Nypro Inc.'s new 160,000-square-foot medical products plant in Tijuana, Mexico, will begin operating this month, and the company expects to transfer all the work from its nearby plant to the new facility by February.
``We went from a shell at the end of February to operating by mid-June,'' Jay Poe, president of the Nypro Healthcare Baja facility, said at Medical Design & Manufacturing East, held June 3-5 in New York.
Poe said the plant will have 100 workers by July, 500 by September and roughly 1,100 by February. Once the work from the Nypro Precision Assemblies plant is transferred, the new facility will be at 50 percent capacity. Poe said the plant will be at full capacity sometime in 2013.
The plant will triple the size of the company's health-care operations in Tijuana. It will supply the U.S. market and primarily make disposable medical devices that will go directly into the finished devices of its original equipment manufacturer customers.
The Tijuana plant rivals the size of the company's medical plant in Clinton, Mass., where the $1.2 billion company is headquartered, but it will have an advantage in speed and efficiency, Poe said.
``We wanted speed of material flow, speed of information and speed of managing people. Speed is a huge priority for Nypro,'' he said.
``Material will flow in a straight line, coming in one side and going out the other. We will mold products, assemble them, package them and then ship them out the other side.'' The plant has 16 loading docks, each dedicated to a specific customer, and 19-foot-high ceilings, compared with 10- to 11-foot-high ceilings in the plant it is replacing.
The straight material and product flow also will reduce the number of internal material transactions to four, said Poe, compared with as many as 20 in other Nypro health-care plants. ``The straighter the flow, the less transactions,'' he said.
In addition, each work cell in the new Tijuana plant was built around a roof-supporting column that contains all the needed utilities, as well as a software system that will allow direct input of data into the company's information system.
The plant also will be the first in the Nypro system to use biometrics to track operations on site and monitor workers in the clean room.
``The cost for a biometrics system was the same as a badge-reading system, it is something that is impossible to manipulate and it is faster for getting people in and out,'' Poe said. ``It will allow us to know who was working on a device at any one time, and that ties into better production quality and product security. Our customers have been requesting better security, and this makes our customers comfortable, knowing our records are accurate.''
The plant will have room for 32 injection molding machines, but initially will use just 20 machines and only half of its 80,000 square feet of Class 8 or Class 100,000 clean room space, Poe said.
Health care currently represents 27-28 percent of Nypro's sales and grew at a 25 percent clip in 2007. The company's objective is to grow health care this decade into a $500 million business.