Trend Technologies Inc. will close its flagship injection molding facility and move equipment to another local site, giving more teeth to its plan to integrate plastics and metal processing under one roof.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company, a major producer of high-end electronics and telecommunications equipment, will immediately begin its equipment shuttle. About 30 injection presses, with clamping forces between 35-1,650 tons, will shift from the plant in northern San Jose to an existing metal-fabricating facility in the south end of the city.
The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, said Mark Brosius, Trend vice president of development and technology. Trend's corporate offices eventually will move from the molding site to an undetermined area site.
The company's tooling and product-development centers will remain in the north San Jose site, leased to Trend by former majority owner Gino Cavallini. The plant, open since 1973, has been Trend's central hub for the past three decades.
But the move, coupled with a recently announced shuttering of Trend's San Diego plant, puts in place a newer strategy to become a full-service assembler of complete electronics-based systems.
Products like large computer workstations, servers and routers combine a metal box with a plastic skin. Trend is integrating assembly of the two on one line, said Brad Frank, Trend vice president of strategic business.
``We can put more focus on complete programs,'' Frank said in an Aug. 16 telephone interview. ``Instead of having two separate companies for plastics and metal, this gives us much greater control. Together, we've seen economic, sales and overhead benefits.''
With the move, Trend will have the only fully integrated electronics enclosure facility in northern California and the largest one on the West Coast, Brosius said. Only three Trend plants out of 16 will not integrate metal and plastic work.
Other producers, including Singapore-based contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd., are attempting to merge the manufacture of plastic and metal parts. Those assemblers have captured a larger percentage of business from smaller, custom molders in the past several years.
The move also helps Trend save money in a year that many of its computer-networking and telecommunications customers have suffered losses. Trend expects sales to decline by about 10 percent this year but still reach the $600 million level worldwide, Frank said.
Trend has cut employment by about 20 percent in 2001, with about 3,300 employees remaining at its 16 facilities after the moves, Brosius said. In July, the company announced it would close its San Diego plant and move molding equipment to another integrated facility in Chino, Calif.
``It certainly behooves us during some downtime to find creative ways to do things,'' Brosius said. ``We're laying seeds for success during the rebound.''
No immediate layoffs are planned due to the move, but many of about 400 employees in north San Jose will be affected, he said. The firm still must evaluate its staffing needs, Frank said.
Trend will spend $2 million to relocate equipment and set up manufacturing and assembly lines in south San Jose, Brosius said. The 230,000-square-foot fabricating plant will operate close to its capacity after the molding press additions.
About 20 presses from north San Jose will be moved to other Trend facilities or sold. Trend plans to expand the molding operations at plants in Singapore and Guadalajara, Mexico, later this year, Brosius said.
Trend also is still evaluating opportunities to open a molding plant in China, an idea under serious consideration for the past year, Frank said.