A new injection molding company, Clebae Infinique Tooling & Molding LLC, opened in January in Sacramento, Calif., seeking to bring back work that it has been done in China and also to develop a new clientele.
The company has leased an 18,000-square-foot facility and has installed six Tederic molding machines ranging in size from 80 to 250 tons.
The name of the company has special meaning for co-owner Brent Eikanas.
“My wife had a brain tumor and passed away in 2003,” said Eikanas, “The initials are there to keep her in my thoughts.”
The Clebae part of the name is their initials — Carol Louise Eikanas and Brent Allen Eikanas — and he said that serves as reminder.
Eikanas had worked at electronics manufacturer Palm Inc., and went on to form Clebae Tooling Consultants as he raised his family. He works with companies to design parts and to mold them.
He later joined with partner Derek Tan to start Infinique Ltd., a Chinese molding operation that now has 100 machines. It is in Shenzhen and has been in operation since 2010.
Eikanas said it now makes more economic sense to produce some products in the United States. He noted that some more complex items can be built domestically, both for existing customers and new customers. He turned to George Moore, who he had known since they both worked at Palm.
“About 1½ years ago, George and I talked about bringing some of the manufacturing back home. So, we started working on a plan, but we had trouble finding a building with enough power,” Eikanas said,
They found a building in Sacramento's Depot Park, which is part of an old Army installation, and they spent about seven months refurbishing it. They are using Chinese-made Tederic molding machines because that is what they use in China, and they wanted to have a synergy with what they currently produce.
Moore, who is the general manager, said that they will also have machinery to support tooling changes and maintenance. Automation will be a key component for the new facility, and a class 100,000 clean room is expected to be ready in the next month or so.
The operation will employ five people to start, but will add another five in the next three months.
Eikanas said the location enables them to deal with many of the Bay-area companies, in markets ranging from high tech to medical. He said sporting goods, consumer electronics and medical components currently molded in China could be made in the United States.
Eikanas said the new company's goal is to hit $1 million in sales by the end of the year. The company will stress being a full-service provider with secondary services including assembly.