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NATIONAL CITY, CALIF. — Contract manufacturer US/Mex Manufacturing Corp. by mid-December expects to add injection molding to its operations, which now include making surface-mount and through-hole printed wiring board assembly and connector/cable harness assembly.

US/Mex Manufacturing has been purchasing about 1 million small plastic components annually.

``We want to be vertically integrated, and by molding our own components,'' Paul DiMatteo, president and chief executive officer, said in an interview in National City.

In late October, the company took delivery of a new automated Arburg injection molding machine with a clamping force of 80 tons.

Grinder, chiller and dryer systems complete US/Mex Manufacturing's plastics operation, which will mold parts initially with engineering-grade polyester and polyphenylene sulfide resins.

Armand Asadourian joined US/ Mex Manufacturing in September as manager of the new plastics division, with responsibilities for production, tool design, vendor selection and business development.

Each week, US/Mex makes more than 35,000 board-mountable magnetics, relays, coils and subassemblies at an Ensenada, Mexico, maquiladora that employs about 150 and occupies half of a 32,000-square-foot facility. The other half is available for expansion.

US/Mex transports the components 64 miles to its 20,000-square-foot Tijuana maquiladora, which employs 175-200 and produces sophisticated final personal computer board assemblies.

US/Mex Manufacturing 's 2,400-square-foot National City site employs 12 in administrative, engineering and automated-equipment operations.

DiMatteo formed the company in 1987 as a magnetics firm providing in-house design and build-to-print assemblies. His son, Thierry, is the company's general manager.