MEXICALI, MEXICO — Allegiance Corp. is evaluating an expansion of its Mexican manufacturing operations, according to Julio Cueva, plant manager in Mexicali.
The McGaw Park, Ill.-based provider of medical-surgical products and services could decide within a couple months on enlarging either its Mexicali or Chihuahua sites.
"Right now, our plant in Mexicali is completely full," Cueva said, referring to the maquiladora company Productos Urologos de Mexico SA de CV.
The unit employs 2,700, occupies 328,000 square feet and injection molds, extrudes and thermoforms plastics. Other processes in Mexicali include manual assembly, pneumatic pressing and ultrasonic welding.
"We have 3,000 different [product] codes monthly," Cueva said.
"We do all tubing and circuits from the ventilator to the patient," senior engineer Eduardo Salcedo said during a plant tour arranged by representatives of the Naftasho trade show, held Feb. 8-9 in Mexicali.
The plant supplies 80 percent of the parts used in its products, and the company wants to reduce outside sourcing, Salcedo said.
The site has 13 Husky, Milacron, Toyo and Netstal presses making Airlife oxygen respiratory-therapy masks, espirometer components, Medi-vac suction-tubing connectors and custom-heated circuits, said molding engineer Carlos Galaviz.
Last year, Allegiance moved four of the larger machines to Mexicali from sister company Automatic Liquid Packaging Inc. of Woodstock, Ill. A relocated water-product line has labor-intensive requirements for packaging and assembly.
"We have room for eight more machines," Galaviz said.
Three new extruders were added last year, said Carlos Aguirre, cell leader for extrusion. The site's 23 Davis-Standard extruders make smooth PVC tubing and corrugated ethylene vinyl acetate tubing.
"We process about 24 million pounds of PVC in a year," Aguirre said.
The corrugated tubing is made in blue or clear forms in various lengths and internal diameters for adult, pediatric and infant applications. The site ships tubing to other plants as Allegiance's only in-house tubing maker.
Another cell thermoforms medical-operating-room preparation trays, loads in scrub brushes, clean solutions and sponges, and automatically seals each package.
Injection molding and extrusion areas operate around the clock, while the assembly area has two shifts.
A day-care system is among the plant's numerous employee benefits. Women account for about 80 percent of the work force.
Allegiance began Mexicali operations in 1983 and started developing the current site in 1988. The firm entered Chihuahua earlier and now has five plants there employing about 6,000.
Cardinal Health Inc. of Dublin, Ohio, acquired Allegiance in February 1999 and Automatic Liquid Packaging eight months later.
Allegiance operates as the holding firm's medical-surgical products and services segment. The segment accounted for 19 percent of Cardinal's sales of almost $25.3 billion for the year ended June 30.