February 11, 2015

ANAHEIM, CALIF.—Vermont-based GW Plastics is breaking into high-speed medical molding with the addition of two 240-ton injection molding machines, the company announced at the 30th annual MD&M West conference and trade show Feb. 10 in Anaheim.

The twin 48-cavity Nestal molders will operate in a new cell of the existing Class 8 cleanroom at GW's Bethel, Vt., headquarters. The company expects to have the new equipment validated by the middle of 2015, said Anthony T. Fleszar, North America sales manager.

The high-speed nature of the runs—sub-seven seconds officially, but eventually quicker, Fleszar said—presents new challenges for GW, not just in moving the resin but also the finished goods.

“It's caused us to rethink our overall manufacturing process,” he said.

Specially designed robotics plus end-of-arm tooling, automated packaging and 24/7 quality control are part of the $1.5 million investment, as GW takes on a new customer in the eye care market.

“We've crept up on this cavitation, but this is a big step, maintaining this speed,” Fleszar said. “The process doesn't stop; the parts just keep coming.”

A contract molder specializing in complex injection molded thermoplastics and silicones for the health care, automotive and consumer markets, GW Plastics was Plastics News' 2009 Plastics News Processor of the Year award.