Orlando, Fla. — Liquid color management specialist Riverdale Global LLC is nearing completion of a fully automated plant in High Point, N.C., and later this year will establish satellite operations near Canton, Ohio, in Tijuana, Mexico, and possibly in Texas.
The Aston, Pa.-based liquid color management specialist is investing about $4 million at the technology-rich High Point facility.
"A lot of projects are coming together," said Paul Maguire, president and CEO. "We are automating everything we do."
In the early 1900s, Riverdale was a legacy supplier of dyes and industrial chemicals. It first produced liquid color for plastics in 1966.
Maguire said the Riverdale Global process differs significantly from industry practices that dump powders into a vat of liquid, disperse them into suspension, then mill as needed before placing the product in a container.
"We are trying to change the market [to create the] most economical and sustainable way to get to liquid color," Maguire said in an interview at NPE2018 in Orlando.
By using Riverdale Global technology, a processor obtains "faster color changes" and "puts in less pigment to get the same color" while getting more throughput, using less electricity and operating at lower temperatures, he said.
The program includes the RGInfinity-brand auto refill system, the Single-Pigment Dispersion-brand technology and the complete color and additives Sealed Delivery System-brand concept.
Riverdale Global says its system in High Point can eliminate the need for cleaning to switch pigments.
Maguire said Riverdale Global began exploring the satellite concept around 2007 or 2008 and initially had an arrangement with PolyOne Corp. of Avon Lake, Ohio.
But PolyOne was losing some color business for Procter & Gamble Co. consumer goods to Clariant Corp.
In July 2008, Clariant had acquired the liquid color and masterbatch operations of Rite Systems Inc. and Ricon Colors Inc. in three U.S. locations, Maguire said. "P&G wanted liquid color," he said.
Eventually, the market competition prompted PolyOne to acquire ColorMatrix Group Inc. of Berea, Ohio, for $486 million in December 2011 and discontinue its relationship with Riverdale Global.
"We were forced to do it ourselves," Maguire said.
Riverdale Global established its first satellite facility in Statesville, N.C., in 2012 and the second one in Warrington, England, in 2013.
In late 2017, the Statesville operation and several employees moved about 60 miles to the refurbished High Point site while maintaining continuity in providing satellite services and establishing a color development laboratory.
Maguire projects that High Point will have about 40 employees by the end of 2018.
Full details about the new satellite locations near Canton and in Tijuana are pending.
Maguire contemplates more satellite locations in San Luis Potosí in central Mexico, Monterrey in northeast Mexico and, to complement the Tijuana initiative, in Southern California.
The satellite concept allows Riverside Global to expand its reach. "We need to build relationships with customers," Maguire said.
Being closer enables the color specialist to support clients.
"So many customers have turnover and new people," he said. "If we are there, we can help them with that."
Riverdale Global's legacy 65,000-square-foot Perth Amboy, N.J., plant employs 30 and, currently, is the sole source to fulfill the company's production needs for SPDs. The firm analyzed the Perth Amboy processes in designing the High Point plant, which it characterizes as the first fully automated plant for manufacturing liquid colorants and additives for the plastics industry.
The high-tech High Point project will dramatically change the equation.
"Eventually, we will off-load lower volume work to High Point and allow the higher-volume jobs to grow in Perth Amboy," Maguire said.
Riverdale Global affiliate Maguire Products Inc. built the High Point plant's major feeder, disperser and milling components in Aston. "We are buying the motors and the bag transfer system," he said.
Maguire projects that Riverdale Global's 2018 sales should grow 15-20 percent vs. last year. The privately owned firm withholds sales dollar amounts.