Molder expands in medical, but could divest non-medical unit

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: November 25, 2013 3:50 pm ET
Updated: November 25, 2013 3:51 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Mergers & Acquisitions, Medical, Injection Molding

MedPlast Inc. is continuing to invest in its medical business, while contemplating the disposition of certain non-medical plastics processing operations.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based contract manufacturer, while not actively soliciting buyers, is open to the possible sale of three former United Plastics Group Inc. operations in Houston; Cardiff, Wales; and Suzhou, China.

“We operate those as a standalone business and retain the brand,” MedPlast CEO Harold Faig said in a telephone interview. “They are profitable and have good technologies,” employ about 200 of MedPlast’s total staff of 1,700, but do not fit the MedPlast focus on healthcare.

MedPlast was formed in April 2008 and acquired UPG in April 2012. More recently, the company added to its medical capabilities through the acquisition of implantable-specialist Orthoplastics Ltd. on Oct. 14.

Now MedPlast is adding technical molding capability at Orthoplastics’ location in Bacup, England, and working toward constructing a second facility for development work and the manufacturing of implantable devices. For now, Orthoplastics’ manufacturing operations occupy 118,000 square feet.

About 25 percent of MedPlast investments annually are aimed at U.S. Food and Drug Administration criteria to build the company’s medical business. For example, clean room installation is about $125-$150 per square foot, and Faig noted that MedPlast spends about $500,000 per year on clean room capabilities for specific applications, plus another $500,000 to support those requirements.

The total effort includes standardizing metrology equipment, risk mitigation and inspection equipment; software; and integration of systems and training.

“If we are going to have a device with FDA registration, we must have the whole plant compliant,” Faig said. “We have invested heavily in a smart and deliberate process.”

In August, MedPlast completed adding 10,000 square feet for warehousing in Tijuana, Mexico. Now the facility occupies 72,000 square feet, operates 31 presses and increasingly gains volume for final assembly and sterilization of finished goods.

Other 2013 additions involved MedPlast facilities in Fremont, Calif., and Chicopee, Mass.

“We can’t afford to build and hope they will come,” Faig said. “When we build, we build with a little bit of excess.”

In addition to Tempe, Bacup, Tijuana, Fremont and Chicopee, other MedPlast sites include West Berlin, N.J.; Westfield, Pa.; Elkhorn, Wis.; Monticello, Iowa; and, apart from UPG Suzhou, another location in Suzhou.

David Brooks, managing director of Orthoplastics, was assigned additional duties as president of MedPlast International for all operations in Europe and China.

For the MedPlast and Orthoplastics sites, the goal is to move into higher valued-added and more stringent quality-compliant healthcare products, Faig said. Examples include implantables such as vaginal pessaries, ocular plugs, orthopedic implants and hydrocephalus shunts.

Tim Joyner, corporate compliance officer, underscored how MedPlast wants its quality efforts “to be an extension of our customers’ quality and manufacturing systems. When they have regulatory issues, we support them.” Joyner joined MedPlast in June 2009.

Joyner’s staff includes individuals with experience in FDA regulatory issues and biological systems engineering.

Joyner’s team trains MedPlast facility general managers and others to understand and “know the industry we are serving.”

As needed, outside experts provide training on specialized equipment.

“From our perspective, the Orthoplastics acquisition is a glove fit to our overall strategy in filling out the company,” Faig said. “We are creating a MedPlast where the top and bottom look the same from a compliance standpoint. Any [customer] coming in at bottom rung has the same assurance the systems, technology and equipment they are getting is the very best of a system. Tim has been driving that.”

Currently for all MedPlast, Orthoplastics and UPG locations, the company operates about 450 plastics processing machines and occupies more than 1 million square feet for manufacturing functions.

“In general, we are one of largest, if not the largest, healthcare manufacturers in North America and maybe even in Europe,” Faig said.

Robert W. Baird & Co.’s Chicago-based Baird Capital unit owns a majority of MedPlast, and management has a minority position. JZ Capital Partners Ltd. of London and River Cities Capital Funds of Cincinnati were co-investors in the Orthoplastics deal.


Comments

Molder expands in medical, but could divest non-medical unit

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: November 25, 2013 3:50 pm ET
Updated: November 25, 2013 3:51 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Auto supplier Motus adds more production as it buys Leon Interiors

March 5, 2015 10:52 am ET

Motus Integrated Technologies, a Tier 1 automotive interiors supplier, is getting bigger, adding the assets of Tier 2 supplier Leon Interiors Inc.    More

Image

PET makes it possible to have your beer and be sustainable too

March 5, 2015 10:45 am ET

PET could replace stainless steel beer kegs in a material swap product developers say will be more environmentally friendly and cost effective for...    More

Image

Mold maker Moldworx building in Arizona to bring in more molding

March 5, 2015 10:13 am ET

Moldworx LLC has begun leasing more space in Gilbert, Ariz., to allow it to grow its injection molding business.    More

Image

Wright Plastic Products buys Tennessee auto supplier Hope Industries

March 4, 2015 3:51 pm ET

Michigan custom injection molder Wright Plastic Products Co. LLC has acquired Tennessee-based automotive supplier Hope Industries Inc., the companies ...    More

Image

Newell Rubbermaid expanding production, employment in Kansas

March 3, 2015 3:31 pm ET

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is expanding and extending plastics molding technologies at its Winfield, Kan., manufacturing plant and distribution center.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events