Plant to manufacture pharmaceutical containment films, 70 to be hired there

ILC Dover is expanding its Irish production footprint by moving to a new location outside Blarney, County Cork, Ireland.

The building, which is expected to be operational during the first quarter of 2019, will include about 10,500 square feet of clean room capacity dedicated to the company’s pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products, company CEO Fran DiNuzzo said. The expansion is expected to create about 70 new jobs there.

Although known by many for the manufacture of protective suits for the American space program, ILC Dover is remarkably diversified, DiNuzzo said. It creates packaging for foods, chemicals, and cosmetics, flood protection gates and tubes that have been installed in the New York City subways system, gas masks, and other respiratory protection products and large, helium-filled aerostats, blimp-like constructs that have numerous military and commercial applications.

The new facility will focus on the manufacture of films used to protect pharmaceutical workers from contact with highly concentrated medicine powders.

“These powders can be dangerous for the production employees in pharma manufacturing due to the concentration of the material prior to final deployment into an individual tablet or pill,” DiNuzzo explained.

“Our technology, made from proprietary specialty films, is used to encapsulate equipment and other process steps to minimize the potential of a production employee being exposed to the material,” he said.

Clean rooms, designed to restrict the number of airborne contaminants in a given area, are common in facilities that manufacture pharmaceutical items. Air entering the rooms is filtered to remove dust particles and air in the rooms is continually cycled through filters to remove additional contaminants.

Although ILC Dover does not manufacture powdered drugs or medicines, those products actually come in contact with the films made by the company, meaning the films must be made under highly-controlled conditions.

“As such, to protect the medicines from­ contamination during production, we are required by our customers to produce them in a controlled environment or clean room,” he said.

Full production at the Blarney plant will depend on how quickly ILC Dover’s customers in Ireland take advantage of its manufacturing capacity and how rapidly the business there continues to grow, DiNuzzo said.

ILC Dover established its Ireland facility in 2007 to support the large number of customers in that country who use its products, DiNuzzo said. The expansion should help workers at the Delaware facility as well, he said.

“There will be no fundamental impact on the Frederica plant other than taking some pressure off our production location here which often runs at maximum capacity,” DiNuzzo said.