Clean Room Addition Expands Medical Moldmaking Niche
Micro Mold Co., Inc. and Plastikos Inc.—sister companies both based in Erie, Pennsylvania—recently completed a medical-focused facilities expansion with the addition of a clean room to further serve its medical customers and secure new business in this growing industry.
Both moldmaker Micro Mold and custom injection molder Plastikos focus on providing medical mold building/molding for small, tight-tolerance components—partnering with customers to not only address challenges in the medical market, but also aerospace, automotive, defense, electronic, and telecommunications industries. According to Philip Katen, President and General Manager of Plastikos, medical devices represent an exciting and challenging market for the plastics industry.
“Now more than ever, OEMs are counting on processors for strong material partnerships, industry know-how and a fierce dedication to solving complex problems,” Katen states.
To that end, the companies collaborated to add a Class 10,000 (ISO 7) clean room with packaging, labeling and assembly with value-added clean room operations including inspection, packaging, labeling and assembly. “Customers have expressed increased interest in—and demand for—clean room production capabilities,” Katen states. “Recently, we’ve added a number of medical OEMs to our customer base, and this expansion enables us to offer more new products and services to the industry.”
Although it was risky to expand its facilities during uncertain economic times, Katen points out that the company paid its “due diligence” and researched for several years before undertaking this endeavor. “We took this one step at a time and really did our homework,” he elaborates. “Since we had laid such a good foundation in the medical market over the years, we believed this was a natural progression. It took us about seven years from concept to completion.”
Plastikos worked with a consultant and a company that specializes in building clean rooms to add the clean room. “Working with these two companies really accelerated the process,” Katen says. “This took three to four months, with probably another month or so of refinements. Then the clean room was finalized and certified. Fortunately, no unforeseen issues arose and it was a very smooth process overall. I credit the proactive work up front to our success as well as partnering with the right individuals and organizations and doing our homework.”
Katen also involved several employees in the process, including his brother Ryan, General Manager of Micro Mold and Engineering Manager of Plastikos. “Ryan worked at a medical OEM before joining us and he was able to bring a lot of his experience and knowledge with finding great suppliers and consultants,” he notes. “He gave us great guidance and recommendations. We also had a dedicated, select group of people from our various production departments involved as well so they could gain awareness and knowledge of the project as well as provide input and perspective.”
To separate Micro Mold and Plastikos from its competition, the Leadership team opted to install a top-notch cleanroom. “Instead of putting in a Class 100,000 we went up to a higher capability level—a Class 10,000 cleanroom,” Katen emphasizes. “Our customers view this cleanroom as a higher level of service (i.e. cleanliness), capability, and thus expands the range or projects that they can partner with Micro Mold and Plastikos to bring to market.”
Marketing efforts through the companies’ agency has helped with name recognition and brand awareness, Katen notes. The companies also have created printed materials for its sales staff. “Thus far, adding the clean room has paid off very well for us,” Katen says. “We have secured new customers, and believe we are only scratching the surface when it comes to the new opportunities that await both companies. We will continue to strive to go the extra mile to exceed our customers’ expectations, get involved very early in their new project launches and help them each step along the way.”
For more information:
Micro Mold / (814) 838-3404
Plastikos / (814) 868-1656
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