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Close-tolerance injection molder Plasticorp is upgrading its presses and using additional space next door for operations overflow, warehousing and storage.

``We received another 100-ton [press] and a 165-ton, and we will have a new 550 operational by May 15,'' Mike Tesar, chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. ``We got rid of several small Arburgs.''

In addition, an 825-ton press should arrive in the fall. TMC of America Inc. in McLean, Va., distributed the four units for Taiwan Machine Corp.

Also, Plasticorp now operates a 150-ton Cincinnati Milacron vertical rotary press to insert mold parts, particularly for automotive customers.

In September, Plasticorp acquired a 45,000-square-foot building that is adjacent to the company's existing molding and toolmaking facility in Harbor City, Calif. Now, in the original 60,000 square feet of space, the firm operates 44 presses including 23 smaller than 100 tons.

``Our forte is difficult-to-mold pieces,'' Tesar said, ``and we make use of advanced molding simulation software.''

Plasticorp supplies parts to the automotive, electronic and consumer markets and makes extensive use of engineering thermoplastics, including Amoco Corp.'s glass-filled Amodel polyphthalamides for ``chunky parts with high amounts of current and amperage.''

Plasticorp focused on proprietary electronics encapsulation shells after its founding in 1973 and began custom molding in 1985. In 1994, the firm began making proprietary Powerline exercise equipment and pulleys. Tesar expects the line to have 1997 sales of about $1 million, which would double the previous year's volume.

Plasticorp recorded 1996 sales of $12.8 million including $11 million from injection molding and $1.8 million from toolmaking. Business in Mexico accounts for about one-third of sales. Plasticorp employs 150, and has built about 2,500 molds over the years.

``We have had an annual growth rate of 15 percent for the last five years,'' Tesar said.