Defining the Laws of Attraction with Industrial Magnetics
Industrial Magnetics expands its product offerings while remaining the industry leader in speed-to-market.
In its ongoing pursuit to remain a premier manufacturer of magnetic assemblies and devices, Industrial Magnetics Inc. is focused on meaningful acquisitions to boost its product divisions and expand its footprint. “2020 is the start of a new decade and we are looking for a fifth acquisition, ideally something we can fold into our facility,” President Dennis O’Leary says. “We have plenty of space to grow and bringing in a company that makes sense to us, adds jobs and stability to the workforce and the community.”
Industrial Magnetics designs, engineers and manufactures both permanent magnets and electromagnets for lifting, holding, fixturing, conveying and separation. The company serves more than 100 markets from its 38,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Boyne City, Mich. Although the company supports a wide range of industries, each with different needs, Industrial Magnetics’ goal is to produce quality-driven products that make lives better.
In the 1990s, Industrial Magnetics transitioned from being a company driven by the market to a marketing and solutions-based company. “We look for market spaces and create products where we think opportunities exist to increase the efficiency or quality of the end-product, be it at the plant level or elsewhere in the usage stream,” O’Leary explains. “Our goal is to make things better.”
Today, Industrial Magnetics specializes in custom fabricating. Its three core divisions include Automation, Mag-Mate® and Tramp Metal. The Automation group designs and manufactures innovative industrial magnetic solutions. Its Mag-Mate® group manufactures hundreds of products for a variety of applications, such as lifting, holding, welding, fixturing, clamping and hammering. The Tramp Metal group designs and manufactures industrial magnetic separation solutions that protect equipment and purify product by removing metal contaminants.
Broadening its Offerings
Industrial Magnetics made two significant acquisitions within the past three years to boost its product divisions. In 2017, the company acquired Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Javelin Manufacturing, which specializes in eddy current separators and engineered systems found in the scrap, recycling, waste, mining and related industries.
“We played in the fringe of municipal, scrap, refuse and related waste streams for a long time and the acquisition opened the door to new customers in waste management and public services, as well as multinational scrap, waste and refuse tech companies,” O’Leary notes. “The acquisition of Javelin marked our next step in expanding our metal separation offerings.”
Industrial Magnetics relocated Javelin’s manufacturing operations from its Fort Wayne facility to Boyne City and turned the Indiana into a demonstration, testing and tolling facility. Although Javelin was a customer of Industrial Magnetics prior to the acquisition, there was a learning curve after the acquisition on how to manufacture the eddy current separators. “It’s more intricate and unique, and poses a much larger challenge from a safety perspective,” O’Leary explains. “It took six to nine months of testing, modeling and trial and error to learn how to efficiently manufacture the equipment.”
Two years later, Industrial Magnetics acquired Clamp Manufacturing Co. Based in South El Monte, Calif., Clamp Manufacturing was a family-owned business known for its KANT-TWIST® Clamp and NO-MAR® Hammer product lines that are used in thousands of metalworking, welding, assembly and general manufacturing applications.
“Clamp Manufacturing was in its second generation and there wasn’t a clear exit strategy,” O’Leary says. “They had a long history of selling through distributors with a core customer base, and that model fits well into our go-to-market strategy for our Mag-Mate® product lineup. After many discussions, we moved the company here to Boyne City and it’s been a great acquisition and it quickly merged neatly into what we do. We added meaningful SKUs and after 10 months it has been a solid acquisition that increased our top line and throughput.”
Industrial Magnetics will continue to look for more acquisitions this year and O’Leary expects to fold at least two companies into the company’s operations by the end of the year. “If it makes sense in the markets we serve and the framework in which we go about bringing product to market, we will look at many companies as possible acquisition targets,” he explains. “It doesn’t have to be magnets, but it has to be meaningful for us.”
The company’s No. 1 competitive advantage is its speed-to-market. “Our ability to quote, design, build and deliver a unique solution is the industry-best,” O’Leary says. “We also began offering a menu of Opti™ Series options for customers based upon their needs, developing six strong circuits with slightly different characteristics.”
Industrial Magnetics hopes to grow its foodservice presence, which accounts for about 25 percent of its business, through its new variety of magnet options. “I don’t think any company promoting a broader, stronger and better array of magnet options will lose in the end,” O’Leary says. “It’s our job to make sure people have the best magnet for their application.”