North American compounding leader PolyOne Corp. has expanded its global reach, forming a technology partnership with a German firm and adding production capacity in India.
Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne will work with tech giant Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, to launch IM3D, a new technology enabling manufacturers to make 3-D imagery on packaging and consumer electronics.
With IM3D technology, manufacturers can create flat surfaces that appear to have depth and structure, PolyOne officials said in an Oct. 12 news release. Several processing steps were previously necessary to generate this effect in a polymer surface. Now, they added, the 3-D impression is created in just a single step during the injection molding process.
“With the IM3D technology … brand owners and manufacturers have an outstanding enhancement option that can set their premium products apart from the competition,” PolyOne executive Christoph Palm said in the release. Palm serves as vice president and general manager of Color & Additives in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and India for the firm.
He added that PolyOne “is already seeing interest globally from market leaders in packaging and consumer electronics.”
“Our objective in the coming years is to jointly launch additional innovative plastics technologies with pearlescent pigments,” said Michael Heckmeier, head of Pigments & Functional Materials at Merck, which employs 50,000 worldwide and has annual sales of more than $14 billion.
Sample parts made with IM3D technology will be on display at the upcoming K show in Düsseldorf, Germany.
In India, PolyOne is adding a new extrusion line to begin production of specialty engineered materials at its plant in Pune, India. The line will open in January and make materials primarily based on engineering resins.
Officials said in a news release that initial production will include specialty engineered polymer materials used in high-performance applications that need flame retardant properties, high strength and durability, stiffness, chemical resistance or weatherability. PolyOne has hired sales and technical resources in India with expertise in specialty engineered materials to increase speed to market and to collaborate with in-country customers.
PolyOne opened the Pune facility in 2014. It initially focused on production of colorant and additives to serve end markets such as transportation, electronics & electrical, healthcare, wire & cable, and packaging.
"We're excited and proud to have furthered our commitment to customers in India,” SEM president Craig Nikrant said in a news release. PolyOne India managing director Vikas Vij added that the country “remains a region of growth for manufacturers and consumers.”
PolyOne posted sales of $3.4 billion in 2015. In addition to being North America's largest maker of compounds and concentrates, the firm ranks as one of the region's largest resin distributors and plastic sheet makers.