FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY — The arrival of Americhem's new color palette is just what an increasing number of the firm's customers are looking for.
“It's starting to hit home that in fashion and packaging, more companies are using color as a marketing tool,” Craig McDougall — Americhem's general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa — said Oct. 17 at Fakuma.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Americhem — one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers — unveiled six new color palettes for 2015-16 in September. They include Art Therapy, described as “an enlivened palette of crimson, jewel-toned blues, fuschia and gold” and Electric Dawn, which includes “powerful, energetic” colors of the pre-dawn sky.
The European auto market growth “is good — actually, it's buoyant,” McDougall added, pointing out that Americhem's concentrates based on polypropylene and ABS resins are being used in hard plastic interior trim on several vehicles.
Sales of nylon-based concentrates used in residential carpeting in the U.K. housing market also are recovering, according to McDougall. Americhem serves Europe and the surrounding regions from a plant in Manchester, England. The site added its seventh production line in early 2013, primarily to handle growth in materials sold into synthetic turf.
Americhem's customers in the region “have been reasonably optimistic of steady growth,” McDougall said. But he added that “if Germany slows down, that affects the rest of Europe.”
“You hear some of these [economic] horror stories in the news, but people are still going to do what they're going to do. We've talked to some machinery suppliers who are happy with their order levels.”
Americhem's focus at Fakuma included a new softening additive — mBrace — which can be used in nonwovens to set desired softness levels. Potential applications includes apparel, medical products, packaging and upholstery.
The firm also spotlighted the results of recent outdoor weathering studies for its eCap-brand high-performance compounds for building products. A range of brown and gray eCap materials showed less color fade and good durability in the studies.