By Eric Peterson | Feb 16, 2021
Contract injection molding
Born in Oakland, California, and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Silva worked in his father's injection molding shop in his late teens and early twenties. "We were doing high heels for shoes over there," he says.
After moving to Tijuana with his family in 2003, Silva continued his plastics career in the San Diego area with Hunter Industries, Distinctive Plastics, and other manufacturers. He was able to move his family to Escondido, California, in 2008. "I was crossing the border for five years," says Silva.
In 2016, he was working the third shift for Advanced Plastics and knew he needed a change. "I got tired," says Silva. "I told my family, 'I'm going to start my own business.'"
Silva refinanced his home to fund Siga Plastics' startup. "I bought one machine when we started in June. In December, I bought two more machines."
He continued to work a day job at Pacific Plastics as he got Siga off the ground, "knocking on doors" in search of customers. Silva landed some good ones, making tubing for Amflex Plastics in Oceanside and currency carriers for pneumatic tubes at drive-through banks. One Amflex part snowballed into several parts, and Silva found himself juggling the workload of two jobs for two years.
"In 2019, I started focusing 100 percent on the business [Siga Plastics]," he says.
After he left his side job, Silva says Siga's grown by "delivering on time, good product, good quality." The company's revenues jumped by more than 150 percent in 2020 to about $400,000 and Silva forecasts 100 percent growth to about $800,000 for 2021. "That's our goal and that's what I'm seeing," he says ."Things are pointing up."
Key markets include industrial, automotive, aerospace, electronics, and construction. The company is now based out of a 4,500-square-foot facility with seven injection-molding machines (ranging from 50 to 150 tons of molding press capabilities) as it earned ISO 9001 certification in 2020. "CMTC helped me a lot [with ISO certification]," says Silva. "They recommended I go into ISO 9001."
Siga works with ABS, polypropylene, acrylic, polycarbonate, nylon, and other materials. The company also offers a good deal in the way of post-processing and can help clients with molds, dyes, and other custom requests.
Challenges: "Finding the right people who have some experience in injection molding," says Silva. "It's hard right now because some technicians are busy at other companies and new technicians might not have the right skill set you need. I can train them and see what they know. I'm open to some training and also to learn about them."
He adds, "You never stop learning in plastics. Every day is something new."
Another challenge: managing growth. "We have to expand and get a new palace, so that's going to be a challenge for me. I have to get the other place and I have to keep this place until I move over to the other place. I cannot stop producing."
Opportunities: "Right now, my goal is to go into medical parts," says Silva, noting that he is working with a mold maker on a new facemask with UV protection.
There's also an opportunity to scale with demand: Siga now runs 12-hour shifts, and Silva sees the potential to boost that as needed.
Needs: Space, people, and new machines, with an eye on automation.
With three more machines on the way and an expected six hires in 2021, Silva says, "Now we need to go to a bigger place."
The target is about 8,000 square feet. Silva says that infrastructure is more important than location when it comes to a new facility; three-phase power is a prerequisite.