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Cook Expanding Illinois Polymer Facility

The new facility manufactures poly-tetra-flourine-ethelyne, which is used as a non-stick coating on many Cook products.

Cook Medical Catheter

Photo: Cook Medical

Cook catheters use a non-stick polymer known as PTFE to move with ease throughout the human body.

Cook Group is spending $20 million to expand its Canton, Illinois polymer facility. The move will create 350 new jobs in an area that has seen economic hardship since the 1980s.

When Bill Cook began making catheters in his Bloomington apartment in the 1950s, he used a non-stick polymer commonly known as Teflon. Now, poly-tetra-flourine-ethelyne, or PTFE, is used in every Cook manufacturing facility.

Cook Vice President of Polymer Technology David Lessard says the economic impact of the new Canton facility will be seen across the country.

“Some of it will come back into Bloomington and be used in the current Cook facilities both here, and in Ellettsville, as well as Spencer,” he says. “The rest, about 40-percent, will go to the endoscopic division in Winston-Salem North Carolina.”

Cook uses the polymer as tubing for medical devices that enter the human body. The non-stick properties of PTFE allow those devices to move with ease into and throughout the body.

Cook’s Canton plant sits on the site of International Harvester’s old assembly plant. The plant, which closed in the 1980’s, was an EPA Superfund site Cook cleaned up in 2010.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

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