A maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico, is injection molding proprietary pipette tips in a new clean environment for startup firm BioPointe Scientific LLC.
We made our first [pipette tip] sale in December after spending two years in product development, said BioPointe President Robert Arnold. We are making plastics for the life-science research market. The products include filtered and nonfiltered polypropylene pipette tips.
Arnold also heads Cal Am Manufacturing, which makes spacers, plugs, caps and fittings for underground utility conduits through Termo Plasticos Electricos SA de CV, the Tijuana maquiladora plant. Cal Am oversees all production at the site.
Termo Plasticos employs 40 at the 30,000-square-foot plant, where it operates three 75-ton, all-electric Nissei presses, and 13 Van Dorn hydraulics from 25-300 tons. Jose Luis Chavez was named Termo Plasticos' plant manager in February.
The owners invested more than $2 million in plant improvements, and in creating the 6,000-square-foot clean environment and equipping it with the Nissei presses, a pad printer and quality control devices. A third party does electron-beam sterilization.
Arnold and partners Larry Scaramella and Evan Goldstein have experience in supplying products to medical research laboratories. BioPointe CEO Scaramella founded San Diego-based Molecular BioProducts Inc., now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Arnold was Molecular's president for five years. Goldstein is vice president of Cal Am and BioPointe.
BioPointe's market is somewhat insulated from economic pressures, according to Arnold. Customers include university and federal research facilities, and some small biotechnology firms.
But Cal Am's underground electrical and fiber-optic conduit business lost 4.2 percent in the top line in 2008, said Arnold. He did not disclose sales. Considering the economic environment, we are doing well, he added.
Cal Am exports about 10 percent of its product, and Arnold expects that BioPointe may end up exporting one-half of its output. The owners are open to projects from private-label firms or original equipment manufacturers that fit their goals.
Cal Am the business name of Stratus Manufacturing Inc. and BioPointe share a headquarters office in National City, Calif. Arnold started the Tijuana operation in February 2007.