Thermoformer and plastic machining firm Ajax Custom Manufacturing is spending $7 million to build a plant that will double its space and handle burgeoning business in the biotech and semiconductor industries.
The company, based in Burlingame, Calif., is building a 60,000-square-foot facility in Union City, Calif., to consolidate three plants.
The company traditionally manufactured chemical storage tanks and other products for the semiconductor industry, but when that market soured in 2000 it diversified into medical, said Jonathan Chang, chief operating officer of the company's Ajax Custom Plastics subsidiary. The semiconductor industry is starting to show signs of life again, though, with a strong fourth quarter, he said.
The expansion, which will be completed in late 2004, will give the firm room to add more machining equipment and let it continue to transition from a plastics processor to a custom manufacturer, Chang said. About 80 percent of its components are plastic, but much of the rest are metal, he said.
The new space will have a 5,000-square-foot clean room, he said, at Medical Design & Manufacturing West, held Jan. 6-8 in Anaheim.
The company currently has 40,000 square feet in its three plants in Burlingame. It plans to keep 20,000 square feet of that, but move the rest of its equipment to Union City, he said. The company has six thermoforming machines.
Ajax also has joint venture manufacturing operations in Singapore and China, where it has about 100 workers.
The company employs about 90 in the United States now, and probably will add 10 employees in the expansion, Chang said. It has annual sales of about $15 million.