Special-Lite Acquires Universal

January 25, 2012

Special-Lite Inc. has acquired Universal Pultrusions LLC, a manufacturer of pultruded fiberglass reinforced plastic doors, frames, thresholds and related accessories for commercial entrance applications. The purchase includes Universal's manufacturing facility located in Marshall, Ark.

Based in Decatur, Mich., Special-Lite manufactures entrance systems consisting of flush, monumental, woodgrain doors, colonial doors, panels and framing for installations in educational, commercial, institutional, industrial and municipal applications.  Founded in 1971, it has been using a fiberglass reinforced polyester material for door skins since the 1980s.

Doors manufactured by Universal are said to be the only ones on the market produced using the pultrusion process, whereby glass fiber reinforcements are saturated with resin and pulled through a heated die, completely encapsulating a foam core to create a seamless door panel. After cutting the door to length, putruded top and bottom rails are bonded to the door to create a sealed assembly. The result is an all-fiberglass door, along with pultruded frame, threshold, vision lite kits and louvers, well suited to locations involving corrosive atmospheres, it is noted.

“This acquisition will allow us to provide an all-fiberglass solution for applications where the operating environment or maintenance practices favor this type of product,” says Henry Upjohn, Special-Lite CEO. “We have had a relationship with Universal Pultrusions for some years now, purchasing their FRP framing, and have come to respect the quality of their products, the abilities of their management, and the compatibility of our two cultures. We are excited about the possibilities for future growth with this acquisition.”

Universal Pultrusions will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Special-Lite. The prior management team will remain in place, and all manufacturing will remain in Marshall.