HAYWARD, CALIF. — Plastikon Industries Inc. is fine-tuning its newly improved quarters and negotiating with a marketing and sales group to promote available machine time within the just-in-time molding operations.
``We've done a tremendous amount of changing'' but we are ``not completely done,'' President F. Fred Soofer said in a Sept. 18 interview at his Hayward office.
Staying generally within its existing building, Plastikon recently expanded engineering capability, added a Class 10,000 clean room, installed a truck dock and, soon, will repair some flooring that was damaged.
Industrial activities occupy 32,000 square feet, and offices 8,000 square feet.
Plastikon has taken delivery of its 29th injection molding press, a new 500-ton Kawaguchi. Currently, clamping forces on Plastikon's presses range from 50-1,200 tons, but most are in the 200- to 500-ton range.
About 55-60 percent of Plastikon's production supplies under-the-hood parts for the Fremont, Calif., joint venture facility of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. and the Cambridge, Ontario, plant of Toyota Canada.
Each day, Plastikon fulfills 10 orders for Nummi, the venture of Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp., and four orders for Canada. Plastikon uses the JIT system of production and delivery, resulting in virtually no parts storage and smooth, level production cycles.
Plastikon's technical staff developed a process to mold a new microplate with 96 thin-wall tubes of high-flow polypropylene for heat-cycling of DNA material for health tests, forensics and diagnostics. The customer, Perkin-Elmer Corp. of Norwalk, Conn., markets the product in its MicroAmp line.
Plastikon tried two different ways to make the precision item, Soofer said, spending $150,000 on development since 1995.
Production of the new 96-tube microplates began in April, adding to the base volume of an earlier design.
``Now, we are running 10 machines around the clock for tubes for DNA testing'' in a highly automated clean room molding environment, Soofer said.
Plastikon devotes 70 percent of its technical talent to support the tight-tolerance medical products. Medical accounts for about one-third of the company's output.
In the industrial sector, Plastikon molds two tight-tolerance polyester couplings for the Madera, Calif., facility of Advanced Drainage Systems.
Last year, Plastikon stopped building tools in-house but plans to reverse that situation.
Soofer said the company is negotiating with some people to establish a separate entity to create a high-tech, efficient, state-of-the-art tool shop. For now, ``we maintain, we refurbish [but] we do not make them,'' he said.
Issues of control and delivery concern Soofer, who has noticed that ``some tool shops around California are not clear on [the need to meet] schedule.'' Michigan shops supply most of Plastikon's large tools.
Plastikon employs about 132 and recorded 1996 sales of $15.2 million, of which injection molded parts accounted for $14.1 million. Soofer forecasts a 1997 sales increase to about $15.6 million with the automotive-year model change cutting into greater sales growth.
In two or three years, Soofer plans to build a second Plastikon plant on 31/2 acres about a block from the existing facility. The new plant ``would replicate what we have here,'' he said.