HAYWARD, CALIF. — Injex Industries Inc. is hitting targets in production of plastic interior parts for new Chevrolet Geo Prizm and Toyota Corolla compact models now reaching dealerships.
``We are already at 75 percent and, within 21/2 weeks, will reach [the customer's goal ] of 30-35 [working] days to go from zero production to full production'' of 850 cars daily, President F. Pete Petri said in a Sept. 18 interview at his Hayward office. ``This is a record-setting ramp-up for Toyota.''
In 1992, the plant's last model change took 79 working days.
The current changeover, from Aug. 20 to no later than Oct. 10, involves 54 new injection molding tools, some new compounds of the polypropylene family and several ABS parts, Petri said. Detroit-area shops supply 95 percent of Injex tools.
Injex makes large parts, molding and assembling interior door panels and making a dozen lower-instrument-panel parts. Small precision items include door handles and window regulators.
Injex began planning the changes in late 1996 and added molders and machines: two 2,250-ton North American Tool Co. injection molding presses and eight Van Dorns with clamping forces of 85-500 tons.
``We started bringing the large ones in by January or February, and we had all installed by June,'' Petri said. Now, the 78,000-square-foot plant has 27 presses, including two 500-ton machines with Cinpres gas-assisted systems to mold passenger assist grips and cup holders. Robots are attached to 10 machines.
Injex uses two large vacuum forming machines for door panels. ``We cover them with vinyl and foam on a substrate ABS to get a soft feel,'' Petri said.
A central distribution system feeds high-volume resins such as PP filled with talc or other compounds.
Offices occupy another 10,000 square feet, including a new engineering wing, and Injex has rented 5,000 square feet offsite for temporary raw materials storage.
About 85 percent of Injex production goes to the Fremont, Calif., facility of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., and the balance to the Cambridge, Ontario, plant of Toyota Canada. Nummi is a joint venture of Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp.
Injex is a second-tier door supplier to Nummi, working through GM Delphi engineering in Troy, Mich., and GM Delphi instrument panel group in Vandalia, Ohio.
On the basis of the customer's electronic signals, Injex assembles the doors in sequence and ships them along with glove boxes, center consoles and knee bolsters in sequence by color, Petri said.
``Once every 90 minutes, we have 90 car sets, and our truck delivers them'' 14 miles to Nummi, stopping each way at a state truck-weighing station, he said.
Also, Injex works directly with Toyota in supplying components for Tacoma trucks and other plastic parts for the Prizm and Corolla.
Injex was founded in 1984, employs 300 and turns over inventories about 30 times annually with a maximum of one day of finished goods or in-process inventories on hand.
Injex recorded sales of $33 million for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30. Petri forecasts fiscal 1997 sales of $40 million, of which injected molded parts account for $26 million.
To handle growth, Injex is adding 30 permanent employees, ``but we need an additional 20-25 [temporary workers] to overcome inefficiencies in the next couple months,'' Petri said.
``When everything settles down, we think we will have room for additional business,'' he said.