ROCK HILL, S.C.—It has taken the better part of a year, but the pharmaceutical unit of Qure Medical has begun to gain some traction.
And that's good news for the Rock Hill plant, the epicenter of Qure Medical's North American pharmaceutical operation after last year's purchase of Tompkins Pharmaceutical Rubber.
According to Plant Manager Keith Blockinger, Qure Medical has received approval from a majority of Tomkins' key customers and is selling products made at the Rock Hill plant—primarily stoppers for drug vials—on a weekly basis.
“The pharma business itself is one of the key focuses going forward as far as adding to our portfolio of what we do,” Blockinger said. “Everything we do here is flashless, wasteless. The advantage: We produce a very high precision part while keeping very, very tight tolerances.”
Qure Medical, a unit of Twinsburg, Ohio-based Q Holding Co., closed the deal in January 2014 to purchase Plainfield-N.J.-based Tomkins, a manufacturer of rubber components for the pharmaceutical industry. Tomkins had been in operation since 1908. Itran Precision Rubber purchased it in late 1998.
As soon as the transaction closed, Qure Medical began the process of closing Tomkins' New Jersey facility, supplying current orders with inventory on hand and transferring production to Rock Hill. Blockinger said during the first six months after the acquisition, a program was developed to build the required inventory for the transfer.
Then the process began of creating the infrastructure to handle the new machinery at the Rock Hill facility, while at the same time working on some of the qualifications and approvals needed to satisfy customers' needs for components listed in Drug Master Files with the Food and Drug Administration.
“We have a very strong system, so putting those systems into the pharmaceutical business was not a simple task, but it went very well,” Blockinger said. “From that aspect, (the pharmaceutical transition) was not hard.
“The qualification is somewhat difficult because it's a pharmaceutical customer, and that has taken time. But we have the majority of the customers now quality certified, and we're now shipping product.”