DAYVILLE, CONN. — With the grand opening of its 220,000-square-foot research, engineering and production facility, Plastics Color Corp. is positioning itself for future growth. PCC produces custom color concentrates and specialty compounds, as well as dry and liquid colorants, at four U.S. manufacturing plants. Its headquarters and primary sales offices remain in Somerset, N.J.
"Compounding has become so sophisticated — more sophisticated than making color. If you can't match three pigments, you might as well get out of it. There may be seven, eight or nine ingredients in a compound now," said Philip E. Kamins, president and chairman of PMC Global Inc., the Sun Valley, Calif.-based parent of PCC.
With the help of a $5 million low-interest loan from the state of Connecticut, the company purchased a modern one-story building on a 60-acre site in Dayville in March 1999 and had it refurbished to its standards.
"When we decided to move out of our old building [in Northbridge, Mass.] we looked in a 50-mile radius," said Raymond C. Lachapelle, president of Plastics Color Corp. since 1980. "The state of Connecticut and the townspeople have been very helpful."
The plant is a subsidiary of PCC. When the operation was in Massachusetts, it was known as Coz Plastics Inc. The Dayville plant has been renamed Plastics Color & Compounding Inc., in an effort to describe what it does more accurately, according to Lachapelle.
Plastics Color & Compounding's mixers include a 50-liter Guix Banbury with a two-roll mill and a 75-liter Skinner Banbury with an 8-inch stuffer extruder.
The Banbury room, as Lachapelle calls it, "has opened up new dimensions for our customers."
The site also has a design room with a wall of colors that can be tested through a variety of lighting situations. Lachapelle said the area is particularly useful in helping customers match colors. Typically, a technician can whip up a test batch right away.
One happy customer on hand for the festivities was Jack Dellevigne, president of sheet manufacturer HPG International Inc. of Somerset, N.J.
"They bailed us out," he said, talking about a problem that popped up when a supplier went out of business. HPG needed a fire-retardant polypropylene, used in products including semiconductors. He added that his company uses 1 million pounds of the material annually.
Dellevigne said HPG had to find a supplier quickly. The first one he tried wanted double the price, but PCC was able to fill the order for a fair price, Dellevigne said.
Another customer on hand was Kenneth Spinelli, purchasing manager for Polaroid Corp.'s Battery Division in Waltham, Mass.
"What we are looking for, day in and day out, is their custom compounding," he said. Polaroid uses a proprietary compound for the viewfinders in its instant cameras.
Plastics Color Corp. currently generates annual sales of just more than $70 million. Lachapelle has plans for additional growth.
"I'm 62 in August. I'm not saying I am ready to retire, but before I reach 65, I want to reach $100 million in sales," he said.
Plastics Color Corp. also has plants in Calumet City, Ill.; Asheboro, N.C.; and Chula Vista, Calif. The company has additional sales and warehouse operations in the Netherlands and Puerto Rico.
At its four plants, PCC has the overall capacity to manufacture 140 million pounds of colorants and related products each year. It maintains in-house blow molding, injection molding and rotational molding machinery for product testing.