A new color compound maker, emboldened by reviews from initial users of its high-load color concentrates for wood-plastic composites, has won over some lumber manufacturers interested in the cost-savings potential.
Republic, Pa.-based Magnum Colors LLC's micropellets feature pigment-loading levels above 80 percent.
``That means manufacturers are using less of it,'' said John Davidson, vice president and general manager, in a Nov. 15 telephone interview.
Davidson said the industry standard for pigment levels is typically in the range of 50-60 percent.
Magnum's spherical pellets are tiny, about 0.04 inch, vs. the standard one-eighth inch, he said.
A typical pellet count per gram might be about 40, he said.
``Our customers are provided with 400 pellets per gram,'' he said.
Dispersion and distribution are the critical components to coloring, he said.
``Can the colorant be evenly distributed throughout a product? It becomes easier to do that with more soldiers in the mix,'' he said.
The end result is high flow rates, low viscosity and low sheer, according to Davidson.
``When we process this material, we do not exceed a processing temperature of [212° F],'' he said.
The compounds are compatible with a number of resins, including polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC, as well as other processes, like injection molding.
The company operates out of a 22,000-square-foot plant in Republic. It operates one shift, five days a week, but is poised to add staff as officials anticipate growing interest from the composite lumber community. Davidson, a 27-year veteran of the resin and compounding industry, said Magnum has the capacity to churn out 5 million pounds annually once production converts to three shifts.
``We have ambitions for expanding this thing,'' he said.
Three of the top five leaders in composite lumber manufacturing have tried or bought Magnum's compounds, Davidson said.
However, the firm is reluctant to bite off more than it can chew.
``Our phraseology has been: Let's underpromise and overdeliver,'' he said. ``But we're ready to take that next step.''
Davidson's business partner is Magnum President Richard Majoras.