Louth, UK based technical plastics compounder, Luxus, has acquired Colour Tone Masterbatch which has developed a substitute to carbon black pigment to make black plastics easier to sort in material recycling facilities.
Luxus explained that 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. According to Luxus this results in over one billion black plastic trays being sent to landfill or incinerated in the UK each year.
“The project validated that IRR pigments could allow near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to sort black plastic packaging waste,” explained Peter Atterby, managing director, Luxus.
“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,” he continued.
Atterby added that 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,” he said.
Luxus added that the £5 million purchase will allow it to the to capitalise on the technological synergies in both companies. South Wales based Colour Tone Masterbatch currently employs 50 staff with a turnover of £5 million.
Luxus said that the acquisition will enable a strategic realignment of the businesses allied with improvements in production capabilities at its site in Bedwas Caerphilly.
“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," said Atterby.
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