Hose and tubing maker Plastiflex Co. Inc. is opening a maquiladora, AP Services, in Tijuana, Mexico, and closing its Santa Ana, Calif., plant, eliminating 35 jobs and some temporary positions there, said President Gerald Green.
``Changing market conditions caused us to rethink our manufacturing strategy in North America,'' Green said by telephone while doing business in South Africa, where Plastiflex has a plant, in Delmenville.
AP Services is outfitting a 65,000-square-foot plant with the Santa Ana extrusion lines, and will hire about 70 workers. Robert Sakiyama, Santa Ana's general manager, will run the maquiladora with the support of other Santa Ana staff. The new operation is called AP Services because another firm had registered the Plastiflex name in Mexico. The Tijuana site will begin production by the end of February.
Employees were notified in November of the Santa Ana shutdown, which should be complete in mid-February, Green said. Plastiflex filed notice of the Santa Ana closing Jan. 2 with the California Economic Development Department. Plastiflex will use the Santa Ana facility as an interim staging site for Tijuana work until the lease expires in August. The firm will find another domestic location to position work for duty-free assembly and manufacturing activities in the Tijuana plant.
Plastiflex Co. is a division of holding company Afinia Plastics Group of Gent, Belgium. Other extrusion-related North American operations are in Statesville, N.C., and in Orangeville, Ontario - which also injection molds hose fittings, mostly of rigid PVC. In 2005, those sites, along with Santa Ana, employed 270 and had sales of $48 million. Green, who oversees North American operations from Statesville, said sales and employment rose last year but would not disclose figures.
Plastiflex also runs operations in Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, England, Australia and Hong Kong making hoses for various applications, using polyethylene and ethylene vinyl acetate and PVC.