Syntec Inc., the exclusive seat provider to Thomas Built Buses, is now formally known as Syntec Seating Solutions LLC following a joint acquisition by M2K Seating Solutions LLC and TK Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Takata.
“We intend to be a major seat supplier to entire industry,” commented new owner Ron Lampartner on the deal, which closed on March 6. “Whatever any OEM might possibly want in seating, we are going to be in a position to give it to them.”
In addition to inheriting Syntec’s High Point, N.C., plant located near Thomas, the new company will also produce school bus seating systems at an existing facility in Lithonia, Ga., operated by business partner Woodbridge Group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of molded automotive urethane foam products. And Lampartner said other manufacturing facilities are being sought to meet anticipated increased production requirements as a result of M2K seats passing all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards required of school bus seating systems “by a substantial margin.”
Going beyond offering seats of variable widths and fabrics of the three-point lap/shoulder restraint, two-point lap belt or regular bench seat varieties, Syntec also has plans to offer additional options and accessories. M2K is manufacturing spill-proof buckles, buckles illuminated in a light red glow to help children see better in dark conditions when fastening or unfastening restraints and, as demonstrated at the NAPT Trade Show last fall, an electronic-release seat belt buckle system for drivers or emergency personnel to quickly evacuate passengers.
Lampartner, who has been in the school bus industry since 1961, started Transpec in 1973 and sold the business to SMI in 2007. He used the money to fund the M2K venture. Shortly before purchasing about a quarter of Syntec from previous owner Tachi-S late last year, Lampartner also partnered with Takata, one of the largest global manufacturers of seat belts, which he said will result in competitive pricing of M2K products for school districts interested in the technology but reeling from budget cuts. In addition to Takata and Woodbridge, M2K is also aligned with seat frame manufacturer BHM Technologies and seat cover manufacturer Irvin Automotive.