The new compounding line, built around a new 70-mm extruder, will be able produce larger batch sizes (e.g.: 3,000 kg. to 6,000 kg./6,000 lbs. to 12,000 lbs. or larger) at high throughput rates. Production will focus on materials such as polyolefins, ABS, PC and PC alloys as well as specialty resins like TPU, and cyclic olefins. The EN-ISO13485 (2012) certified site in Lewiston is also being expanded to improve process-flow and material-handling.
“Over the last five years, Clariant has pioneered the development of masterbatches for the healthcare sector," said Steve Duckworth, head of Global Segment Healthcare Polymer Solutions. "These are color and additive concentrates that are added to natural polymers during molding or extrusion of finished products. However, in some cases, medical processors may prefer to use a pre-colored compound instead, perhaps for ease of handling or because of technical difficulties in the molding or extrusion process. And yet, they have the same need for controlled, consistent, and compliant materials.”
Clariant’s MEVOPUR materials are offered for applications in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging, where strict regulations on materials and change control apply. The Lewiston plant is one of three global sites designed and operated to produce materials used in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging. The other two facilities are located in Malmö, Sweden, and Singapore. All are certified to EN:ISO13485 (2012) and can use the same validated raw-material ingredients and processes so the same products can be produced at any of the sites. Raw materials are pre-tested to standards commonly required for device and drug filings, e.g.: USP <87><88> (‘USP Class VI’) and ISO10993.
This new capacity complements equipment and plant investments aimed at compounding engineering resins and high-temperature polymers and, most recently, completion of a special installation in Lewiston for processing fluoropolymers such as FEP, ETFE, and PVDF.
Clariant already operates several smaller lines—in Lewiston and Clariant’s other MEVOPUR facilities—which produce masterbatches and pre-colored compounds in lot sizes ranging from 25 kg. to 2,500 kg./50 lbs. to 5,000 lbs. In addition, production capacity for compounds is also being added during the first half of 2017 in Singapore, to handle increasing demand of color compounds for local and international customers. These small and medium-sized lots are in high demand, especially in the medical market, since many resin producers have discontinued or severely curtailed their custom-color offerings in anything smaller than full-truck or railcar quantities.
Clariant is a speciality chemicals company, formed in 1995 as a spinoff from Sandoz.