Custom blow molder Bomatic Inc. is moving its headquarters plant from Ontario, Calif., to Temecula, Calif. — a building six times bigger than the Ontario location, said President Kjeld Hestehave.
“We hope to start moving the equipment in July,” Hestehave said. The move will include 20 blow molding machines and injection presses, he said. It will include the new Milacron M-PET preform injection press that Bomatic bought at NPE 2015.
Hestehave said the company bought the 200,000-square-foot building in Temecula in March. The building had been used for assembly for a hospital supply company. Bomatic is beefing up the electric power and adding material handling and other infrastructure needed for plastics processing.
Bomatic, a 46-year-old company, also owned the building in Ontario, which is for sale.
Hestehave said the company expects to retain the 30 to 40 employees now at Ontario at the new location, which is about 40 miles south of the existing headquarters. He said employment should grow over the next couple of years to 100-130 at the headquarters plant.
“We've got six times the [current] building to fill up. We've got the sales for it,” he said. “We're expanding.” He said the company has sales of about $15 million.
Bomatic is very diversified, Hestehave said. The company makes PET containers; extrusion blow molded bottles for medical, household chemicals, food and other markets; does injection blow molding of small bottles; and makes industrial parts on accumulator-head blow molding machines. He said Bomatic has blown lots of materials, including polycarbonate and other engineering resins.
The company also runs a plant in St. George, Utah. Bomatic produces its own molds.
“We're a custom blow molder. Someone comes here and we talk to them. We help them design, we prototype and make them the mold and make the product,” Hestehave said.
Including the new Milacron M-PET, Bomatic now runs three preform injection molding machines. Hestehave said the blow molder got into PET containers in 1990 and purchased all its PET preforms from outside vendors for ten years. Bomatic then began molding its own preforms, and has expanded that area, to retain customers as their business grows.
Bomatic still buys some preforms. “But now we can manufacture 200 to 250 million preforms a year,” Hestehave said.
Kjeld Hestehave's father, Borge Hestehave, brought his family to California from Denmark in 1956. Borge, an engineer, began working for a glass bottle maker in Los Angeles. The company wanted to get into plastics — and since he spoke German, they sent him to Germany to buy plastics extruders. He brought them back and designed the rest of the system to make plastic containers.
In the early 1960s, he worked for Kerr Glass Manufacturing Co., where Bill Kerr assigned him to set up a plastics manufacturing plant in Santa Ana, Calif.
Hestehave and his father started Bomatic in 1969, in Ontario. Kjeld Hestehave also is an engineer, who holds several patents for injection blow molding. His father is not involved with running the business, “but he comes in every day so we have a chance to talk,” Kjeld Hestehave said.
Bomatic remains family-owned and operated. Two of Kjeld Hestehave's sons work there — Kresten is in charge of sales. His younger brother, Josh, recently joined the company in a maintenance position. Kjeld's nephew, Casey, is in charge of the tool room.
The large new headquarters factory will position Bomatic for the next four-plus decades, Hestehave said.