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Cleanrooms are the currency of the realm in medical molding, and many molders that currently sell into, or would like to serve the medical market, are adding or expanding such operations in their plants. For instance, at the Medical Design & Manufacturing East event in June in NYC, GW Plastics (Bethel, VT) told MPW that it is currently building a new Class 8 cleanroom at its facility in Tucson, AZ, with the room to hold 10-12 presses. Medical has grown from about 50% of sales five years ago to about 66% of GW’s sales of almost $100 million/yr.

September 29, 2008

2 Min Read
Molders investing plenty in cleanroom molding, assembly

Also, like GW, moving more work from automotive to medical is custom molder Tessy Plastics (Elbridge, NY), which is doubling the size of its two cleanrooms and purchased 10 injection molding machines, with 10 more likely to be added by the end of this year. Roland Beck, Tessy president, told MPW that the company will expand the size of  its cleanrooms from, respectively, 10,000 to 20,000ft2 and 5000 to 10,000ft2, with 10 new machines, Sumitomo’s and Niigata’s, already in place. The company has lowered its exposure to the automotive market from 30% of sales to 1%, with medical now constituting 50% of its business. “[Medical] is very demanding, but those customers are willing to pay for what they ask for,” Beck said. “The customers we have are ones that are open to dealing with us on price increases,” Beck added, contrasting that to automotive customers who rebuffed attempts to change terms as resin prices climbed.

Contract manufacturer Nypro (Clinton, MA), which runs more than 1400 molding machines in 17 countries, is also tasking more and more of those presses with molding work within cleanrooms. At the same event, Al Cotton, Nypro’s director of corporate communications, said the company is adding new cleanrooms at plants in Tijuana and Massachusetts, with those cleanrooms built to Class 8 standards and housing new machines and robots, with production dedicated to medical.

Hi-Tech Tool and Mold’s (Pittsfield, MA) Ann Fyfe said the company is planning to expand its Class 100,000 cleanroom from 4500 to 7500ft2. Last year, the company announced a 20,000ft2 addition to its operation, including the cleanroom and an expansion of secondary operations. Custom molder Integrity Plastics (Denver, PA) announced that it had just certified its cleanroom, which was added in 2006. The company, which has 36 molding machines, runs four Engel’s (two 60- and two 150-tons) in the newly designated Class 100,000 cleanroom, according to Chuck Schneider, in charge of new business development.

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