CHULA VISTA, CALIF. — Nypro Precision Assemblies Inc. wants to establish itself as ``a low-cost, high-quality alternative to manufacturing in-house,'' according to President Fernando Vel zquez.
The firm is adding radio-frequency welding and printing equipment to make vinyl bags and handle other applications, Vel zquez said in an interview in Chula Vista.
He will use the equipment at the firm's maquiladora, Ensambles Nypro SA de CV in Tijuana, Mexico, and plans in 1998 to add other manufacturing capability.
``We want to add new technology and be more than assemblers,'' he said, calling the transition another step toward vertical integration for the 4-year-old business.
Existing processes in the Tijuana facility include sonic welding, solvent bonding, high-volume package sealing, pad printing and hot stamping. A small machine shop supports fixtures and develops process solutions.
The business gains strength from its relationship with injection molding giant Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass.
Vel zquez and Nypro Inc. formed Nypro Precision Assemblies in July 1993 and began operations in a 30,000-square-foot Tijuana site. Now, the manufacturing operation occupies 43,000 square feet, including a Class 100,000 clean room of 6,000 square feet and a controlled environment of 4,000 square feet.
``We had a small customer base and did $3.5 million in the first year. Now, we have 10 customers and closed this fiscal year [ended June 30] at $11 million.''
A dozen years ago, a Nypro Inc. unit began molding and assembling Compat enteral delivery systems for the Minneapolis-based nutrition division of Sandoz AG. The systems are used to feed people who are unable to eat normally.
Initially, Nypro ``transferred a lot of equipment for assembling the Compat systems out of Cayey, Puerto Rico, where the product was being made,'' Vel zquez said.
Another unit, precision molder Nypro San Diego Inc. in Chula Vista, makes system components, among its many products, and Nypro Precision Assemblies performs final assembly and packaging operations.
Nypro has been molding medical devices for Sandoz since 1985, and the company considers Nypro a strategic business partner, said Robert Williams, director of strategic business development for the nutrition division's medical devices line.
Medical-quality products in Tijuana include chemotherapy and hydrology filters, in-line filter tube sets and safety syringes. Other products include commercial soap dispensers and splash shields to protect hospital workers.
Nypro Precision Assemblies is adding a high-volume form-fill-seal packaging machine and a fully automated assembly process to make check valves and intravenous sets.
Employment reached 350 in mid-1996 ``when the syringe business was moving'' but ``it has slowed down,'' Vel zquez said. Currently, the operation employs 300, including 18 in management, engineering and technical, and 60 supervisors, technicians and inspectors.
The Tijuana and Chula Vista operations were ISO 9002 certified in January 1997.