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8/20/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Invasion of the Giant Cleanrooms!

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Fed by growing demand for medical molding, cleanrooms keep getting bigger and bigger.

Medical plastics is a hot processing sector, and it seems that everywhere you look, medical cleanrooms are becoming more numerous and much, much bigger. The biggest I’ve seen personally is the molding room at medical contract manufacturer SMC Ltd. in Devens, Mass. Measuring 23,000 ft2, it houses 37 Fanuc Roboshot all-electric presses of 110 and 330 tons (photo). It was installed some two-and-half years ago. Next to it is a similar sized cleanroom with molding machines and automated assembly equipment. As of this writing, a third clean room of similar size is being built to accommodate anticipated customer needs.

Meanwhile, custom molder and contract manufacturer GW Plastics is adding a 13,000 ft2 Class 8 cleanroom capable of housing an additional 30 injection machines at its Royalton, Vt., plant. Those machines could be 55 to 300 tons or even larger. They will be all-electric and hybrid models from Engel and Sumitomo Demag. This will be the company’s single largest cleanroom. Target date for completion is around Thanksgiving.

In addition, Tessy Plastics Corp. is expanding a 21,000 ft2 Class 8 cleanroom at Skaneateles, N.Y., by an additional 15,000 ft2. About 10% of that addition will be occupied by new medical business. Tessy is also expanding a Class 8 cleanroom at the East Building at its Elbridge, N.Y., site from the current 6000 ft2 to 15,000 ft2 to accommodate incoming medical business.

Numerous other molders are adding cleanroom space on a smaller scale. Currier Plastics in Auburn, N.Y., is building its first permanent cleanroom—it has used portable cleanrooms up to now—of about 9000 ft2. When completed later this year, the Class 8 facility will house injection molding (44 to 500 tons), extrusion blow molding and assembly.

And Natech Plastics in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., is also outfitting its first cleanroom for custom medical injection molding. August is the target for completing the Class 8 facility of 5000 ft2 with room for up to five Arburg machines.


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