SAN DIEGO — AGAmex SA de CV nearly doubled its space and overcame operating inefficiencies by consolidating its facilities in Tijuana, Mexico.
The maquiladora occupies a leased, 55,000-square-foot facility with high ceilings — after moving about five miles from three buildings with a total of 30,000 square feet and low ceilings. The new site is closer to the nearest border crossing.
``We occupied the building Dec. 15, began operations Jan. 5 and expect to complete ramping up by Feb. 15,'' Barry Berke said in an interview at his office.
Berke is vice president of finance and administration for parent firm AGA Manufacturing Inc. in San Diego. Injection molding and assembly operations evenly divide the bulk of sales, which jumped about 45 percent last year over 1996.
AGAmex lacks a mold shop but receives perhaps 5-10 percent of its sales from having molds made in Taiwan. Customers use about half of the molds on presses elsewhere.
AGAmex employs about 250 and operates 15 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 15-300 tons. Two 150-ton Netstals were added in December, and two 150-ton Van Dorns in August. Also, AGAmex has five Toshibas, two Boys, two TMCs and two Arburgs.
``We may add four or five machines this year,'' Berke said.
Customers include the Sharper Image of San Francisco for two versions of the voice modulation analyzer Truth.Seeker Sculpture and four other avant-garde projects. The company also molds and assembles a three-part, linear low density polyethylene valve for New West Products Inc. of Redwood City, Calif.
In addition, AGAmex handles overflow molding for Mattel Inc.'s Mabamex SA maquiladora in Tijuana and an ABS speaker stand and base for the JBL Professional Division of Harman International Corp. of Northridge, Calif.
AGA Manufacturing was formed in 1987 and established the maquiladora in 1991.