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Clariant Will Expand Plant in Lewiston, ME To Produce More Medical Plastic Compounds

  • Announcement made at Pharmapack Europe and MD&M West
  • New extrusion line to be operational in Q4 2017
  • Additional capacity for MEVOPUR® medical-compliant materials
Muttenz, February 6, 2017 – Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, announces it will expand its plant in Lewiston, ME, and install a new compounding line to help meet growing demand for pre-colored medical plastic compounds that are supplied under the MEVOPUR® brand name. The new capacity will come on-line in Q4 2017.

The news is being released at Pharmapack Europe 2017 in Paris (February 1-3) where Clariant is exhibiting on stand C35/C37, and at MD&M West 2017 (booth #2450), which is being held in Anaheim, CA, February 7 - 9.

The new compounding line, built around a new 70-mm extruder, will be able produce larger batch sizes (e.g.: 3000 to 6000kg /6000 to 12000lbs 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," says Steve Duckworth, Head of Global Segment Healthcare Polymer Solutions, "Clariant has pioneered the development of masterbatches for the healthcare sector. 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 that 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 <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 to 2500kg/50 to 5000 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.

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