France’s PLC Holding announced in late April that it acquired Wisconsin Oven Corp., a manufacturer of industrial ovens for the aerospace, automotive, composite and finishing industries. Dave Strand, president and CEO of Wisconsin Oven, answered a few questions about the acquisition.

Dave Strand, Wisconsin Oven president and CEO

France’s PLC Holding announced in late April that it acquired Wisconsin Oven Corp., a manufacturer of industrial ovens for the aerospace, automotive, composite and finishing industries. PLC Holding – now comprised of Elmetherm, Elino, Wistra, Wisconsin Oven and Mecarom Dotcom – provides engineering and manufacturing for material-handling systems, automation systems, and heat-treating ovens and furnaces for several industries.

Wisconsin Oven is located in East Troy, Wis., southwest of Milwaukee and northwest of Chicago. The company’s standard and custom industrial ovens are used for a variety of applications, including heat treating, finishing, drying and curing.

Dave Strand, president and CEO of Wisconsin Oven, took some time to answer a few questions about the acquisition. Strand, who has been with the company for 26 years, is also the vice president of PLC North and South America. He talked about improving Wisconsin Oven’s global positioning, the future of the company and the group, and the current state of the industry.  

What does this acquisition mean for Wisconsin Oven?
For us, it’s a great opportunity because we (Wisconsin Oven and PLC Holding) are both serving a lot of the same customers in the industry. A lot of their customers are our customers and vice versa, so we immediately have a chance to knock on doors and be introduced to existing customers. We will be able to do the same for them, especially regarding customers with higher-temperature needs. It improves our global positioning because the group has manufacturing facilities and offices in China, France, Germany, India and Romania. It also expands our market reach, which is important for future growth.

Will Wisconsin Oven change the way it does business?
Nothing is changing at all. The thing that was most attractive about this acquisition was the fact that PLC Group was a strategic buyer. They were not interested in changing anything about our business. We are going forward with the model we’ve used for nearly 40 years.  

How good a fit is Wisconsin Oven with PLC Holding?
This was a win-win for both sides. For example, Elmetherm specializes in automation, so they can complement us when we sell a system that requires a lot of automation. They can provide the engineering and/or the components for the ovens we build. In the past, we may have used a subcontractor do the automation work. Now we can utilize the talents of our sister company. And Elmetherm can use our expertise in building ovens/furnaces for the automation and components they provide. Overall, the group will have the resources and capabilities to serve all our customers’ needs regardless of temperature requirements.  

How important is it for a company like Wisconsin Oven to have a global presence?
I think it’s critical. Most of our competition has a global presence today. This acquisition will certainly help our position because PLC Holding is worldwide.  

What does the future hold for Wisconsin Oven and PLC Holding?
This is a great opportunity for Elino in the U.S. We’re currently establishing a facility in East Troy for them that will house engineering, sales and service support. Elino already has a number of orders in the U.S., and they will be able to build on that with our help. As we grow, we will look at expanding that facility.

For Wisconsin Oven, we will now be able to do some of the required manufacturing for Elino. More labor equals more employment, and we expect to see job creation over the next year.  

In your opinion, what is the current state of the industrial heating industry?
I think the industry overall is very strong. We service a lot of different applications in different industries, and we see continued growth and a very active climate right now. I’m very excited about where things have gone so far this year, and I see a pretty good second half of 2012.