PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT
Posted September 19, 2011
RIVERSIDE, CALIF. (Sept. 19, 2:45 p.m. ET) — Custom injection molder AMA Plastics Inc. has boosted efficiency and capabilities with new quarters — a 150,000-square-foot building in Riverside, with wide aisles, automated systems and a 6,000-square-foot area being certified as a clean room.
The 40-year-old company moved, with incentives, in March from its leased, 90,000-square-foot home of 16 years in Corona, Calif., after an 18-month search for available space in Corona, Norco and Riverside and as far away as Nevada and Mexico, CEO Mark Atchison said during a plant visit.
AMA paid $7.1 million for the Riverside plant and 6.6 acres in Hunter Industrial Park, and also has invested about $3 million in infrastructure and improvements, including the expandable 6,000-square-foot area approaching certification as a Class 100,000 clean room for medical work. 16 Toyos operate in that space, which can accommodate 20 presses. At Corona, AMA had a 1,500-square-foot white room.
New equipment at the plant includes a Dell R710 computer system; Novatec vacuum material conveying equipment; a Thermal Care water-cooling tower; Advantage, AEC and Sterlco chillers; and several overhead cranes.
AMA relocated injection molding presses, tooling equipment, four resin silos and quality-control equipment. The firm operates 88 presses in total, with clamping forces of 35-720 tons. The Toyo brand is on 79, Toshiba on seven large-tonnage presses and 2 Arburg’s on a two-shot 240- ton multibarrel unit acquired in early 2010. “We could go to about 100 presses in our footprint,” Atchison said. The firm has a Yushin robot on almost every press. Most are hybrid servo-pneumatic units or pneumatic sprue pickers, but 35 percent have full-servo take-out capability. AMA intends to buy only full-servo robots in the future, he said. In addition to the clean room, AMA uses about 80,000 square feet of its new plant for molding, 50,000 for warehousing, 8,000 for tool maintenance, repair and engineering changes and 6,000 for offices.
AMA bought the building from Atlanta-based Oakmont Industrial Group, which in 2008 constructed it as a high-ceiling distribution-type warehouse. AMA completed purchase arrangements in September. As constructed, the building had 32 loading dock doors. AMA kept 12 doors, replaced the remainder with windows and used the interior space for production offices, an employee lunchroom and quality control functions using three Mitutoyo coordinate measuring machines — a programmable computer-numerical-control Bright and two manual 321s — and SmartScope FDV and MVP devices. Bill Carteaux, CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington, called the setup “modern, state-of-the-art and well-conceived.” “I particularly noticed how well-designed the clean room is and how they had the foresight to leave room for future clean room expansion,” he said. AMA employs about 150 in permanent positions — average tenure 13 years — and another 150 people in temporary positions. The company had sales of about $50 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010, and projects almost the same for its current fiscal year.
With 24/7 full-service operations, AMA primarily makes consumer products of which one-half have cosmetic finishes; industrial hardware such as pump housings and filters; and noninvasive medical and pharmaceutical components including disposables. Other products include eyewear, hydration packs and audio and automotive speaker components. The move required multiple part recertifications.
East Coast or Midwest customers account for about 12 percent of the business, said AMA President Cheryl Buhler, and jobs being moved to the U.S. from Asia represent at least another 10 percent.