GW Plastics expands medical molding operations in Ireland

Avenue MouldIt has only been a couple of years since GW Plastics Inc. (Bethel, VT) scooped up Avenue Mould Solutions in Sligo, Ireland, but it is already announcing an expansion to meet increased customer demand in its medical device and drug-delivery business, the company announced today.

GW Plastics plans to invest more than €6 million ($6.8 million) to expand product development, precision tooling, thermoplastic and silicone injection molding, and contract assembly capabilities in Europe. The company’s molding operations will be moved to a scalable 28,000-square-foot site in Sligo, Ireland, the company said in a press release.

An injection molder and contract manufacturer serving medical device OEMs, among others, GW Plastics acquired Avenue Mould Solutions in 2017. With that acquisition, GW was able to offer precision mold-building, advanced injection molding and contract manufacturing on three continents—North America, Asia and Europe.

Avenue Mould has particular expertise in building ultra-high-cavitation tooling—up to 192-cavity molds—for the medical device, diagnostics and pharmaceutical markets. Bringing that capability in house allowed GW Plastics to claim that it now ranks as one of the plastic industry’s largest manufacturers of precision molds.

“Avenue has brought to GW Plastics a highly skilled manufacturing workforce, an award-winning mold-building company and a growing medical device contract manufacturing business that has been successfully serving Ireland and the broader European market for over 30 years,” said Brenan Riehl, GW Plastics President and CEO. “GW Plastics is delighted to build on Avenue’s success with this expansion, and we look forward to better serving our customers in Ireland and greater Europe.”

Sligo in northwestern Ireland has been recognized by the Irish government as a major regional center and driver of economic development under the Project Ireland 2040 national development plan.

Ireland as a whole has been very successful in developing a medical manufacturing cluster starting in the 1980s. Many U.S. medical device manufacturers established operations over the years, seeing it as a convenient path for entering the European market, and a robust supply chain developed in their wake. The Galway region, about 90 miles to the south of Sligo, traditionally has been the center of Ireland’s medtech hub, but other pockets have developed.

As its neighbor to the east wrestles with the Brexit train wreck, Ireland’s profile as an entry point to the European Union may well gain even greater stature.

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