Clariant Masterbatches has expanded its technological presence in North America by opening a new ColorWorks design and technology center in Holden, Mass.
The Easton, Md.-based firm also recently opened its first color concentrates plant in Argentina.
In Holden, Clariant added 1,200 square feet to its existing production site to house the color center. The site is Clariant's sixth global ColorWorks center and its third in the United States, joining locations in McHenry, Ill., and New York. Five jobs were created by the expansion.
On-site testing provides data on shrinkage, flow/fill analysis and freeze-off points for a variety of color concentrates Clariant produces.
The site also will allow designers to control the cost of working with color by not only selecting the right shade, but also by considering resin properties, performance additives, tooling and the mold process, Clariant technology director Bill Blasius said in a recent news release.
Blasius added that work done at the center will provide the coloring costs, cycle times and machine requirements processors need to submit more realistic bids; and will benefit original equipment manufacturers by reducing waste and overengineering while offering better cost control and faster time to market.
``Color centers are a crucial part of our customer service, especially to the OEM market,'' Clariant marketing director Jean Sirois said in a telephone interview. ``The centers provide tools to link the color creation side and go beyond,'' to tools like three-dimensional computer-aided-design systems.
In Argentina, Clariant has opened a 3,300-square-foot plant in Lomas de Zamora. The first stage of the project includes two compounding lines for producing polyolefin-based additive and color masterbatches. Clariant expects to add capacity there during the next three years.
Clariant already has South American operations in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. The firm also recently opened an 8,900-square-foot South American headquarters in Suzano, Brazil.
``Our objective is to be able to develop, test and produce masterbatch compounds, ready for production, in one week,'' said Sergio Mastrorosa, head of Clariant's Latin America unit.
Clariant Masterbatches is one of the world's largest color and additive concentrate makers, with 2003 sales of about $832 million. The firm, a unit of Clariant AG of Muttenz, Switzerland, operates 50 plants in 30 countries.