Greensboro, N.C.-based injection molder Core Technology Molding Corp. has seen an exponential increase in medical production over the last year as it takes on the production of 100 million plunger rods for non-COVID-19-related vaccines.
Geoff Foster, CEO and president of Core Tech, said 25 million of those plunger rods are intended for infant vaccinations. The plunger rods require higher levels of documentation and data collection than some of the medical products it's historically produced, like jars for cornea transplants.
"[The jars are] really important. When someone dies, they have 48 hours to extract the cornea and then they fly them all over the world," Foster said. "But touching 100 million people a year, vs. 50,000 cornea transplants a year, there's just much more risk involved.
"Twenty-five million infants are depending on us to make a perfect product every time, defect-free," he added. "That's impactful globally. It's very rewarding."
To meet the need, among other projects, Core Tech doubled its clean room capacity, adding another Class 10,000 ISO 7 space for assembly to complement its existing clean room space for injection molding.
One of the injection molder's customers, Merck & Co. Inc., partnered with Johnson & Johnson on its vaccine efforts, which created opportunities for Core Tech on manufacturing for Merck's other vaccine customers, Foster said.
More than 50 percent of Core Tech's business will be pharmaceutical or medical this year, he said, up from 5 percent last year.
"We're seeing such growth in pharmaceutical," Foster said. "We're looking to add on to the building or add another building. And we've only been in this building two and a half years."
One of the biggest hurdles the company faced this year as it grew so quickly, he said, was getting enough labor to meet the increased demand.
Core Tech has about 10 open positions as it continues to take on more projects. It added about five new employees over the last year.
"We're hiring now, and because we're operating 24/7, we'll work 350-plus days this year," Foster said. "Finding people to work first shift is easier than finding people to work second and third shift."