Bemis Co.'s PerfecSeal division will open its first manufacturing plant dedicated solely to films for the medical industry.
Minneapolis-based Bemis will launch the 125,000-square-foot facility in March, said William Singer, vice president of marketing for PerfecSeal, a producer of medical packaging.
The plant will be in New London, Wis., where Bemis' Curwood Group operates a film-manufacturing complex. PerfecSeal, part of Curwood, currently occupies space at Curwood facilities in New London and Oshkosh, Wis., to produce blown film, Singer said. Those operations will move to the new plant.
The facility will distribute packaging film to PerfecSeal locations worldwide, including plants in Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Ireland and Malaysia, according to Singer. Several of those facilities convert the polyethylene film for health care.
The new facility will help PerfecSeal expand capacity and give the company a plant designed entirely for health-care applications, Singer said. Having a fully dedicated medical-film facility also will help the company cut costs and better control the quality of the film, he said.
``We'll produce the same health-care products out of a new plant,'' Singer said. ``Those products require an exhaustive validation process to prove quality to customers. Our new plant will be designed with some uniqueness for that industry.''
The facility will feature atmospheric controls for a clean manufacturing environment. PerfecSeal will start with 24 employees, two multilayer blown film lines and four slitters. The company also is considering adding a second phase to the building, possibly in 2004, Singer said.
The plant will boost health-care film capacity significantly at Oshkosh-based PerfecSeal, which currently claims to be second globally, behind Rexam plc.
Bemis bought PerfecSeal in 1996. The unit makes packaging for syringes, sutures, surgical gloves, gauze, catheters and stents. PerfecSeal would like to expand those offerings into the pharmaceutical market, Singer said.
At other facilities, the company manufactures thermoformed trays and lids, tubing, pharmaceutical labels and other health-care products.
``For the medical industry, there are a lot of regulatory issues that must be faced,'' William Hare, director of Bemis Clysar shrink film, said during Pack Expo International, held Nov. 3-7 in Chicago. ``Having a plant dedicated to the medical industry will help us focus attention on those issues and grow that part of our business.''
Bemis ranked first on Plastics News' list of North American film and sheet makers, with $1.8 billion of 2001 sales.