PASO ROBLES, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2009)—Specialty Silicone Fabricators Inc. plans to construct a 100,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing plant in Paso Robles to meet growing demand within its silicone medical components business.
The company will break ground on the building in October, with completion slated for September 2010. The investment for the project wasn't disclosed.
SSF decided to build the facility because it needed the additional space to handle rising volumes of work and to house some new services, said Paul Mazelin, marketing manager for the company and its parent, Issac Medical Cos. The finished project will double the manufacturing space at SSF's Paso Robles complex, which comprises three buildings spanning about 68,000 square feet.
One of the buildings will be torn down to make room for the new plant, while the other two will be used for some higher volume, longer-term projects, Mazelin said. The clean rooms there will remain and manufacturing cells will be constructed where needed.
The new facility will house a 38,000-sq.-ft. ISO Class 7 clean room, as well as company offices and other departments. The clean room area will add flexibility and allow SSF to build manufacturing cells and streamline its operations, he said.
The expansion also will help greatly in some new areas the company is entering, Mazelin said.
For example, SSF recently received its drug manufacturing license, he said. That allows the company to procure active pharmaceutical ingredients to mix with selected silicone rubbers.
Ultimately, the firm will be producing combination products or implants that fill a niche for specific targeted therapy in discrete locations in the body. SSF sees the segment “poised for dynamic growth and opportunities,” he said.
The company also is beginning to extrude silicone-urethane hybrid materials, so there will be requirements in the plant for additional thermoplastic extrusion lines, Mazelin said.
The expansion continues the growth mode SSF has been in this year. In February, SSF announced it added and installed two automated injection molding machines for small parts in Paso Robles, bringing the number of presses at the site to 35.
The firm will continue to add equipment as needed, Mazelin said, but the manufacturing space created by the new building will make a difference.
“To meet the demands of the future, we must modernize and expand,” said SSF President Kevin Meyer.
“While other companies often move to lower-wage countries to expand, we must recognize the value of the knowledge, experience and creativity of our employees, and therefore plan on remaining a Paso Robles-based technology company,” he said.
Nearly all of SSF's business is in the medical sector, providing silicone fabrication for device makers via several manufacturing disciplines, including molding, extrusion, calendering/sheeting and dipping, Mazelin said. Molding makes up about 40 percent of the company's revenues.
The company makes silicone components for a variety of devices, including hydrocephalus shunts and pacemaker leads, plus an instrument that holds the beating heart in place during surgery.
SSF employs about 200 at its site in Paso Robles and its 40,000-sq.-ft. satellite plant in Elk Rapids, Mich.
Parent company Issac Medical also owns Innovative Surgical Products Inc, which specializes in medical assembly and packaging and employs 100. Both Issac and ISP are based in Tustin, Calif.