PolyOne Corp.'s global identity is on display, as the firm kicks off the Fakuma trade show in Germany while opening a new production line and technology center in India.
The production line in Pune will make GLS-brand thermoplastic elastomers for Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne. The tech center will include an advanced lab for research and development.
"The Indian market is growing fast, and we need to make sure we have local production to work with our customers," Holger Kronimus, Europe vice president and general manager, said in an Oct. 11 phone interview. "It's all about speed and flexibility, which is what's needed in a growth market."
He added that the new line at the 4-year-old plant in Pune will make TPE materials for consumer, packaging, automotive and other markets, primarily for customers in India. Previously, PolyOne TPEs sold in India were brought in from company sites in Europe or Asia.
TPE production in Pune began in early October, Kronimus said. An opening ceremony is set for Oct. 16.
The new tech center includes testing lines and injection molding and blow molding machines, as well as analytical equipment, Kronimus said. It will share testing capabilities with PolyOne's color and specialty engineered materials units.
For PolyOne, the Pune plant at first focused on production of colorant and additive concentrates for end markets such as transportation and packaging. The firm expanded manufacturing capability to include specialty engineered materials last year. With the addition of TPE production, PolyOne customers now can source all of their specialty polymer requirements from a single domestic source, officials said in a news release.
At Fakuma, PolyOne is giving visitors a first look at a new addition to its specialty colorants lineup. The OnColor-brand Shades of Nature collection includes 10 new special effects colorants inspired by nature.
The colorants are available as masterbatch concentrates, officials said in a news release, and have been created to include materials such as almond shells, glitter flakes, fibers and other special effects.
The new colorants can be customized for various polymers, they added, and allow for "unique artisanal looks" in plastic. Shades of Nature colors are also a cost-effective replacement option for marble, granite and other expensive, organic materials currently popular in consumer product designs, officials said.
Other products in focus for PolyOne at Fakuma include Gravi-Tech-brand density-modified polymers and OnFlex-brand low VOC, fog and odor TPEs. Gravi-Tech are composite materials that provide the look, feel and sound of metal, officials said, but deliver the design freedom of a polymer.
The OnFlex materials are engineered TPEs that help meet vehicle interior air quality (VIAQ) standards for automotive interior components including HVAC flaps, interior trays and fasteners and clips.
Kronimus said PolyOne's European sales "are going well" so far in 2018, with balanced growth across the board, including such markets as automotive, electrical/electronic, wire and cable, packaging and consumer.
PolyOne is North America's largest compounder and concentrates maker and is one of the region's largest resin distributors. The firm posted sales of just over $3.2 billion in 2017, up almost 10 percent vs. the previous year. In the first half of 2018, PolyOne's sales were up almost 13 percent vs. the first half of 2017 to just over $1.8 billion.