to harsh chemicals or temperature extremes,” Stroh said. “AcroReels designs high precision reels for the medical industry. One of our customers was exiting the business so we purchased the line because we felt the proprietary product was a fit with our custom molding business. It’s a niche technology we’ll be able to continue to provide to that market segment.”