Plastics Color says new plant in Asheboro, North Carolina, operates as a clean-compounding manufacturing facility that limits chance of material contamination, provides cost savings
CALUMET CITY, Illinois
July 22, 2009
Plastics Color Corporation (PCC), a leader in delivering color concentrates and additive masterbatches to the plastics industry, operates its Plant Within a Plant as a clean-compounding facility applying best-practices manufacturing that much of the industry has yet to adopt. Operating on PCC’s Asheboro, North Carolina, campus since 2008, the Plant Within a Plant has already won plaudits and customers for configuring a dedicated closed-loop manufacturing system around a quick-turnaround, just-in-time production strategy.
The 7,000-square-foot Plant Within a Plant is a fully functioning manufacturing unit that operates alongside PCC’s traditional production platforms on the North Carolina campus. It is a separate, self-contained operation that allows PCC to apply and evaluate the most advanced manufacturing techniques, including just-in-time production, under actual conditions. Already serving the needs of customers such as medical-device manufacturers, the Plant Within a Plant is not merely attracting and keeping customers, but advancing PCC’s corporate culture as a whole after four decades, says Douglas Borgsdorf, PCC President.
Borgsdorf points out that the Plant Within a Plant anticipates the industry’s general requirements for 2014: optimal production turnarounds and a closed-loop manufacturing system — a resource-planning architecture in which production planning drives the master schedule that in turn drives the material plan that dictates the capacity plan. As key elements of lean manufacturing, just-in-time production and a closed-loop system maximize the use of existing inventory, thus generating additional cost savings for the customer.
Currently, the Plant Within a Plant is capable of handling a maximum capacity of 2 million pounds annually. Additionally, the Plant Within a Plant is the template for the reengineering of manufacturing operations throughout PCC, which operates facilities in Illinois and North Carolina, as well as in China. Already regarded as a market leader for the array of processes and materials it handles, PCC won wide industry attention in 2007 when it began to offer an innovative line of masterbatch additive using a new impact modifier from Rohm and Haas, ParaloidTM-BPM 500. Paraloid-BPM 500 broadens the usability of bioplastics, making them stronger without sacrificing clarity.
During PCC’s planning stages for the Plant Within a Plant, current and prospective customers listed their chief concerns as contamination control, production continuity and expertise in handling the Drug Master File process, which supports the ability to meet food contact requirements in the United States and abroad. The Plant Within a Plant, Borgsdorf says, relies on minimal human intervention to ensure the least chance of material contamination.
“We talked to customers in the market and asked what we and they needed to look like in five years,” he adds. “The industry is moving toward quick-turn, just-in-time processing, as well as toward more closed-loop systems for clean compounding. Today, we’re making that all work in one facility.”
Particularly for companies in the food or medical packaging industries, reducing the risk of contamination is all-important, explains Joe Byrne, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Byrne says: “It has been important for customers to see how we handled materials and how the cross-contamination risk has been almost eliminated by using such equipment as a sterilized water bath utilizing UV filtration and a closed-loop water system.”
Borgsdorf notes how one plastics manufacturer, vetting possible long-term vendors, visited PCC at its Illinois headquarters, but committed to using the company as a supplier after watching the Plant Within a Plant in action in North Carolina. “After seeing what we could do,” Borgsdorf recalls, “the manufacturer said, ‘You’re my future supplier right now.’”
About Plastics Color Corporation: Plastics Color Corporation sets the standard for providing color concentrates and color additive masterbatches to the plastics industry. Headquartered in Calumet City, Illinois, the global provider of colorants for plastics meets the specific needs of manufacturers in a broad array of manufacturing markets, from pharmaceuticals to medical devices to sporting goods. PCC supports a wide variety of processes, materials and additive packages, including polymer additives, plastic color pigments and thermoplastic compounds. Partnering with customers to meet specific challenges — whether it’s working with a color modifier or a blowing agent — sets this provider apart from a mere commodity vendor. With more than 40 years of experience, PCC, an ISO 9001:2000 registered corporation, also prides itself on its “Pyramid of Partnership,” which draws together vendors, customers and associates to share the latest information and technology while continually improving as a global team. PCC operates fully equipped laboratories in Illinois and North Carolina, as well as a plant in Nanjing, China, as part of its commitment to the customer. It supports R&D efforts that help its customer stay at the forefront of the “plastics evolution.” Visit Plastics Color Corporation’s Web site at http://www.plasticscolor.com.
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