Luxus acquires UK-based masterbatch manufacturer

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Peter Atterby, managing director, Luxus (L) and Tony Gaukroger, director, Colour Tone Masterbatch

Technical plastics compounder Luxus has expanded its operations with the recent acquisition of the UK-based Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd, the company announced 8 March. 

Based in South Wales, UK, Colour Tone Masterbatch is an additive manufacturer with focus on colours in commodity and engineered polymers, as well as custom additive blends.

The company currently has 50 employees with a turnover of £5m (€5.7m).

The acquisition will allow Colour Tone to realign its business and improve production capabilities at its site in Bedwas Caerphilly, the Luxus statement said.

Tony Gaukroger will remain as a non-stock holding director and the company will continue to operate autonomously as before.

“This strategic investment… will enable us to significantly enhance our offering to deliver highly engineered coloured polymers,” said Peter Atterby, managing director, Luxus.

One of the areas which will enhance Luxus’ offerings will be infra-red reflection (IRR) black pigments.

Colour Tone Masterbatch was recently part of a project to develop the materials technology required to substitute carbon black pigment used in black food packaging with IRR black pigment.

The project was launched to find black pigments that can be detected by recycling sorting systems to avoid incinerating or landfilling black plastic trays in the UK.

“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,” explained Peter Atterby.

Since the original NIR project, a new masterbatch with the same IRR pigment has been devised for 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,” added Atterby.

As the masterbatch is NIR detectable, another key advantage is that it can contribute to car makers’ ‘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,” Atterby concluded.

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