Stoesser-Gordon Plastics is replacing and upgrading its injection molding equipment and doing more medical-grade work.
During 2007, the Santa Rosa, Calif., company invested about $700,000 in equipment, including four Arburg presses that replaced older models. The company boosted employment to 150, from 120.
In the previous year, the company invested about $500,000, which included system upgrades relating to closed-loop process controls, two custom-built automation systems and contamination-free material-delivery systems.
Output of medical devices and biomedical products constitutes about 70 percent of the business, up from about 30 percent in 2002. Other markets include military, telecommunication and ergonomic applications.
``Our increased ability to offer customers a fully integrated engineering, manufacturing, assembly and packaging solution is the key for our past and future growth,'' said Bob Stoesser, president for marketing and engineering and a son of the founder.
Stoesser-Gordon's 62,000-square-foot facility includes a 1,200-square-foot Class 10,000 clean room with nine Van Dorn and Arburg injection presses of 44-120 tons and a main production floor with 29 presses of 15-550 tons and two compression molding machines. All presses operate with IQMS real-time monitoring systems.
``We are currently planning an additional clean room for assembly and packaging of medical devices,'' Stoesser said.
The clean room will measure 1,300 square feet and is projected to be installed in early 2008, he added.
Four all-electric presses are in use, and that number should rise to eight or nine by the end of 2008, he said.
The business added to its engineering staff, increased in-house training, updated computer-aided-design and plastics-simulation software and expanded procedures for part and process validations to comply with requirements for finished medical devices.
Other purchases included three Matsui Manufacturing Co. Ltd. dryers and a Micro-Vu Corp. Vertex-brand automated vision system with touch-probe coordinate-measuring-machine capability.
Stoesser-Gordon received ISO 13485 certification in 2006 and also operates under ISO 9002.
``Large [original equipment manufacturers] are increasing their global outsourcing activity, [so] it is incumbent on U.S. manufacturers to become more competitive through maximizing efficiencies, expanding capabilities and offering services not readily available from other suppliers,'' he said.
In 2003, the firm established a strategic alliance with injection molder Electro Plast SA of Heredia, Costa Rica. Stoesser-Gordon handles program validation, builds molds and transfers technology to Electro Plast for molding medical components.
Recently, parent firm Stoesser Industries Inc. observed the 60th anniversary of its founding by William F. Stoesser as a tool and die shop, initially in San Francisco, in 1947. He died at age 83 in 2004. His daughter, Claire Werner, is vice president of finance.
Stoesser Industries acquired Gordon Manufacturing Co. Inc. in 2002 and the merged operation - doing business as Stoesser-Gordon Plastics - settled in Santa Rosa. Stoesser moved 96 miles from Mountain View and Gordon relocated 23 miles from Petaluma.
Gordon Manufacturing founder Gordon Blumenthal continues as chairman of Stoesser-Gordon Plastics. Ralph Gatto is Stoesser-Gordon Plastics president of finance and operations.
Stoesser-Gordon projects total sales of $13.2 million for its fiscal year ending in July, up from $12.2 million for the previous fiscal year.