ANAHEIM, Calif.—Materials supplier Clariant International Ltd. is expanding its plant in Lewiston, Maine, installing a new compounding line to help meet growing demand for pre-colored medical plastic compounds.
The Swiss specialty company announced Feb. 6 that the new capacity for the compounds—supplied under the Mevopur brand name—will come on-line in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The new compounding line, built around a new 70 millimeter extruder, will be able produce larger batch sizes of 6,000 to 12,000 pounds or larger at a high rate, said the Muttenz-based company. The EN-ISO13485 (2012) certified site is also being expanded to improve process-flow and material-handling.
"The investment in the line is a few million [dollars] because it's also an investment in infrastructure," Stephen Duckworth, head of polymer solutions for Clariant's health care segment, said at the UBM Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Anaheim. "A high-throughput compounding line uses more raw materials per hour so you need the space to handle it. That's why we also need to expand our building."
Production at the site will focus on materials such as polyolefins, ABS, polycarbonate and PC alloys as well as specialty resins like thermoplastic urethanes, and cyclic olefins.
Clariant's Mevopur materials are offered for applications in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging.
The Lewiston plant, as well as facilities in Malmo, Sweden, and Singapore, are the company's three global sites for production of materials used in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging.
Products for LSR
Clariant also introduced a range of opaque and translucent liquid colors and additives for liquid silicone rubber, which has become the material of choice for a wide range of applications like sealing, wound care, tubing, catheters and personal monitoring devices.
In addition, the company developed a specific carrier system for the masterbatches in the product line, called Mevopur LQ, which offers a method of coloring that uses pigments and additives for the concentrate that have been tested for biocompatibility and are available with regulatory declarations.
"The advantage of the liquid carrier is that, particularly with transparent polymers, it's easy to incorporate and you can use less of it," Duckworth said.
The liquid color family includes a transparent amber suitable for PET and glycol-modified PET materials often used in pharmaceutical packaging.
"I call amber PET Ray-Bans for pharmaceuticals because that's what it is doing," Duckworth said referring to the brand of sunglasses. "The amber is blocking out light to protect the drug inside."