Conair Group (Booth W2143) is displaying a simulated clean room environment at NPE 2015 to show off its reinvented MedLine-brand line encompassing 170 models of medical-market equipment in five product platforms.
“We see an opportunity for a new approach to medical processors,” Larry Doyle, Conair president, said in an interview. “We have been working on this initiative for quite a while.”
The aim is to better serve customers with particular operating and compliance requirements for medical processing, Doyle said. Across all lines, Conair has more than 450 products including resin drying systems, blenders, feeders and material-conveying systems, temperature-control units, granulators and upstream and downstream extrusion equipment.
In its focused development of new products for the medical market, Conair used its in-house application expertise and the extensive hands-on processing and operational knowledge of a recent recruit, Matt Zelkovich.
“To me, we are going outside the box and outside the auxiliary equipment environment to address a processor's needs,” Doyle said.
Reinvention of the MedLine product offerings began in late 2013.
Steven Petrakis, vice president of sales for the U.S. and Canada, sees a distinct advantage in the Conair initiative.
“We got an expert on the process and can go into a customer now knowing we have the equipment,” Petrakis said. “The customer won't have to ask.”
Starting in 2006, Conair used the MedLine brand for downstream extrusion equipment producing precision tubing often for multi-lumen heart and brain catheters. Now, Conair has extended the registered MedLine trademark to include its full range of medical market auxiliaries.
Conair assembled the NPE clean room depiction in Orlando on March 18 utilizing fiberglass-reinforced-plastic wall and ceiling materials from Northwest Floor and Wall Co. of Peoria, Ariz.
The simulated environment occupies 150 square feet and provides attendees with accessibility to view MedLine and other equipment in four different levels of contamination control for ISO Class 7 and 8 clean rooms, white rooms and hybrid rooms. Examples exist of high-efficiency particulate air filtration and ductwork.
Inside the room are a mock vertical-clamp injection molding machine with an attached MicroWheel-brand desiccant-wheel dryer, a FLX-brand material handling control system, a compact K Loader vacuum material receiver in 1- and 2-pound versions, a premium Thermolator TW water temperature control unit and a manikin in protective attire, known as a bunny suit, for use in ISO 7 applications. A MicroReceiver feeds material to the MicroWheel dryer.
Through-the-wall connections link to ResinWorks resin drying hoppers and a simulated extruder. Extruded product exiting the die enters the clean room and passes into a cooling tank and puller/cutter unit.
Other MedLine equipment on display includes:
• R-PRO slow-speed conveying system: The patent-pending resin-protection conveying system moves resin at a slow speed to virtually eliminate pellet fracturing, so-called angel hair and pipe wear that high-speed vacuum conveying can cause. Conair began redesign of the system in October after learning earlier that an automotive customer wanted a system that could go to zero for 100 percent verification. Conair fine-tuned the idea and, at NPE, is showing the latest version for multiple end markets including medical.
• Material Vision Proofing system: The next-generation MVP uses a camera to provide automatic 100-percent validation that the correct material is being conveyed to the right destination. The system is set up to distribute resin from the ResinWorks system to all three of the simulated processing machines in the display.
• TB-45 TrueBlend-brand gravimetric blender: This unit is mounted on a floor stand.
Operationally, Conair has its headquarters and technology center in Cranberry Township, Pa., and is a brand of privately held IPEG Inc., also based in Cranberry Township.
Regarding Conair sales, Doyle said, “we are ahead of where we were last year, and we are bullish about the remainder of 2015.”
Manufacturing occurs at plants in Franklin, Pa., and Pinconning, Mich.
The Franklin facility occupies about 180,000 square feet for manufacturing and assembly functions. A strategic supplier leases approximately one third of Conair's space and provides extensive fabrication and painting services.
The 50,000-square-foot Pinconning location makes larger-sized and custom downstream extrusion equipment. Conair purchased Michigan Plastics Machinery Co. of Kawkawlin, Mich., in 2007 and relocated the operation to Pinconning in 2011 after constructing a purpose-built factory, extrusion laboratory and training facility.
Conair sales and service sites are in Shanghai; Ahmedabad, India; New Taipei City, Taiwan; Singapore; and Guadalupe, México.
Zelkovich key in MedLine equipment