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Luxus Acquires Colour Tone Masterbatch

Technical plastics compounder Luxus has expanded its operations with the recent acquisition of the South Wales based Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd.

Colour Tone Masterbatch currently employs 50 staff with a turnover of £5m. This innovative additive manufacturer focuses on the delivery of high quality service and bespoke colours, in universal, commodity and engineered polymers, as well as custom additive blends. 

The acquisition will enable a strategic realignment of the businesses allied with improvements in production capabilities at its site in Bedwas Caerphilly. Tony Gaukroger remains as a non-stock holding Director and the company will continue to operate autonomously as before.

Peter Atterby, managing director, Luxus, comments: “We are delighted that Colour Tone Masterbatch is now a part of Luxus. This strategic investment is a natural progression of our 20 year working relationship. It will enable us to significantly enhance our offering to deliver highly engineered coloured polymers that our global client base requires, providing the strongest possible market position.”

In recent years, Colour Tone Masterbatch was selected to support a WRAP funded project that aimed to develop the materials technology required to substitute carbon black pigment commonly used in black food packaging with infra-red reflection (IRR) black pigment. Since recycling sorting systems are unable to detect black carbon as it reflects little or no light at all. This results in over one billion black plastic trays being sent to landfill or incinerated in the UK each year.

Peter Atterby continues: “The project validated that IRR pigments could allow near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to sort black plastic packaging waste. They reproduced as near as possible the shade and opacity of carbon black, instead of the less commercial ‘brown black’ achieved in previous trials proving that materials technology can deliver a solution to this serious landfill issue.

“We now have the opportunity to capitalise on the technological synergies in both companies. Since the original NIR project, a new masterbatch with the same IRR pigment has been devised for numerous applications including the prevention of heat build-up for example. This provides the opportunity to shape the technical properties of thermoplastics used for auto interior components including steering wheels, seats and instrument panels for example.                               

“Since the masterbatch is NIR detectable too, another key advantage is that it can positively contribute to automakers’ ‘end of life’ requirements as the black plastic can be easily identified for sorting at a recycling facility. This means that in the future Luxus high performance engineered polymers such as the ‘next generation’ Hycolene™ thermoplastics range may be available in an NIR detectable version.” 

This is just one of the opportunities this strategic acquisition will make possible. By combining the technical strengths of the two companies it will result in more innovative new products to cater for emerging market and client needs.

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