ANAHEIM, Calif.—All three divisions within IRP Group Holdings Inc. are experiencing significant expansions.
IRP Medical has expanded to 10 horizontal liquid silicone rubber injection machines inside its Class 8 clean room, with two new additions in 2017.
The firm started with just three presses at its San Clemente, Calif., facility in 2013. IRP Medical now operates 13 total, with the other three used for high consistency silicone rubber applications.
"We have been successful in scaling things up to high volume," Rey Obnamia, vice president of technology and regulatory, said at MD&M West, held Feb. 6-8 in Anaheim. "We have a product we make up to 32 million a year, then some only a few thousands a year, and then everything in between. Being a contract manufacturer, we have to be flexible to satisfy the variety of demands of our customers."
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the firm added a new Engel E-Mac 310/105, including a CC300 controller and Engel's X-Melt software platform. Obnamia said the machine enables IRP to mold precise and very small rubber parts that weigh less than a gram at a very high volume.
The firm also added a pre-owned 55-ton Engel press to support some of its long-running high volume production jobs. Obnamia said the move will free up some machine capacity for the rest of the plant's other Arburg, Engel and SPM molding machines.
"We have to enable ourselves to have as much capacity as we can with the flexibility to mix and match shorter and long-term runs at the same time," Obnamia said.
Going forward, Obnamia said IRP Medical is in the process of putting in a tool shop at IRP Medical. Trey Atkins, IRP executive vice president, said the project will occur in two phases and represent a $250,000 investment.
The division also will be looking to enhance its automation capabilities to drive manufacturing efficiencies. The firm is in the process of acquiring a portable robot in the coming months, one that can move from one press to another. But the executive stressed that the firm is not intending to replace its current work force with automation.
"We continue to grow every year and expected to continue for the next three to five years," Obnamia said. "Our focus is to concentrate on high volume, critical-to-function medical components and devices."