Switzerland-based specialty chemicals group Clariant has unveiled a plan to expand its facility in Lewiston, Maine, US.

Under the expansion, a new compounding line will be installed to help meet the increasing demand for Clariant’s pre-coloured medical plastic compounds, which the company provides for medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging applications.

Scheduled to become operational by late 2017, the planned compounding line will be built around a new 70mm extruder.

Once commissioned, the line will be able to produce large batches of pre-coloured medical plastic compounds, such as polyolefins, ABS, PC and PC alloys, as well as specialty resins.

In addition, the Lewiston site will be expanded to improve its procedures and material-handling.

"Over the last five years, Clariant has pioneered the development of masterbatches for the healthcare sector."

Clariant global segment healthcare polymer solutions head Steve Duckworth said: “Over the last five years, Clariant has pioneered the development of masterbatches for the healthcare sector.

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“These are colour and additive concentrates that are added to natural polymers during moulding or extrusion of finished products.

“However, in some cases, medical processors may prefer to use a pre-coloured compound instead, perhaps for ease of handling or because of technical difficulties in the moulding or extrusion process. And yet, they have the same need for controlled, consistent and compliant materials.”

The company’s Lewiston plant is one of three sites, which are designed and operated to produce materials used in medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging.

The other two facilities are situated in Malmö, Sweden, and Singapore.

These three sites are currently producing masterbatches and pre-coloured compounds in various sizes, ranging from 25kg to 2,500kg.