Munekata America Inc. is shipping remaining stock from its soon-to-close Dalton, Ga., facility and arranging to relocate the plant's Ube and Toshiba injection molding machines.
``Most of the customers we served from Georgia have moved to Mexico,'' President Minoru Yasuda said in a telephone interview. ``Munekata America will continue to exist to keep administration and the sales function in the U.S. market.''
Custom injection molder Munekata made plastic housings for television sets and some computers. Major customer Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America Inc. opted in March to concentrate on projection TV sets, which it produces in Mexicali, Mexico. Mitsubishi discontinued its direct-view TV business and closed a Braselton, Ga., facility that Munekata had supplied.
Munekata attempted to diversify into computer casings and molded-plastic car parts, but the volumes were insufficient to sustain the Dalton operation.
Yasuda said Munekata America anticipates relocating the molding machines, which are mostly leased, and related equipment to sister operations such as Munekata Mexicana SA de CV in Tijuana, Mexico. The subsidiary employs about 300, operates 32 molding machines and provides secondary services such as painting and assembly. The Tijuana site opened in late 1995 with 12 presses.
Munekata America established the Dalton facility in 1989 on 40 acres, initially constructing a 200,000-square-foot building that was positioned for enlargement if needed. Now, Munekata will seek to sell the building and land, Yasuda said.
At its peak, the Dalton plant employed about 260. The operation was scaled back to 150 this year, and less than a couple dozen people remain to close out the site by June 30. The Munekata family controls parent companies Munekata Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, and Tohoku Munekata Co. of Fukushima, Japan.