Published in Breaking News

Blue Star Automation acquires Impres Engineering Services

BY Sunday, April 03, 2016 11:38pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Blue Star Automation LLC closed its first deal earlier this week with the acquisition of Impres Engineering Services LLC, a Holland-based machining and engineering firm.

Grand Rapids-based Blue Star Automation, which was formed in late March by Blue Star Family Holdings LLC, aims to use the acquisition of Impres as a platform company to grow its business, said Andrew Samrick. 

Samrick serves as president of Blue Star Automation and owner of Blue Star Family Holdings, a holding company for his corporate investments.

Blue Star Automation sought to acquire Impres Engineering to capitalize on trends in lightweight composite components and automation across a number of industries, Samrick said.

The buyer plans to focus on manufacturing compression tooling, which is used in the formation of carbon fiber and other lightweight composite material. The company will also make automated fixtures that support tooling for those materials.

“We want to expand in the compression tooling side of the business, but also bringing in people experienced in the engineering side to design automated fixtures and reduce the cost of getting the new tooling and systems online,” Samrick told MiBiz. “We have the ability to be a one-stop shop.”

In the short term, Blue Star also plans to serve as an overflow for compression tooling and other services for West Michigan tool and die manufacturers, many of which are running at full capacity.

“By having a very tightly focused market on what most folks here don’t do, we can be a spillover safety net so that they can be able to subcontract out work,” Samrick said. “That’s going to be very strong for us.”

Blue Star also plans to leverage its experience in rapid prototyping to court additional customers, he added.

Impres will be rebranded as Blue Star Automation as a result of the acquisition, Samrick said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Following the acquisition, Blue Star will focus on the integration process for about a year before pursuing further deals, Samrick said. 

Blue Star’s short-term growth plans hinge on expanding its workforce with highly-skilled workers before ramping up its operations in 2017, Samrick said. The company currently employs 16 workers and aims to hire an additional 10 to 15 people in the coming months.

“Those who have the best talent (are) going to win in this industry,” he said. “We have the equipment and financial capabilities to make more investments as needed. … Our primary focus right now is to ramp up our people and be in a place where we can come out swinging hard for 2017 to make a significant jump in revenue.”

Even so, Samrick expects the company’s revenues to double in 2016, reaching $4 million, based on an influx of new customers.

Impres founder Ross Hoek decided to sell the business he started 21 years ago as a way to take some chips off the table and step into an advisement role that would let him focus on areas of the business he was passionate about, Samrick said.

“He can see the product and I can see how to build the business and the culture around it to be able to help us move into that product,” Samrick said. “We can do more together than each of us could do on our own.”

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