GAS MASK CONTRACT FROM DOD MAY DOUBLE CAMPBELL'S STAFF

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Campbell Plastics Manufacturing & Engineering Inc., a custom injection molder in Corona, Calif., may double its work force this year thanks to a defense contract valued at more than $10 million.

The company will manufacture the M-45 gas mask for the Defense Department. Company President Richard Campbell said the work is the result of the firm's extensive research and development effort during the past four years.

``I worked really hard to get the government to award me this contract since I did all the R&D,'' said Campbell, who had the backing of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Ken Calvert.

The research involved changing all the metal components of the gas mask to plastic, then attaching them to the mask via sonic welding.

Campbell said the contract means an additional 30-40 new jobs. He now employs 40.

The plant will not have to expand, however, because in July the company moved into a custom-built, 37,500-square-foot facility.

Although Campbell does not plan to add presses or other equipment, he said the new contract will ``increase and enhance the company's technological capabilities.''

The contract requires a full range of testing capabilities for the masks, including tension and leak testing, as well as insert molding and silicone molding.

A year ago, Campbell changed the name of the company to reflect its increase in engineering, research and development. Campbell Plastics has eight injection molding presses with clamping forces of 60-400 tons.

The firm also serves the telecommunications, computer/electronic, automotive, medical and aerospace industries.