Specialty plastics and chemicals maker Royce Associates recently won a major award from Carestream Health Inc., a leading provider of medical and dental imaging systems.
East Rutherford, N.J.-based Royce was named a Quality Supplier of the Year by Carestream, which is based in Rochester, N.Y. Only four of Carestream's 5,000 vendors received the award for 2009. Royce supplies Carestream with a colorant used in its X-ray films, which are made of PET resin, senior Vice President Wylie Royce said in a recent telephone interview.
It's a blue undertone, he said of the product. We can't make a mistake, because if there are any contaminants on the film, it could look like a tumor.
Royce Associates has worked with Carestream for four years. The award is given based on a supplier's level of productivity, quality leadership, on-time delivery and similar attributes.
Carestream has annual sales of about $2.5 billion, and was formed in 2007 when Onex Corp. bought the health group of Eastman Kodak Co.
Family-owned Royce, now in its 81st year of business, entered plastics in the late 1970s when it bought a dye and pigment company that was making products for polycarbonate, polystyrene and ABS. A.J. Royce Wylie Royce's nephew represents the fourth generation of the family working for the firm.
Today, Royce Associates' business units include Royce Colors, a color compounder with a plant in East Rutherford; and Passaic Color, which makes dyes used in a variety of plastics. The firm also makes a line of epoxy resins.
Overall, Royce Associates employs about 100 and operates plants in East Rutherford, Newark and Patterson, N.J.; and Charlotte, N.C. The firm also has a technical center in Tianjin, China. The privately held business does not disclose annual sales.
Royce Associates is working hard to keep up with new regulations affecting colorants and additives used in plastics, Wylie Royce said. In the last year, the firm has added two regulatory and testing employees.
Wylie Royce has been active in this area within the industry for many years. He currently serves as a member of the executive board of the Society of the Plastic Industry Inc., as well as chair of the color and additive products subcommittee, which is part of SPI's food, drug and cosmetic packaging materials committee.
The changes we're experiencing right now are because of increasing fear of [bisphenol A] he said.
Some color regulations in Europe are shortening the list of dyes and pigments available to us, and that's going to mean increased costs.
Traditionally, Royce had done a lot of work with PS food packaging, as well as with packaging made from polyethylene and polypropylene. Now, the firm is working with bioplastics such as PLA. Royce said his firm is working with major food-packaging guys on projects involving PLA.
PLA is what product designers want, he said.
This is the next big wave we're going to see. Some of the older materials are going to be legislated out of existence. There's a tremendous wave vs. foam polystyrene, and PVC and polycarbonate are under pressure also. PLA could be the next generation.
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