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Lansing-based Eckhart Inc. acquires two Northeast Michigan firms

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, August 28, 2016 02:22pm

A private equity-backed company from Lansing has purchased two Algonac, Mich.-based manufacturers. 

Eckhart Inc., a portfolio company of LFM Capital of Nashville, Tenn., acquired Auto Craft Tool & Die Inc. and 3 D Sales Inc. in a deal to add more controls, robotics, and automation-based solutions and distribution capabilities. 

Auto Craft is based in Algonac and operates facilities in Marine City, where it makes material handling systems and specialized tooling for industrial manufacturers. The company manufactures door and instrument panel carriers and automatic guided carts. Its OEM customers include Boeing, Honda, Toyota, Johnson Controls, Carrier, Whirlpool, Nissan, Kawasaki, Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, according to a statement. Meanwhile, the related 3 D Sales business distributes industrial ergonomic and work cell components. 

“My brother Michael and I were looking for a strong business partner that would be a good steward of our family legacy and the families who will depend on the future success of the company going forward,” Auto Craft co-owner David DuVernay said in a statement. “We chose to partner with LFM Capital and the Eckhart team because of their direct knowledge and experience in our business, their operational focus on continuous process improvement best practices, and their overall commitment to our employees, customers, and American manufacturing.”

Eckhart CEO Andy Storm said the deal will position his firm to continue to grow its offerings for industrial customers who are increasingly relying on automation to drive efficiencies in their plants. In particular, he noted the deal allows the collective team “to take on larger systems integration for customers.”

The deal, the terms for which were not disclosed, was the first for Eckhart, a manufacturer of ergonomic assembly line equipment that last year joined the LFM Capital portfolio. The Nashville-based private equity firm focuses on lower middle-market manufacturers and industrial services providers with enterprise values in the $15 million to $75 million range.

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