Ryan Katen, general manager of Plastikos Medical, commented, “Our first goal is always to reduce raw material consumption. We work hand-in-hand with our clients up-front to utilize full hot runner systems where viable. However, there are times when the customer’s product design and corresponding part geometry does not allow for that type of runnerless system. In those unique cases, we often need to build a small cold runner or a hybrid hot-to-cold [runner] system. Even with a hybrid system, the waste from small, partial cold runners can really add up when the volume is extremely high, as we see in many single-use medical devices. Nearly 99% of the reusable regrind material that we produce at Plastikos Medical is generated via a hot-to-cold runner system.”
Since opening last year, Plastikos Medical has already doubled their press capacity and consumed approximately 160,000 lbs of raw material in 2020. Of that total raw material consumption, approximately 100,000 lbs. was utilized to produce the finished, molded medical part. Then the remaining ~60,000 lbs. are entirely reused and/or recycled through multiple partnerships that Plastikos Medical has established.
Katen added, “We have several key recycling business partners that will either purchase or take our high-quality regrind material, which in turn can then be used for other non-medical applications where regrind usage is permitted.”
Plastikos Medical continues to explore other methods to further reduce its overall raw material consumption. By the end of 2022, Plastikos Medical expects to further reduce material consumption by more than 100,000 lbs. through multiple re-tool and mold retrofit engineering efforts.
Danielle Bentley, molding manager at Plastikos Medical, said, “We are actively working with several key medical device OEM accounts to retrofit several of their high-volume production tools to further eliminate the current hot-to-cold runner system. As hot runner technologies continues to improve and advance, including with new side-gated systems that were not available a few years ago. And in these cases, there is usually a sizable cost-savings to the client, so that our Team can help to justify the ROI for these new and/or mold retrofit opportunities.”
Along with attaining a 100 percent resin sustainability program, Plastikos Medical has also invested in several other environmentally conscious efforts such as: maximizing natural lighting throughout the facility, including on the Cleanroom Molding Floor, throughout the warehouse, and Loading Dock areas, utilizing high-efficiency LED lighting that automatically adjusts (or turns-off) when natural lighting is sufficient to light the space, stormwater management collection system, among other environmentally friendly investments.