Unique Tool & Gauge Inc., a Windsor, Ontario manufacturer of both steel and aluminum molds for the automotive industry, announced the acquisition of Gauge Rite Inc., also in Windsor. Gauge Rite is a supplier of gauges and fixtures to Unique as well as other customers in the tooling and mold industry. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
Gauge Rite currently employs 10, which is not expected to change. Gauge Rite will continue to operate under the Gauge Rite name in its current location as a wholly owned subsidiary of Unique Tool & Gauge.
"I'm excited about this acquisition. Our customers have been asking us to build gauges and up until now, that business hasn't really been a part of our portfolio," said Darcy King, president of Unique Tool & Gauge. "Gauge Rite is a world-class supplier and together our businesses have a tremendous synergy." King added that it is Unique's intention to grow Gauge Rite's business as well as "maintain an outside supplier base for some of the gauges and fixtures we supply to our customers," added King.
"Currently, Gauge Rite wouldn't be able to handle all of Unique's requirements for gauges and fixtures," King told PlasticsToday in an interview. "Additionally, because they are a separate entity, our intent is to keep their current customer base. We deal with a lot of the same customers however, so we'll be able to use those synergies to grow Gauge Rite."
Commenting on the need for mold manufacturers to expand their capabilities beyond their core moldmaking in order to be competitive and obtain new business, King said, "For us, we've seen this trend as survival for this industry. It's important to stick to the core things you do, but to be able to offer your customer more services, provide better services and make their life easier is absolutely essential in today's global marketplace."
Adding Gauge Rite's capabilities allows Unique to offer its customers another service and the ability to buy molds and fixtures from the same company. "We can make changes to tools and the fixtures because one supplier builds both," stated King. "We can manage the entire process, and that helps us because customers like the idea of going to one company for a variety of their requirements."
Unique recently purchased a 3D printing machine (additive manufacturing) to produce prototype parts for customers as another way of extending its reach in the manufacturing process. "We're sticking to our core business but at the same time provide more services and better service to our customers," he said.
Unique also provides tool management services for customers who request tooling built in Asia, included blended tool management. "If they want some molds built here and some in Asia, we can provide that. It's all these little things that result in our ability to provide better service and greater flexibility to our customers," King said.
As a result of the company's expanded capabilities, Unique has focused on diversifying its customer base within the automotive market. The company works with all the major automotive OEMs, and recently became a supplier to Tesla, which King noted is "really exciting to part of that company's development.
Unique has grown from 65 to 90 employees over the last 12-18 months. "Our goal to attain controlled, steady growth and continue our diversification efforts within automotive," King added. "We're continuing to look for hires and could grow more but it's difficult to find good, skilled people."