Contract manufacturing group Helix Medical hopes that expansion of its global production capacity will help it corner the pharmaceutical industry's injection moulding thermoplastics market.
Helix' new capacity includes two thermoplastics injection moulding presses that are capable of applying between 28 and 300 tonnes of pressure during manufacturing operations.
The firm has also installed advanced silicone injection moulding technologies with 7 silicone cells, meaning that it is able to manufacture both thermoplastic and silicone-based product in the same class 100,000 cleanroom.
Thermoplastics and silicones have a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical sector, ranging from the medical devices and drug delivery market to the packaging and manufacturing sectors.
Helix' CEO Dr. Jorg Schneewind said that the expansion had positioned the firm to: "meet the needs of our customers with these additional manufacturing operations and continue our hallmark service offerings of extrusion and custom moulding of platinum-cured silicone products for the medical device, health care, pharmaceutical and biotech industries."
Increasingly, pharmaceutical firms are outsourcing certain aspects of manufacturing operations in order to keep pace with the growing global drug market, which is expected to grow by between 3 and 6 per cent this year according to a recent report by US market analyst IMS Health. This is particularly true if, as is the case with thermoplastics moulding, if the discipline is outside the core focus of the pharmaceutical sector.
Furthermore a new report by the Freedonia Group predicts that the US pharmaceutical packaging market will be worth $16bn (€10.3bn) by 2012, providing an additional market for manufacturers offering thermoplastics manufacturing solutions.
Sites in the US and China
The Helix facilities in question are the 72,000 square foot plant in Baldwin Park, California and the 35,000 square foot medical component site in Shenzhen, China. The plants were formerly owned by US Thermoplastics specialist APEC, which Helix acquired earlier this year.
Helix' other production operation, which is in Gloucester, Massachusetts, was gained through the acquisition of Jenline Industries in 2004. The site is currently used for the manufacture of silicon-based products for the healthcare, biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries.