Penn Color Inc. will break ground late next year on a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing site in Hatfield, Pa.
Of that total, 30,000 square feet will go toward expanding the firm's research center there. That part of the expansion will be dedicated to the design and development of color and additive masterbatches for the plastics market, officials with Doylestown, Pa.-based Penn Color said.
The remaining 70,000 square feet will be used for warehouse space and for future manufacturing, market development director Bob Kaminski said in a phone interview. The project represents an investment of more than $10 million. Work is set to begin in mid-2015, with completion expected in early 2016, Kaminski added.
The expansion will include a customer innovation area that “will make it easier to bring our customers in to work with us,” he explained. In a news release, thermoplastics technical director Jim Walsh said that Penn Color officials “are giving our research team the best possible tools to work with, so they can develop new colorants and additives.”
Walsh added that the firm's 24-hour color matching service and sample extrusion will be expanded to support plastics customers who demand quick turnaround. This will include customers in the packaging, sheet, toys and housewares markets.
The new lab will include advanced computer color matching systems, including formulation software used with PET, polyolefins, PVC and other resins. The color database that's being developed for the new matching systems will be integrated at Penn Color labs worldwide.
The Hatfield expansion is Penn Color's first since late 2013, when the firm increased production and added lab-scale equipment at its concentrates plant in Milton, Wis. That expansion included a new high-output, twin-screw extrusion line.
Penn Color's massive 425,000-square-foot site in Hatfield includes 180,000 square feet dedicated to production of color and additive concentrates. The firm also makes pigment dispersions used in coatings, inks and cosmetics.
Worldwide, Penn Color has annual sales of more than $200 million and employs more than 650 at seven plants — five in the U.S., one in the Netherlands and one in India. The Netherlands plant also will receive a new twin-screw extrusion line for additive concentrates in early 2015.
Penn Color is marking its 50th anniversary in 2014. The firm was founded in Flemington, N.J., in 1964 as PFD Plastics by Edgar Putman. At the time, Putman was working as general manager of a stone quarry, but he saw a great opportunity in plastics. The firm originally focused on single-pigment PVC dispersions. In 1971, PFD bought the Doylestown-based Penn Color division of Sun Chemical, renaming the firm and relocating it there.