HK Plastics Engineering Inc. has a new, larger home in Oceanside, and more injection molding equipment.
In late July, the custom injection molder and captive toolmaker moved about four miles into a 55,000-square-foot facility that it constructed on a 3.5-acre site.
Principals began planning the project in mid-2004, in part to overcome an inefficient arrangement involving two buildings on parts of its former site.
In executing the relocation, ``we turned off the machines on a Tuesday morning [at the old site], and we ran machines on Thursday night'' in the new facility, said Ron Krippner, vice president.
HK purchased two new Toyo hydraulic injection molding presses, one each of 35 and 400 tons, and now operates a total of 25 injection molding machines of 35-400 tons. Capabilities include insert and two-shot molding.
The new site can accommodate as many as 41 injection molding machines and already has conduit in place for utility and material feeds to each eventual press location.
As part of the custom design, HK installed a 70-foot-wide overhead Demag crane that spans the molding production area.
In extending its proprietary process, the firm has ordered a sixth HK HepaCell unit for use in the plant. A mobile HepaCell unit can create a Class 100 environment at any press without need for a dedicated clean room. HK has used the HepaCell process in more than 10,000 hours of production.
HK partnered with Hamann Construction of El Cajon, Calif., in buying and splitting a larger parcel of land and then developing the facility.
Raw material and water, air and electric utility feeds run through two 5-inch and two 1.5-inch below-grade ABS conduits. The gray plastic tubing gradually slopes through the foundation in connecting each press and, beyond the production floor, service bays where material hoppers are located. ``We want to have a clean look,'' Krippner said.
An HK entity continues to own the firm's former 13,000-square-foot Oceanside site and has obtained a lessee. As part of the move, HK vacated a 7,000-square-foot warehouse.
Horst Krippner founded HK in 1974, initially for toolmaking. His sons operate the plastics processing business, which employs 65 including six mold makers, and a sister company, HK Screw Machine Products, also in Oceanside. Known informally as Team HK, the companies withhold sales and investment figures.
Primary HK end markets include medical devices, medical disposables, biotechnology components and optics. Medical-related jobs represent one-half of the work, up from 20 percent a few years ago. Annual output is about 3 million plastic parts.
A year-old deal is opening some doors for HK. In October 2005, the purchasing group of trade association Biocom of San Diego negotiated a contract and pricing agreement with HK for injection molding and tooling services for use by any of the life science industry group's more than 500 members.