TIJUANA, MEXICO — Plastics processors have banded together to create a new education program, using vendor-supplied equipment and software, that starts July 12 at a Tijuana vocational training school. Four volunteers from local plastics operations will instruct 40 young workers about injection molding in an initial basic course of 40 hours over three months, said Victor Flores, president of the Tool Makers Association of Baja California.
Flores said the nonprofit group has about 100 members, 20 of whom support the education program. He also is a molding engineer with Plantronics Inc.'s maquiladora Plamex SA de CV in Tijuana.
Flores was interviewed following an inaugural ceremony on the 1,500-student Tijuana campus of the National College of Education. The school provides space for the program.
About 1,200 businesses in Tijuana process plastics, using anywhere from two to 120 machines per site, said Octavio Bernal, vice president of the association and molding technical services coordinator with Juguetrenes SA de CV, a Hasbro Inc. maquiladora in Tijuana. Hasbro will shut down Juguetrenes in July after completing a transfer of its work to Spain.
The association was formed in 1998, said member Sheldon Campbell, molding manager for AGA Manufacturing Inc. maquiladora AGAmex SA de CV in Tijuana.
The school is using a 90-ton Toshiba injection molding machine worth $113,000 under consignment. Toshiba Machine Co. America in Ontario, Calif., will provide technical service and on-site training and have an opportunity to bring prospective customers to see the machine in operation.
Software distributor-educator Davis Technologies of San Diego supplied Mastercam software worth $13,000, and distributor Digital Dimensions Inc. of San Diego provided licensing for 10 SolidWorks software stations, also worth $13,000.
The program also involves machining. Hardinge Inc. of Elmira, N.Y., is consigning four machines worth $650,000, including a Cobra 42 computer numerically controlled lathe that arrived May 27. Hardinge also is supplying a milling station, a wire electrical discharge machine and a CNC machining center by the end of June.
Flores envisions up to four levels of instruction that over 12-18 months could give a worker proficiency in processing plastics.
"We have the injection molding machine, now we need to create the product" in the form of educated operators, he said.