Cleveland — Concentrate makers are looking forward to 2024 after dealing with some challenges this year.
Executives with three firms that make color and additive concentrates assessed the market Nov. 15 during a panel at AMI Plastics World Expos in Cleveland.
Color Master Inc. of Butler, Ind., has enjoyed "a nice two or three year run" because of increased sales connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Kyle Skaggs said.
"We've doubled our sales in two years, but now the economy is a big issue because of inflation and high interest rates," he said.
Mine Colours Inc. of Blacksburg, Va., is paying more attention to regulations, particularly in Europe, and is focusing more on both engineering resins and on single-use plastics applications, business development director Onur Ege Onar said.
At Chroma Color Corp. in McHenry, Ill., customers had been overstocking because of supply concerns, but inventories now have stabilized, according to CEO Shruti Singhal. Chroma's customers now are asking more about sustainable materials.
"Customers are asking how they can use our colors with recycled resins," Singhal said. "So we have to be able to provide that or we'll be left behind."
Looking ahead, Singhal said concentrate makers can find opportunities with quick service, since customers "are looking for really fast solutions, so we have a limited window of opportunity." He added that concentrate makers are adjusting to a change in buying patterns, with customers placing smaller, more frequent orders.
Globalization also is increasing costs for concentrate makers, Onar said, by increasing challenges for color matching. Color Master has "a lot of opportunities to go after new products" that need improved conductivity, impact strength and thermal properties, Skaggs noted.
He added that because of acquisitions and consolidations, "a lot of smaller guys have been gobbled up" in the concentrates market. "When that happens, customers can't get service from larger companies, and that creates opportunities for us," Skaggs said.