Poly Hi Solidur Inc. is spending $2.5 million to bulk up its MediTech medical device business, adding a customized compression molding press in Fort Wayne, Ind., and looking at future expansion.
The shapes maker will install the press and add equipment in two buildings in Fort Wayne. The MediTech equipment will be dedicated solely to compression molding medical-grade resins, according to Mark Evans, MediTech worldwide business manager.
Poly Hi claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of semifinished, ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene shapes. Meditech makes artificial hips, knees and other orthopedic implants. In addition to compression molding, the unit extrudes rods for implants, Evans said.
Until now, all of the company's compression molding of medical sheet was done at Poly Hi's Delmar, Pa., plant, while the Fort Wayne site focused on extrusion. Much of the U.S. compression molding work will shift from Pennsylvania to Fort Wayne, Evans said. Overflow molding will continue in Delmar, and Poly Hi will consider adding a new press there if business continues to grow.
MediTech had a record year in 2004, said Evans, who did not divulge sales.
``The aging population in the United States has helped in our growth,'' Evans said. ``People don't sacrifice quality of life and are willing to spend their own money to buy implants.''
The new press, which should be ready by March, will be fitted with tight processing controls to allow consistent sheet production in a clean room environment, Evans said. The company is buying a base press from an unspecified equipment maker and adding in-house process controls.
The company also plans to install a similar, specialized molding machine in its Vreden, Germany, plant later this year.
The $2.5 million investment includes an annealing oven, a saw and some auxiliary equipment at another Fort Wayne Poly Hi plant.
Poly Hi, a unit of Neenah, Wis.-based Menasha Corp., is based in Fort Wayne, and has polymer research laboratories and production there.
The city of Fort Wayne is considering Poly Hi's application for a five-year abatement on real estate and personal property taxes, said Elissa McGauley, a city economic development specialist.
At first, Poly Hi will add two employees, bringing its total in Fort Wayne to 198, McGauley said. The city will assist with future jobs and worker training, added Anita Yamanaka-Bryan, vice president of operations with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.