Puget Plastics Corp. is establishing an injection molding facility in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The firm also is adapting after the recent relocation of its Newark, Calif., plant, and is making use of a new product introduction center at its Tualatin, Ore., headquarters.
The changes largely are the result of Puget's relationship with Solectron Corp., a Milpitas, Calif., contract manufacturer that operates 18 plants worldwide serving the electronics industry.
``For larger case parts, you have to be close to the customer,'' Dave Leone said in a recent telephone interview. He became Puget's director of sales and marketing in January,
Puget and Solectron began discussions last year about the need for molding capabilities in Guadalajara to supply parts for Solectron assembly operations.
Now, Puget is modifying a 37,000-square-foot building and, by June, plans to begin ramping up six of an eventual 14 Toshiba injection molding machines with clamping forces of 100-950 tons. Puget will start with four employees at the Guadalajara plant reporting to Gilberto Salizar, manufacturing manager. The company expects to have 40 workers there this summer and 60 at capacity.
In April 1997, Puget began operating four injection molding presses in a portion of a Solectron plant in Newark making large polycarbonate parts. Solectron's high-velocity systems division uses the parts in assembling computers and printers for original equipment manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard Co.
Subsequently, a joint development between Puget and Solectron constructed a 25,000-square-foot building nearby. In February, Puget relocated six presses to the new building and added two more units. Clamping forces for the mix of Mitsubishi and Toshiba presses are 250-610 tons.
The site employs 45 and is expected to grow to 100 at capacity. Puget anticipates installing another seven Toshiba presses by year's end.
In Oregon, Puget has created engineering and pre-production capability to qualify molds, experiment with materials and develop processes for new parts.
``Once the customer approves the parts and processes, we move the job to one of our high-volume manufacturing facilities,'' Leone said.
Created in recent months, the new product development center employs 30 and operates 10 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 60-950 tons. Previously, the work with incoming molds was done throughout the plant. In addition to mold preparations, the center will handle some low-volume runs.
The center occupies about 10 percent of the 125,500-square-foot Tualatin plant. The volume production side operates 42 other presses with clamping forces of 60-950 tons. Also, the site has three lines for secondary operations and light mechanical assembly.
During 1997, Puget experienced transitions in product mix, moving some products to Newark and making other changes. Sales decreased to $48 million from the 1996 figure of $52 million. Puget's total employment is 370.
Arctic Slope Regional Corp. of Barrow, Alaska, has held Puget Plastics as a wholly owned subsidiary since acquiring it from the George Lund family in January 1995. ASRC represents the business interests of the Inupiat people of Alaska's north slope. The native corporation can qualify as a minority-owned business, and operations may receive bidding preference in competing for government contracts.