Production began June 15 at a 90,000-square-foot computer keyboard manufacturing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. Maxi Switch Inc. of Tucson, Ariz., is a supplier of computer keyboards to major computer makers. The Hermosillo plant is the company's third and largest manufacturing plant in Mexico.
Maxi Switch uses several custom molders in the southwestern United States to supply its plastics components. Mark A. Griffin, division director of input devices, said production demands for the company's suppliers will increase and it means additional work for its custom molders.
The expansion is the result of increased demand for about 90,000 computer products per month, including keyboards, game cartridges and CD-ROM packages, according to the company. Maxi Switch's Entertain-ment and Contract Assembly Manufacturing group makes about 500,000 game cartridges and CD-ROM packages per month for its customers, including Nintendo of America Inc. of Redmond, Wash., and Acclaim Entertainment of Glen Cove, N.Y.
Maxi Switch bought and refurbished a facility in Hermosillo, a city of 1.5 million, located in Mexico's maquiladora corridor.
Availability of trained labor and management, along with several universities in the area, made Hermosillo attractive to Maxi. The firm expects to employ about 500 by year's end. The firm will hire an additional 40 in program management and engineering.
The plant will have eight to 10 assembly lines and use recently acquired keyboard technology. Last November, Maxi Switch bought Lexmark International's patented Buckling Spring technology, which is used in keyboards for durability and a responsive sound to the typist's touch.
The company will also implement two new printing processes that employ laser marking and a thermal ink-transfer technique known as sublimation. This enables Maxi to use a greater variety of plastics for its keys.