As its medical molding business continues to grow, Tessy Plastics Corp. is investing about $2 million to build a 40,000-square-foot expansion in Elbridge, N.Y.
The custom injection molder will break ground this month on the project, which should be completed by February.
Medical products account for just over half of Tessy's sales, according to Roland Beck, president and chief executive officer. Tessy also serves markets for cosmetics, consumer products, water- pump housings and other products.
Beck said Tessy plans to add about 20 jobs to staff the expansion.
``I'm really proud that we're able to do it, especially with the industry being in the difficult time it's in,'' he said.
Plastics companies have to be cautious about expanding in today's economy, Beck said. ``You want to make sure you have the right products that can't be easily moved to a Third-World country. You've got to do technically challenging work,'' he said.
The newest expansion Tessy's third in the past six years will enlarge the company's advanced manufacturing facility, also known as the west plant. It is located next door to the headquarters factory in Elbridge.
After the expansion, the west plant will total 220,000 square feet.
The addition includes two clean rooms, one with a Class 10,000 designation and the other a Class 100,000 room.
Beck said Tessy plans to buy about 10 injection molding machines and related automation and assembly equipment. He said the company buys only all-electric machines, mainly Sumitomo and Niigata models, although officials have not made a final decision on the brands for the addition.
``We haven't bought a hydraulic machine in years,'' he said.
Tessy's largest medical customer is Johnson & Johnson. Tessy molds products used in minimally invasive surgery, such as tubing used to slide a small camera inside a patient's body, and cartridge assemblies that hold sutures for surgery. Another major medical client is Welch Allyn Inc., one of Tessy's longtime customers.
Last year, Tessy officials announced they were building a new plant in Elbridge that would house all of the medical plastics business. But that never happened, Beck said, because one of Tessy's former automotive customers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Tessy stopped molding for the company, and that left enough space to accommodate the extra medical work, he said.
Tessy built the west plant in 2000, then added on to the building in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
Tessy also runs factories in Lynchburg, Va., and Shanghai. The company generated 2007 sales of $140 million.