CHICAGO (June 28, 12:45 p.m. EDT) — Two private colorant companies — Chroma Corp. of McHenry, Ill., and Lifocolor Farben GmbH and Co. KG of Lichtenfels, Germany — are reaching across the Atlantic Ocean to create an international color alliance.
The alliance, according to the firms, is in response to globalization in the industry and customers' desire to buy the same products worldwide.
"Our international customers told us both the same thing. They wanted a product base in both Europe and the United States and they wanted it with the same technical expertise," said Dirk Grolman, managing director of Gustav Grolman GmbH & Co. KG, the parent of Lifocolor.
His American counterpart, John A. Ward, president and chief executive officer of Chroma, added: "We were looking for a company like Chroma, committed and focused in the color business, privately owned and basically someone who had the reputation and could deliver the products the same as ours."
Chroma, formed in 1967 by Robert D. Swain, provides custom-formulated color, additive concentrates and pre-color compounds from two manufacturing sites in McHenry. It employs about 150 people. The company also owns Injecta Color Systems, with separate manufacturing facilities and laboratories in Chicago Heights, Ill., and has a color-matching lab in Colton, Calif.
Chroma recently added six new lines in McHenry, putting its total number of production lines at the site at 27.
Lifocolor was established in 1978. It primarily supplies the European market from four production sites in Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Poland. It has more than 20 extrusion lines and is adding an undisclosed number of new lines. It employs 100 people, with a technical sales force of 14.
Both partners primarily supply the packaging, housewares, medical, cosmetic, electrical, automotive and toy industries.
The executives said they met at the K show in 1998 and spent 18 months checking each other's capabilities before reaching the agreement.
"In order to make the alliance work, we met at various levels," Grolman said. "The people in the company must make it work. In addition, we looked at how we were doing things and how Chroma was doing. We wanted to guarantee with the technical information that we would be able to produce a product with the same end results."
Ward added: "We built the business on technical service and we have years of experience in the industry. Lifocolor is similiar. I think we will be able to provide a lot of service. We are not a large organization, so Dirk and I can be on the phone and decide quickly how to respond to a customer's demand."
The firms are investigating ways to supply the Asian market as well.