ORANGE, Calif.—California Gasket and Rubber Corp. and Alliance Hose & Extrusions Inc. have almost tripled the size of their manufacturing operations after years of dealing with cramped quarters.
The two companies recently moved from a 16,000-sq.-ft. factory, with a 4,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, in Gardena, Calif., to a 53,000-sq.-ft. plant in Orange partially “because business has been good and exports in our hose division are up” and partially “because we were on top of each other, had no room to move and we didn't own the building,” President Scott Franklin said.
“We've been adding new customers across the board,” he said. “A lot of customers are consolidating their supplier bases and want suppliers that can fill all their needs and we've been picking up customers because they're not satisfied with their present suppliers.”
California Gasket and wholly owned subsidiary Alliance Hose, with a combined work force of about 35, plan to add personnel to help handle the increased work load, according to Franklin. The number of new employees hasn't been determined, and the companies didn't give financial details relating to the move.
A plastic molding machine has been added at the new plant because a large customer wanted a one-stop manufacturer to supply products, which require both rubber and plastic molding. “We're also upgrading other machinery, and we are looking at other new equipment for the future,” Franklin said.
A plus for the new facility is that the two companies have an option to buy the property, he said.
Moving equipment to the factory wasn't especially difficult, Franklin said, but it took awhile to get all the machinery installed.
Nonetheless, employees at California Gasket and Alliance Hose didn't miss a beat fulfilling customer orders because everyone was well prepared for the move, said Franklin, who's been with California Gasket since 1978 and president of both companies for several years.
“We have a good, experienced crew with a strong work ethic,” he said.
In fact, California Gasket's biggest strength is its people, many of whom have been with the firm for decades, Franklin said, adding that they have wide experience working with rubber and metal materials.
For instance, three or four other employees have worked for the companies longer than he has and a few have been there nearly as long as he has. “I'm lucky, I like what I do,” he said, which is why he remained with the companies.
A custom maker of industrial sealing devices, California Gasket manufactures gaskets, washers, shims, O-rings and precision molded rubber goods. Alliance Hose primarily makes braided silicone heater hose, vacuum hose, custom-extruded silicone profiles as well as mandrel belts and wrapped sil- icone-reinforced hose.
California Gasket has a computerized rubber testing laboratory that ensures all materials meet or exceed specifications. It also performs a wide variety of manufacturing services, including custom formulating and compounding of rubber. It can modify the characteristics of rubber in a variety of ways, the firm said, and has created thousands of formulas for numerous applications.