To increase medical-device manufacturing capabilities, custom injection molder Plastikos Inc. is adding a third press in its Class 10,000 clean room at its headquarters plant in Erie, Pa.
“There is no firm date by when that will be completed, but we are working to integrate that press now,” President and General Manager Philip Katen said in a Nov. 7 telephone interview.
Katen said the new 88-ton Arburg Allrounder injection press will be the second of that size for its clean room, which also has a 66-ton press.
“We are adding it to expand our footprint in medical-device manufacturing,” Katen said.
In a short period of time, he said, medical-device manufacturing has become a significant contributor to the company's sales.
“A few years ago, we had very little revenues from medical — maybe 5 percent — and no clean room,” Katen said.
The clean room was completed in early 2011. When the clean room was under construction, in mid-2010, medical was about 10 percent of Plastikos' sales.
Today, according to Katen, medical accounts for between 15 percent and 20 percent of the company's total sales, which were $16.8 million for its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2011.
“In the next two to three years, we see medical approaching or exceeding 25 percent,” he said. “Three to five years from now we'd like it to be at least one-third of our revenues, and hopefully we will get it to be 50 percent of our revenues and maybe beyond.”
The new press will significantly boost capacity and shorten lead times, Katen said. “It will enable us to provide customers with quicker turnarounds,” he said. The company's Class 7 clean room gives it an advantage in competing for medical applications that require an extra-clean manufacturing environment, he added.
“Our ISO-level, Class 7 clean room is one-quarter of a magnitude cleaner than the ISO-level 8 clean room most medical manufacturers have,” he said.
Katen declined to specify products or market segments being targeted. But, he said, Plastikos currently supplies dental-care components, fluid delivery systems, and products for eye care, diabetes care and surgical applications.
“Precision manufacturing and high-end, highly engineered parts with tight tolerances fit our expertise,” he said.
Depending on how quickly the company meets its medical-market targets, an expansion of the clean room or an additional facility could be needed down the road, Katen said.
Plastikos was the Plastics News Processor of the Year in 2010.