ITW Buying Thermal Equipment Supplier

Despatch Industries brings access to high-tech markets like solar, composites

Manufacturing conglomerate Illinois Tool Works Inc. is buying a Despatch Industries, a developer of thermal processing equipment for solar devices, advanced materials processing, and other specialty technology markets.

ITW did not describe the details of the transaction.

Despatch Industries designs and builds ovens and furnaces for special thermal processes, like solar-cell firing and carbon fiber processing, as well as batch heat treatment. The Minnesota company’s customers are high-tech operations like photovoltaic cell manufacturers, advanced material manufacturers and fabricators, and electronic component producers.

Despatch’s FY 2011 revenues will surpass $200 million, ITW forecast.

"We are excited about this acquisition as the company's core thermal technology aligns well with certain of our other existing electronics equipment businesses," stated ITW exec. vice president Steve Martindale. "As a leader in thermal processing, Despatch provides us with immediate access to attractive and high-growth industries such as solar and carbon fiber as well as the opportunity to extend sales of certain of our existing products into these new markets."

ITW is a holding company for numerous industrial manufacturers and suppliers, in markets that include welding, automotive OEM, industrial packaging, food equipment, construction, polymers and fluids, testing and measuring, electronics, and automotive aftermarkets.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Despatch employees and customers as it will allow us to accelerate our growth and innovation under the global umbrella and strength of ITW," stated CEO Patrick Peyton. "Despatch's strong market presence and proven technology, coupled with ITW's global breadth and foundational strength, will facilitate a strong expansion of technology advancements and next-generation tools."

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