Enplas (U.S.A.) Inc. of Marietta, Ga., is boosting in-house tool building and design capabilities for its close-tolerance injection molding of small plastic gears and components. "We just made the second tool," operations director James Outlaw said in a telephone interview.
The operation is recruiting four to six more engineers and plans to expand to accommodate the tool work. But for now, Outlaw said, Enplas continues to obtain most tools from the technical center of parent Enplas Corp. in Kawaguchi, Japan.
The subsidiary was established in 1980 in Smyrna, Ga., to supply Japan-based electronics and automotive original equipment manufacturers in the United States. The operations relocated in 1994 to Marietta and now occupy 150,000 square feet in three facilities.
Enplas (U.S.A.) had 1999 sales approaching $30 million, up from $27.6 million in the previous year. Automotive work for firms such as Toyota, Honda and Asmo represents about 60 percent of that figure. Computer printer components for Canon, Lexmark and others account for about 30 percent.
The parent company trades on the Nikkei exchange and reported profit of 1.68 billion yen ($14.1 million) on sales of 30.8 billion yen ($258.7 million) for its 1999 fiscal year. In addition to plastics, the company supplies makers of optical electronics, semiconductors and liquid-crystal displays.
The Georgia operation also installed I-Deas computer-aided-design modeling software from Structural Dynamics Research Corp. last fall. In the past year, it has boosted employment to 100 with the addition of 10 professional and technical workers.
Enplas (U.S.A.) operates 40 electric and eight hydraulic presses of 25-180 tons from Fanuc, JSW and Sumitomo, mostly processing engineered resins. A lights-out portion of the operation is home for eight of the presses and may get two more by July, Outlaw said.
About 200 government, business and education representatives attended April 25 activities in Marietta observing the firm's 20th anniversary in the country.
Makoto Yokota, Enplas Corp. founder and chairman, led a delegation from Japan. His son, Daisuke Yokota, was named president of Enplas (U.S.A.) April 1 after two years as chief operating officer of the subsidiary.
Outlaw said efforts are under way at Enplas (U.S.A.) to add domestic customers and adopt U.S.-oriented procedures while retaining relevant Japanese cultural practices.