Big Shoulders Capital positions DRS Industrial to ‘grow and thrive’

Some troubled plastics companies are worth saving. That was the conclusion of the principals of Big Shoulders Capital (Northbrook, IL) after evaluating DRS Industries Inc., leading them to purchase the assets of the Holland, OH–based custom mold making and injection molding company. The transaction was completed on Dec. 30, 2019, and the newly formed company was renamed DRS Industrial LLC to reflect the new ownership, which will retain the company’s 35 employees.

DRS Industrial shop floor
DRS Industrial is equipped with more than a dozen machining centers and nine presses ranging from 95 to 730 tons. Image courtesy DRS Industrial.

Big Shoulders Capital provides capital for underperforming industrial operating companies, using a variety of structures including creative asset-based financing and equity investments.

Big Shoulders saw an opportunity to invest in a manufacturing business after DRS Industries went into receivership, citing a loyal, skilled workforce and strong leadership as a deciding factor. “Our team looked at the business with its unique capabilities and decided this was a company we could help grow and thrive,” commented Alex Mazer, Vice President of Big Shoulders. “We also see the opportunities for some synergies between DRS and our other portfolio companies and will actively look for bolt-on businesses, particularly amid the automotive slowdown.”

DRS has been in business for 35 years, specializing in prototyping and short-run production using all-aluminum molds engineered and built in house. “Aluminum’s thermal conductivity properties provide straighter parts, allowing us to build thicker parts and reduce warpage,” said DRS President Craig Simon. “We have some unique capabilities with more than a dozen machining centers and nine presses ranging from 95 to 730 tons. With a new infusion of capital, we look forward to growing and expanding our capabilities.”

DRS Industrial provides molds and parts for companies such as Ford Motor Co., Honeywell and VitaMix that require difficult-to-manufacture specialty parts, said Big Shoulders. Some of the unique parts DRS has manufactured include custom grilles for the 50th anniversary Mustang and Camaro SS vehicles, and also works with Chrysler and Tesla. Automotive represents approximately 20% of the company’s volume; it has additional expertise in aerospace, consumer products, construction and lighting. DRS creates a diverse range of products including aircraft interiors; parts for autonomous vehicle systems; roofing parts; consumer self-defense devices; self-healing interior parts; headlights; and a variety of other plastic components using many types of resins.

“Because of our expertise in quickly building molds for difficult-to-manufacture products, we also build many molds here and ship them to China for use in creating parts that are then assembled in China,” added Simon.

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