DOUBLING UP

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A Plastic Graphics employee monitors the application of magnetic strips to various kinds of plastic cards the Los Angeles company manufactures. Facing growing demand for the cards, which are used for hotel keys, telephone calls and credit cards, Plastic Graphics was able to double its production capacity with the help of California Manufacturing Technology Center. Plastic Graphics was having trouble with bottlenecks during the lamination process. For $8,000, the tech center assessed the situation with a time-in-motion study; and for $20,000 worth of new plates and one new employee, Plastic Graphics was able to fix the problem. Nonprofit CMTC, based in Hawthorne, Calif., helps small an d midsized manufacturers become more competitive. Plastic Graphics, which had an output of 3.5 million cards weekly, now is capable of producing 7 million cards a week. The company made $30 million in sales last year. It employs 13 5 at each of its plants, including at its Los Angeles headquarters and a site in Denver.