CONCORD, CALIF. (April 12, 10 a.m. EDT) — California Heartbeat LLC of Concord, Calif., has added equipment, pursued relationships with two universities and decided to relocate in a lower-priced area of California.
The firm bought used, 70-ton Arburg injection presses, one each in September and November.
California Heartbeat operates within the greater San Francisco Bay region. A Pittsburg, Calif., site conducts research and development and creates prototypes and, 15 miles away, a Benicia facility operates seven injection molding presses with clamping forces of 25-88 tons.
President Frank Natale has built relationships with the manufacturing technology program at California State University in Chico, Calif., and the school of veterinary medicine and teaching hospital at the University of California at Davis.
He is designing various kinds of orthotic braces for dogs and horses, with cushioning like a ski boot.
Natale wants to link the California State knowledge of molding plastic parts with the UC Davis requirements for disposable veterinary-related devices. UC Davis might put its logo on the parts.
Natale's son, Peter, has studied plastics processing and other subjects at California State, served as a teaching assistant and is scheduled to graduate in May.
The company is starting to plan for a move. Natale has discussed his manufacturing needs with officials and building owners in communities an hour or two to the north.
He said he hopes within a year to merge the two existing operations into a new site, possibly in Yuba City, Marysville or Woodland.
California Heartbeat employs seven to 12, depending on business, and recorded 2003 sales of $893,000, up from $830,000 the previous year.
The firm started in 1981, outsourcing to Harbor Plastics Manufacturing Co. of Richmond, Calif., and has created hundreds of novelty and customized items. California Heartbeat purchased its first injection molding press in 1990.