Unimark Plastics Co. will boost its high-speed, precision automation capability to tackle a new Span-America Medical Systems Inc. program that extends to 2007.
Unimark will mold and assemble parts for the challenging Secure IV Catheter, which targets the fast-growing market for protection of health-care workers and patients from accidental needle sticks. Unimark also will provide other services including engineering, said Steve Canfield, Unimark sales manager.
Jim O'Reagan, Span-America vice president of research and development, said his company has asked Unimark for ways to reduce costs, including automated processes and possibly different resins.
Currently the Secure IV Catheter includes a specialized gas-barrier polycarbonate, isoprene and compression molded silicone. The materials were selected several years ago, but ``the economics of plastics do not stay constant,'' O'Reagan said.
Unimark will relocate a pilot line to its Greenville, S.C., plant from Massachusetts and start with low-volume production.
The company will start full-scale automated production in April, said Joe Pack, Unimark vice president of sales and marketing. The Greenville plant employs 40.
The intravenous product has a protective shield, audible and tactile indicators and an automatic vein-occlusion valve to prevent bleed-back.
``We are dealing with extreme tolerances in molding of certain parts,'' O'Reagan said. For a taper fit, one surface needs to hold a tolerance of 0.0005 inch. The program also calls for insert molding the needle to a certain orientation.
Span-America of Greenville makes pressure-management products for the medical market and supplies custom foam and packaging products.
Greer, S.C.-based Unimark is a unit of Jarden Corp. of Rye, N.Y., which until June was known as Alltrista Corp. Unimark had 2001 sales of about $48 million, operates 100 injection presses and employs 250.