DETROIT - Engineers Nasser Lukmani and Bill Schneider have seen the demand for design expertise move its way down the automotive supply chain.
While Tier 2 molders have started the search to bring technical expertise into their shops, Lukmani and Schneider took the opposite route, buying an $8 million injection molding company, Plastics Specialties Inc., which will produce parts backed by their engineering backgrounds.
'PSI already has an excellent customer base,' Lukmani, majority owner and president, said. 'What we are going to do is look at the strength that PSI has, strategize our engineering reputation and establish a niche for ourselves.'
Plastics Specialties has 45 presses with clamping forces of 10-1,000 tons, and nearly 100 employees at plants in Rochester Hills and Sterling Heights, Mich.
Schneider, who was an engineer for both LDM Technologies Inc. and United Technologies Automotive, is vice president of operations.
Lukmani's background includes design stints with General Electric Co. and Robert Bosch GmbH. Born in Pakistan, Lukmani also brings PSI status as a minority supplier.
'Our philosophy is that minority status is fine if it helps you open the doors, but we're not going to rely on it for business,' Lukmani said. 'Our main strategy is to leverage our position and our current customers. We want to go into long-term relationships and get programs that can take advantage of our engineering experience.'
The partners completed their purchase of PSI for an undisclosed amount Oct. 16 from Thurston Dean, who doubled sales at Plastics Specialties during the five years he owned the company.
'They found a very solid molding company with good geographic locations, solid personnel, very good molding capacity and machines in good shape,' said David Eberly, managing director for GMA Capital LLC of Farmington Hills, Mich., which helped negotiate the sale.
The business will break down any walls between engineering and manufacturing departments, Lukmani said.