Compounder and color concentrates maker PolyOne Corp. has opened its 10th global innovation center, at its Avon Lake headquarters.
The $3 million design facility will support PolyOne's specialty-platform customers with leading-edge capabilities for application development, testing, process optimization and color matching, officials said at the May 12 grand opening.
Chairman, President and CEO Steve Newlin noted that the Ohio gathering followed closely the January opening of PolyOne's ninth innovation center, in Gaggenau, Germany.
We're hands-on, and that's what this center is all about, he said at the Avon Lake event. We take a partnering approach to solving and preventing problems with our customers.
We try to approach our business in a creative yet practical manner, he added. We want to help our customers create and invest in the next generation of materials. We're not going to invest in anything if there's not a market for it.
PolyOne's network of innovation centers includes four facilities in North America, three in Asia and three in Europe.
Customers visiting the Ohio center will interact with PolyOne's engineers to streamline the product-development cycle and foster innovation. They also will have access to PolyOne's adjacent vinyl laboratory, which in 2010 assisted with about 400 development projects.
The innovation center can handle a variety of materials, from traditional olefins to polyetheretherketone resin, officials said, and supply customers with samples from 5-25 pounds.
The center features reception and conference areas where customers can relax, brainstorm, and work; a showroom area to help generate ideas; and a color-chip display room.
Customers will be able to obtain real-time color matches, complete with sample chips.
The operations area includes three Coperion twin-screw extruders with multiple pelletization and feeding options, two Boy and one Milacron injection molding machines with clamping forces of 20-100 tons; select application capability for sheet, film and bottles; measurement capabilities; and a clean room/Food and Drug Administration development area.
The equipment that we have for molding and extrusion technology enables us to create [samples] specifically designed for to create our customers' needs, said Craig Nikrant, president of PolyOne's Global Specialty Engineered Materials division.
The interactive visitors' area includes: a showroom for chips and display areas for parts, a creative collaboration area, a conference room with a view of the operations floor and two customer offices.
Ultimately, the success of this center will be measured in one way: Does it really drive customer success? said John Van Hulle, president of PolyOne Global Color, Additives and Inks.
According to the company, all furniture and seating are Greenguard Environmental Institute-certified, meaning they have passed tests and emissions standards for reduced chemical exposure and improved indoor-air quality.
All laminate work surfaces have a green core of recycled wheat board, while task chairs have a Cradle to Cradle Gold rating from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry based on their use of environmentally friendly materials, recycled materials and renewable energy in manufacturing.
Carpeting includes PolyOne's Geon vinyl compound material and up to 72 percent recycled content. Wall coverings are made with recycled materials, and the main wall covering is Greenguard-certified.
Also attending the May 12 opening were Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, state Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, Avon Lake Mayor Karl Zuber, and about a dozen PolyOne customers.