The following briefs were gathered by Plastics News Washington-based staff reporter Steve Toloken at Medical Design and Manufacturing West '98, held Jan. 20-22 in Anaheim, Calif.
ANC improves plants for medical packaging
American National Can Co. is in the midst of upgrading its Cleveland plant to specialize in medical and pharmaceutical packaging, similar to a $15 million modernization at its Asheville, N.C., facility completed in 1997.
Cleveland and Asheville will become the company's main plants for that health-care related packaging, but other plants will continue to do some of that work, said Andy Bolton, ANC's manager of business development for health-care and specialty flexible packaging.
Company officials would not disclose the size of the investment, but Scott Keller, medical marketing manager for Chicago-based ANC, said the Cleveland plant would have similar capabilities to North Carolina. ANC officials said they did not know when the upgrade would be finished.
Cleveland will have adhesive and extrusion lamination capabilities and rotogravure presses, but it may not have filtration or environmental control systems similar to Asheville's, company officials said.
Coast Converters Inc. moving Allied division
Coast Converters Inc. plans to move its stock bag division, formerly Allied Packaging, into a new 17,000-square-foot facility across the street from its main Los Angeles plant.
That will free up space for an as-yet unspecified expansion of its printing, bag-making or extrusion capability, said Chief Operating Officer Sol Schor.
The company also built a new three-layer extrusion system, the company's first multilayer extruder, and started operating it four months ago, Schor said. It is the firm's 11th extruder, and is capable of doing about 2.5 million pounds a year.
The company is trying to take advantage of a growing market for packaging with better barriers for gas transmission, he said. Coast also added an eight-color printing press, spending $1.2 million for both machines, Schor said.
Sun in negotiations to buy insert molders
Metal-stamping and insert molding firm Sun Microstamping Inc. is in talks to acquire some plastic insert molders, and has seen its plastics business take off, said Robert Bears, chief executive officer.
Bears declined to provide additional details about what type of insert molder the Clearwater, Fla.-based Sun wants to buy. The company is spending about $1 million to beef up its plastic capabilities by adding three insert molding machines recently and planning to buy five more by June, he said.
``The plastics side of our business is growing,'' Bears said. ``We are integrating the stamping and molding — it's an area we always wanted to have expertise in.''
Sun does work for medical, electronic and automotive companies, and only began doing plastics work three years ago, he said. The company has about $35 million in annual sales, about 20 percent from plastics, he said.
True Technology touts package test method
A Newton, Mass., company said it has developed the first method of testing porous medical packaging without destroying it.
True Technology Inc. said its Sealcheck 210 testing system sells for about $70,000, and can detect leaks passing through holes as small as a human hair by putting a barrier layer over the package, introducing helium gas and then mapping the concentration of the helium, said True Technology President Louis Slaughter.
The system also provides verifiable data, which company officials said is important to the Food and Drug Administration. The firm is working on another tester for food and electronics packaging, he said.
The machine cost $2 million to develop and can handle two or three packages per minute, he said. The first machine has been sold to medical device maker Medtronic and the second was at the show, Slaughter said.