In response to demands from both members and nonmembers, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has created a medical products section to serve as a professional forum to help the industry grow and allow members to exchange ideas.
The medical products section will be part of SPI's Alliance of Plastics Processors and will have its first organizational meeting at the APP annual conference, April 1-3 in Memphis.
Five companies have agreed to be the core members of the new group: Mack Molding Co. in Arlington, Vt.; Bemis Manufacturing Co. in Sheboygan Falls, Wis.; FM Corp. in Rogers, Ark.; Bauer Plastics Technology Group in Clinton Falls, Mich.; and Unit Industries Inc. in Fullerton, Calif.
Allen Weidman, APP executive director, said the group ``represents a full spectrum of the industry,'' from mold makers to processors to resin suppliers and machinery manufacturers. That fact should appeal to original equipment manufacturers, designers and people who specify materials in medical products, he added.
Weidman said he does not know yet how many companies will participate in the first meeting, but he will be ``absolutely thrilled with 30 or 40,'' he said in a Feb. 20 phone interview. He hopes to involve a number of companies from Washington-based SPI's Thermoforming Institute as well.
The group is forming at a time when the plastics medical-device industry is growing 8-12 percent annually. Research firm Frost & Sullivan Inc. projects medical-device sales worldwide will reach $139.9 billion in 2011, more than double the 2004 figure of $63.8 billion.
SPI President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Carteaux said he wants the new group to help companies grow their business by promoting the beneficial uses of plastics; providing a networking forum for customers, suppliers, and allied associations and groups; and monitoring new technologies that can be used in medical products.
In particular, Weidman pointed to biodegradable plastics and the use of nanocoatings as new technologies that offer promise.
Karen Miles, APP assistant director, and Melissa Hockstad, SPI senior technology director, also will play roles in the new medical products section.