PureTec Corp.'s Colorite Polymers division is expanding capacity and introducing medical-grade vinyl compounding at its Sparks, Nev., facility, the firm announced May 31. Colorite spokesman William Walkowiak said in a telephone interview that his firm is investing about $1 million in compounding equipment and debottlenecking programs in the first phase of the project, scheduled for completion by August. He did not disclose how much capacity will be added in this phase but said Colorite eventually plans to double capacity, now at about 25 million pounds per year, in later phases during the next year.
Colorite wants to make medical vinyl compounds closer to its West Coast customers, which it now serves from Eastern plants, primarily its Ridgefield, N.J., facility. It estimates that about 25 percent of U.S. medical devices are assembled on the West Coast and in northern Mexico.
``By upgrading and expanding our Nevada plant, we will serve these customers more efficiently,'' Bob Mitchell, Colorite's vice president of operations, said in a news release.
Walkowiak said the company's 200,000 square feet of space in Sparks can accommodate the expansion. That facility now focuses on producing vinyl compounds for garden hose production by other Colorite operations. It needs to upgrade to meet more stringent purity and other standards demanded by medical customers.
Colorite estimated it has about half the U.S. market for medical-grade vinyl compounds used to make tubing and other disposable products.
Separately, Colorite recently announced plans to import specialty vinyl compounds from Vinnolit Kunststoff GmbH of Ismaning, Germany.
Ted Blandy, general manager of Colorite's specialty resins business unit, said a range of compounds will be imported for foamed applications such as flooring and mats, and high-end vinyl-acetate applications such as automotive sealants and screen printing materials.
Three months ago PureTec's Colorite division opened a vinyl garden hose production plant in Mississauga, Ontario. Garden hose accounted for about a quarter of PureTec's sales of $73.2 million for the year ended Jan. 31.