Continuing its push into the medical-device market, the Engineered Rubber and Plastics Group of Applied Tech Products Corp. is investing $100 million in its plant in West Berlin, N.J.
``We are growing very quickly in hand-held disposable medical devices and surgical instruments - particularly where overmolding is required,'' said Mike Torti, group vice president and chief marketing officer of the ATP unit. Both are based in Wayne, Pa. ``More and more surgeons want a soft touch on their instruments.''
The company also has medical-device plants in Elkhorn, Wis., and Tempe, Ariz., with all of the firm's medical sales to North American markets.
However, Torti said ATP is negotiating with a contract manufacturer in southeast China to create a joint venture that would provide additional capabilities for medical-device assembly, injection molding and rotational molding.
``As [original equipment manufacturers] set up shop in China, we want to be able to supply them,'' Torti said at Medical Design & Manufacturing East, held June 12-14 in New York. ``As we go forward, we want to begin serving the Chinese domestic market within three years.''
Medical devices account for 30 percent of the sales of the $115 million firm, vs. 10-15 percent four years ago. He said he expects the business to account for half of sales by the end of 2009 and 75 percent by the end of 2011.
``It has been a strategic initiative for the last four years that gained a lot of traction last year,'' Torti said. ``It builds value for the company because it is high-end, more precise molding.''
Torti said that by the first quarter of 2008 the company will add three 200-ton, two-shot, auto-rotating molding machines to the three it already has in West Berlin. The expansion also will double the size of its white room to 15,000 square feet. The company also has 40 single-shot injection presses in West Berlin.
The ATP unit makes trocars, staplers, auto-sutures and other hand-held, single-use, disposable surgical products for OEMs in applications where thermoplastic elastomers are molded over polycarbonates and medical-grade ABS. It also makes medicinal applicators and hand-held diagnostic equipment for the women's health market.
Presently, the West Berlin plant accounts for 30 percent of the company's medical business and Elkhorn 50 percent, but Torti said he expects those numbers to flip in the next three years.
``We see rapid growth at the West Berlin facility over the next three years,'' said Torti. ``There is an enormous opportunity in front of us.'' He said more than 75 percent of the West Berlin plant will be dedicated to medical by the end of 2010, vs. 25 percent today.
Likewise, he said he expects Wisconsin production to be 100 percent medical within two years, up from 75 percent today, as the company moves black rubber industrial production into a joint venture in China. The Elkhorn plant does rubber overmolding on silicone and metal parts.
The Tempe plant makes a mix of medical, pharmaceutical and consumer packaging.