RTP Company (RTP) has opened a ultra-clean compounding center for the production of clean compounds for sensitive applications in medical, electronic, and other industries at its Winona, Minnesota. At present the facility is operational with two extrusion lines, the 3,300-sq. ft. (305 m2). The self-contained ultra clean compounding center has capacity for four lines and is capable of producing almost any product in company's portfolio.

As a global compounder of custom-engineered thermoplastic, our customers continue to challenge us to be at the forefront of many technologies. One common theme we hear from many markets is the desire for clean compounds, according to Gregg Newby, global director of marketing and business development at RTP. In response, we have established an Ultra Clean Compounding Center to manufacture materials for applications with higher quality requirements. The new center is a controlled production environment offering significant improvements that allows us to now supply superior quality clean compounds.

Extrusion and post-extrusion process (cooling, pelletizing, classifying and packaging) are carried out inside a climate-controlled, positive-pressure environment with interlocks to limit access.

Extruders are fully programmed with touchscreen controls that allow complete process monitoring and data acquisition. Compounds produced in our new facility are also ideal for applications that require extensive data recording and robust traceability of the manufacturing process, added Newby.

Rigorous operating and finished product testing protocols are used to lessen any potential for cross-contamination during manufacture. Good manufacturing practices are used in management and operation of the new center. Tighter control over the environment and specifications during manufacture results in more consistent compounds and eliminates sources of contamination. We can ensure that materials produced in this facility will set new industry standards, explained Newby.

Preliminary demand for clean materials has chiefly been driven by the medical and electronics industries, but applications requiring improved cleanliness are quickly diffusing to other industries where the cost of contamination in rejected parts is extremely high.