Kinematic Automation in Mono Vista has reduced one facet of its operation to increase efficiency.
The machine shop where all of its custom parts were produced is closed, the equipment is for sale, and five or six of the company’s 70-some employees have been laid off.
Some other employees job share, working three or four days a week while maintaining full benefits.
“Our business has always been cyclical, with some people job sharing and others on overtime,” said co-owner Ted Meigs, of Twain Harte. “Right now, we have hired extra engineers because we are in the design phase for new equipment, and we need fewer people on the assembly line. Soon, we will have the assembly workers back up to full time or overtime, and we expect some big orders to break loose at the beginning of the year, so we can have everybody at full time or overtime.”
He said he and his partner, Dave Carlberg, have known for five years that it’s cheaper to have custom machined parts made than to do it in-house. The change has nothing to do with the economic slowdown.
“We will have most of our custom parts made by local machinists, including two of our guys who decided to go into business for themselves,” he said. “And we kept a small part of the machine shop equipment so we can make a custom part fast if we need to.”
The company designs and builds automation equipment for companies that manufacture medical devices.
Kinematic is best known for its 1,500-pound Matrix 6200 automatic test-strip processor, which has applications to dip-coat and dry strips; the portable Matrix 2360 programmable cutter, which cuts 360 strips per minutes; and the SPC 3300 Strip Processing Center, a fully integrated strip slitting and processing center that can process 100,000 strips per hour.
Meigs said he doesn’t want people to think the company is in trouble because it is trying to be more cost-effective.
“We are very well capitalized and in great financial shape,” he said. “We’ve been here for 30 years, and we aren’t going anywhere.”