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Employees remain after buyout of River Falls plastics firm

Employees of Interfacial Solutions in River Falls gather next to a newly installed twin screw extruder. This is the type of equipment used to make thermoplastic compounds, including some used by Stratasys, the international firm that’s buying Interfacial.

Call it a friendly transaction. Local thermoplastics producer Interfacial Solutions was bought by 3D printing firm Stratasys, with dual headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., and Rehovot, Israel, Friday, April 4.

Jeff Cernohous, Interfacial’s chairman and founder, said the asset purchase agreement of his company will be followed later by a closing deal.

None of the 40 employees from Interfacial Solutions, 949 Antler Court in Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park, will be laid off.

Interfacial bills itself as a leading provider of “full service, idea-to-production, contract research and development services to the plastics industry.”

Its facility is equipped with the latest polymer testing and melt processing equipment to perform rapid, effective product development tasks for customers. One such customer for the past three years has been Stratasys.

For the foreseeable future Cernohous -- a 1989 River Falls High School graduate who also graduated from UW-River Falls and has a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota -- will continue overseeing day-to-day operations and “providing executive leadership decisions.”

Cernohous said the Interfacial Solutions name will also continue for now.

The deal allows Stratasys to pick up Interfacial’s 8-acre option to build in the corporate park next to Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Company, 2814 Prairie Drive.

Cernohous said there’s a “reasonable chance” Stratasys will expand and build on that site in the years ahead.

He said that Stratasys, with 2,200 employees worldwide, plans to hire 400 more this year and that the River Falls location will eventually tap into that job creation.

Cernohous said customer ties established with Stratasys made it easier to sell his young company -- one that formed in 2003, opened in the corporate park in 2007, then expanded and more than doubled its original plant size to 42,000 square feet in 2010.

“I’ve always told people there are only a handful of companies in the world that I’d consider selling to, and Stratasys is one of them,” Cernohous said. “The company has great people, its growing rapidly and has innovative technology that is changing the world.

“Our business here has the opportunity to make them even greater.”

Stratasys manufactures 3D printing equipment and materials that create physical objects -- heated plastic materials that are shaped and harden as they cool -- from digital data. Its systems range from affordable desktop printers to large, advanced 3D production systems.

The complete story on the Interfacial Solutions buyout is in the April 10 print edition of the River Falls Journal.