AUBURN – Production will more than double at a local manufacturer in the wake of a consolidation with its West Coast operation.

KICTeam Inc., the sister company of Enefco, closed its San Diego factory on Friday and is in the process of relocating machinery to its Minot Avenue facility. The company makes specialty cleaning cards for equipment used in the gaming, banking, transit, vending and other industries.

“Where we used to produce 50,000 to 60,000 in eight hours, we expect to get up to 140,000 in the same amount of time,” said Peter Klein, CEO of KICTeam. The company is in the process of installing the new machinery, which inserts a customized cleaning card into a pouch, making it ready for shipment.

“We’ll have two machines in one location and from that we’ll gain a lot of efficiencies,” said Klein. “There will be less lost time for changeovers.”

Klein acquired Clean Team Co., which had been his biggest competitor, last summer for an undisclosed sum. The merger expanded KICTeam’s customer base and doubled its purchasing power, making it the biggest cleaning card maker in the world for specialized equipment.

The San Diego employees have been offered transfers to the Auburn facility.

“We expect there will be a handful of new employees,” he said. The Maine facility currently employs about 85.

KICTeam serves customers that include IBM, MasterCard, American Airlines, Albertson’s, FedEx and others. It develops cleaning systems for equipment that accepts money or credit cards such as check scanners, currency counters, ATMs, bar code printers, transit turnstiles, gas pumps and vending machines.

Five years ago, when it was KIC Products, the company was making about 400,000 cleaning cards a month.

“Now, we do about 2 million a month, for all our markets,” Klein said. Revenues have increased five fold in the same span.

Some of those cleaning cards will be headed to China, where KICTeam is in the midst of setting up an office in Shanghai.

“A lot of our customers have production services in China,” Klein said. “As their business moves to China, they expect us to support them there. (A Shanghai office) solidifies that business for us.”

KICTeam is also researching specialty cleaning devices for the airline industry for its baggage handling. Klein said every lost bag costs an airline hundreds of dollars in labor and delivery costs.

Better maintained scanning equipment that spits out and reads the bar code stickers that are attached to luggage would cut losses considerably, he said. And now that airlines are charging for checked bags, there’s even more attention on that process.

“It has to be flawless,” he said.


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