SAN DIEGO — Molecular BioProducts Inc. is boosting capacity at a captive injection molding operation it began in 1995 in an effort to improve quality control.
Molecular BioProducts runs 52 injection presses and is adding more, including a 100-ton and eight 28-ton presses this month, all from Arburg, said Scott Rose, who heads captive molding.
Molecular BioProducts formed in 1989 to sell medical-grade polypropylene pipette tips with an aerosol self-sealing barrier. At first, vendors molded the components and Molecular BioProducts assembled and marketed them under the trade name ART, for aerosol-resistant tips.
Eventually, owner Larry Scaramella decided to bring the molding in-house.
Molecular BioProducts was dissatisfied with the outside molders' quality and delivery, Rose said in an interview in his San Diego office. Molecular BioProducts' project leaders ``wanted to go at it themselves and drive their own quality and control into the product.''
Rose joined the firm in September as molding manager and oversees operations at San Diego and at a Tijuana, Mexico, assembly site, LaboMex Continental SA, which employs 200.
In San Diego, Molecular BioProducts employs 60 in production and another 40 in sales, marketing and administration. Mainly it makes pipette tips for public, private and university research laboratories that analyze samples of human DNA.
Rainin Instrument Co. Inc. of Woburn, Mass., and Eppendorf-Netheler-Hinz GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, are among 20 or so other pipette tip manufacturers.
``Many are running 32- or 64-cavity tools,'' Rose said. ``We refuse. The most we do is 8-cavity, and 90 percent of [our] tooling is 4-cavity.''
Repeatability is the critical goal. In-process inspectors examine the tips before and during assembly to maintain strict quality limits. Flashing may not exceed 0.005 inch. Inside dimensions are 0.2-0.004 inch. An independent testing lab weekly verifies that molded products are free from contamination.
In November, the firm moved to a new plant with a 25,000-square-foot, high-bay molding floor and 15,000-square-foot warehouse. Already, it is looking too small because of rapid growth. The firm may use the old building for more warehouse space.
Molecular BioProducts would not disclose sales.