Formula Plastics Inc. invested about $780,000 to install a Class 100,000 clean room to injection mold medical and electronic parts in Tecate.
In addition, during 2005, the firm acquired 12 all-electric Toshiba injection molding machines with a value of about $2 million, Formula President Alex Mora said in a Jan. 27 interview during opening ceremonies for the extensive campus.
Speakers included Sergio Tagliaprieta Nassri, Baja California secretary for economic development, and Tecate Mayor Joaqu¡n Sandoval Mill n.
Based in Ontario, Calif., Formula has extensive molding and assembly operations in several adjacent and separately managed Tecate facilities.
The clean room constitutes a start for the Tecate site's sixth plant, known as Formula Med SA.
Formula constructed a 6,480-square-foot outer building on a hillside, incorporating some of the surrounding rock formations into the architecture. In some sections, the walls yield to natural intrusions of the boulders.
The 2,387-square-foot clean room has room for seven injection molding machines. Three of the new all-electric Toshibas - two with 220 tons of clamping force and one with 100 tons - were in operation.
Formula eventually plans to install a second clean room of 2,009 square feet, suitable for six more molding machines.
When fully operational, Formula Med SA will employ 55.
Four other Tecate plants have injection molding capability: Pol¡meros Formula with 14 injection presses of 110-550 tons, Moldeo de Pl sticos with 15 presses of 45-550 tons, Formados Pl sticos with 17 presses of 28-165 tons and Ensambles Formula with 14 presses of 75-500 tons.
While some of Formula's molding plants do assembly, its other Tecate factory is dedicated to assembly work.
In total, Formula has 25 assembly cells in Tecate.
Mora has chosen to keep distinct separations between the plants, recognizing the value of each group having its own control. In addition, Mexican tax laws favor small plants.
Together, the six plants in Tecate employ 324 and operate six days a week on three shifts.
Medical work accounts for about 20 percent of the Tecate volume; another large segment is components for power tools and construction tools.
In Ontario, the company moved 1½ miles from leased space to a newly constructed facility that became operational in September 2004. Formula Plastics purchased the 12,700-square-foot unit for use as headquarters and for warehousing and injection molding.
Now, the Ontario location employs 40 and operates 12 injection molding machines of 50-350 tons.
Formula reported 2005 sales of $14.5 million.