Published On: Tue, Oct 1st, 2013

Clariant’s Newest ColorWorks® Opens Near Chicago; Co-Creation Center Aids Plastics Product Developers

  • Accellerates new product development and brand building
  • Brings together creative resources and prototyping equipment
  • Major investment to support North American customers

Muttenz, September 20, 2013 - Clariant, a world leader in Specialty Chemicals, today announced the grand opening of ColorWorks® North America, the newest in a global network of co-creation centers built to bring color into the early stages of plastic product and packaging design. The opening culminates nearly three years of planning and renovation and represents a major investment by Clariant in support of customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Clariant's Newest ColorWorks® Opens Near Chicago; Co-Creation Center Aids Plastics Product Developers

Clariant's Newest ColorWorks® Opens Near Chicago; Co-Creation Center Aids Plastics Product Developers

The new center is located in West Chicago, Illinois, USA, conveniently close to the City of Chicago and two major airports. ColorWorks North America occupies the second floor of a building that also houses a Clariant Masterbatches color compounding operation that is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. The plant produces masterbatches – color and/or additive concentrates used in making plastic products – in both pelletized and liquid form. This unbiased approach means ColorWorks can develop solutions in any form – pellet, liquid or even pre-colored compounds – that the customer prefers.

ColorWorks is the highly specialized color creation service of Clariant Masterbatches, tailored especially to the creative development needs of brand companies. The center in West Chicago is one of several such sites around the world that are aimed at helping companies accelerate new products to market and use color more effectively to cultivate brand recognition and value. The facility has a significant competence in packaging, but is able to serve any market, from automotive to appliance, household and consumer goods, electrical/electronic, furniture, medical, etc.

“We’re exploring new approaches to helping designers, brand owners and OEMs bring new products to market faster, more efficiently and with a greater likelihood of success,” explains Peter Prusak, Head of Marketing – Clariant Masterbatches North America. “Clariant pioneered the ColorWorks concept and now, in this new facility, we can take it to the next level. To my knowledge there is no other resource like it in North America.”

DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY TOGETHER

ColorWorks North America brings together tools and expertise that encompass the aesthetic and creative side of color in 3800-sq-ft Co-Creation Studio, as well as the technical side of practical plastics processing in a 2400-sq-ft Processing Lab. Full-time staff, which now numbers six, has an average of 15 years of experience in various facets of color, marketing and plastics processing.

“Since the first ColorWorks center was launched in Asia over 10 years ago, the concept has been very well received,” says Adriana Rueda, Head of ColorWorks North America. “Designers and product developers have come to appreciate the way we bring together the art and the science of color in one place. How we can help them create color that not only allows their product to stand out in the marketplace, but also works correctly in the real world of plastics processing. Everything good that we have learned over the last decade in our other ColorWorks centers has been incorporated, but I think people who have visited other ColorWorks will be very pleasantly surprised with what they find here.”

Visitors to the Co-Creation Studio will have access to a wide array of tools and expertise to help them through the process of translating their ideas and visions into living color. These include:

  • ColorForward™, Clariant’s color and trend direction guide;
  • “Wall of Color,” a constantly growing library of color samples, presented in the most important thermoplastic polymers;
  • Global color database, which logs tens of thousands of color developments made by Clariant around the world;
  • Three-dimensional digital prototyping.

Once the range of options has begun to narrow, ColorWorks staff can help visitors create mood boards that assemble all the different facets of a product or package – typography, imagery, headlines, textures and other sensory and environmental elements – together with a color palette. Using mood boards, the team can more easily share the feeling, tone and direction of their creative process with other stakeholders.

CONCEPT TO REALITY

The ColorWorks experience continues in the Process Lab, which houses lab- and production-scale plastics-processing equipment dedicated to making sample parts for color evaluation. Machinery includes:

  • Injection-molding machines – one for larger parts and another from smaller products;
  • Extrusion blowmolding machine, which can produce sample bottles in one-, two- or three-layer constructions;
  • Reheat blowmolding machine for production of PET bottles from molded preforms;
  • Blown-film extrusion line;
  • Extrusion compounding line.

Tooling is available to produce round- and oval-body bottles, threaded caps, snap-on over caps, simulated tubes and tottles, and molded compact cases. Customer-provided tooling can also be run in the lab.

Giving shape to the concepts developed in the co-creation process, ColorWorks staff can quickly produce an actual molded sample for evaluation. In this integrated design/processing environment, it becomes possible to evaluate multiple different formulations in a few hours. Trials and testing that used to take weeks can be completed in a matter of days.”