Thursday, October 22, 2015

How You Can Create Synthetic Fibers that Stand Out

The increasingly competitive landscape in the synthetic fibers market has made it essential for companies to seek opportunities to add value and create points of differentiation. This blog post is to review how color and additive solutions impact the functionality and stabilization of synthetic fibers during production and when going to market.

Define Your Goals

Differentiating your fiber products from the competition can be accomplished in a number of ways, it boils down to determining what you are trying to accomplish, and then working with suppliers to find the right solutions. For example, outdoor fabrics for awnings would require different attributes than the lining of a fleece jacket.

Color-Enhancing Solutions

Finding the right mix of polymer color and additives can be the key to unlocking new business opportunities, helping synthetic fiber producers enhance material properties and create improved efficiencies in the spinning process, which adds greater value to end customers when compared to lower-cost alternatives. To further achieve the look you are after, the following color and additives might also be considered.

Enhancing appearance
Custom colors, blacks and whites, delusterants, and optical brighteners
Extending useful life
Inhibiting the spread of germs
Improving processability during spinning
Lubricants, antioxidants and heat stabilizers
Preventing ignition or spread of flame
Flame retardants
Removing static charge from fabrics
Enhancing performance
Moisture managers, odor absorbers, fillers, reinforcement, tracers and biodegradation

In the highly competitive synthetic fibers market, differentiation can be achieved by fine-tuning your processes and finding the right mix of color and additive solutions. By working with a trusted partner, you can effectively balance form and function that will add value to your operation—and your customers.

Americhem’s Product Development Services

Americhem is more than a supplier to the synthetic fiber industry—we’re a partner that can help enhance your existing products and bring new products to market faster. We become fully integrated in your processes to help improve efficiency and overall product quality by employing our unique value-engineering approach. For more information on best practices in the manufacture of synthetic fibers, or to learn more about Americhem’s products and services, visit

Larry Campbell
Technical Development Director- Fibers
Americhem, Inc.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Industry Flocks to 17th Annual SPE Automotive TPO Conference

Americhem enjoyed a key role in this year’s SPE TPO Automotive Conference, held annually in Detroit. Our speaker, color expert Rick Mathew, helped kick off the conference on Sunday, Oct. 4, with an opening address/workshop on colors for TPO. Rick touched on numerical versus visual color tolerancing and creating color harmony between automotive TPO materials and other polymers, including polypropylene. This session was very well attended, with an estimated 50 conference participants in attendance. This is particularly noteworthy since the address occurred on Sunday evening, the evening before most of the conference activities were to commence. 

We got a lot of good feedback on the presentation, and a number of people stopped to tell me how entertaining and engaging Rick was. They also mentioned how his address made them think differently about color representation. The SPE board also appreciated our contributions and would like us to contribute similar content to next year’s conference.

As far as the conference itself, the attendance was the best I’ve seen in my years of participation. In particular, Monday’s programming was attended by a large throng, the best one day attendance I’ve seen at the conference. The receptions and other networking opportunities were outstanding and extremely well attended.

There was good representation from OEMs and others within the automotive supply chain, such as resin and additive companies. The exhibition portion of the programming seems to add more exhibitors each year. Our technical team was extremely pleased with the subject matter and the papers that were delivered. Each year, we see a lot of familiar faces, and the conference really has become the automotive plastics industry event where everybody is together in one place at one time. 

Industry personnel were optimistic about the growth of TPO materials in automotive applications and they were enthusiastic about the industry in general. The global diversity of the conference attendees continues to grow and evolve each year. Next year, the conference will potentially go overseas for the first time with the 2016 Shanghai TPO Conference, to be held March 22-24 in Shanghai, China. Look for Americhem to participate.

We continue to find that this growing event is an excellent platform for innovations and insight from Americhem. If you were at the conference, we’d love to hear your feedback, so leave us a comment to continue the conversation.

Brett Conway
Group Director – Plastics, Americhem Inc.

Monday, October 12, 2015

STC Member Meeting Tackles Tough Challenges

This year’s Synthetic Turf Council (STC) Fall Member’s Meeting was held Oct. 5-7 in Atlanta, Georgia. The mood was upbeat and the outlook positive, as most producers and suppliers are bullish on the future for synthetic turf.

This was the first STC meeting for incoming president Al Garver. He is just the third president in the STC’s 12-year history. He has served a 32-year military career in the Air Force and National Guard and Reserve, combined with civilian work in high-level strategic planning and communications. He also has championed member-focused advocacy, public policy objectives, and membership programs.

This year’s programming had a heavy focus on environmental and health & safety news. The health & safety message is that the industry is being proactive in providing accurate information on the safety of crumb rubber infill, even with some of the supply now coming from Chinese tires, which are made in a different way.

The meeting’s keynote address was delivered by Dick Vermeil, a Super Bowl championship NFL coach who won the league’s coach of the year award four times. His speech was on common sense principles of leadership. The audience was genuinely engaged with Vermeil and everyone we talked to found him very entertaining. Some of the themes in his speech included perseverance, vision, overcoming adversity and the importance of mentors.

A large number of Americhem customers were in attendance, so we really got to do a lot of networking during the meeting. There was a trade show display area which was well attended. Some of the optimism can be attributed to the fact that municipalities are starting to have some capital free up for sports field and landscape projects. Landscape as a category is growing, especially in Canada, where prevention of natural pests makes turf a winning alternative. One interesting Canadian application is the installation of turf between the lanes of divided highways, an extremely low maintenance alternative. Drought issues in California and the American West present opportunities for turf, particularly in residential and commercial landscaping.

Aside from the health and environmental themes, there were several talks on construction. Many turf fields have failed due to poor installations, so this was an important theme.

Our commercial team found that this STC meeting was a great place to network. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of different people in a unique setting. There were a large number of senior leadership personnel from member companies and it was great to be able to meet with them, including those we met for the first time. We look forward to the next semi-annual meeting this spring in New Orleans.

Matt Johnson
Segment Director – Carpet & Turf
Americhem, Inc.
Bryan Walker
National Account Manager
Americhem, Inc.

Marty Staten
Account Manager
Americhem, Inc.



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Color Trends 2016- 2017

Color is our business. We work every day to ensure that our customers get the color they need for their products. But we don’t just match your color, we design your color to look great with the utmost in product performance.

To help our customers keep up with the latest product design trends, we just introduced the 2016-2017 Americhem Color Trends forecast in Dalton, Georgia. I presented our color trends to a record number of attendees in hopes of providing them with aesthetic inspiration. It was great to have so many creative minds in one room. As lead color trends specialist, I get the privilege to live and breathe colors all year round. The team and I conduct a lot of research and collaborate to bring the color trends to life. We are confident that these colors will guide consumer preference in the years to come. Our program can be valuable in keeping industry professionals ahead of the curve when it comes to color choices.

I took the audience through colors and palette themes by exploring images representing real life architecture, fashion, high tech gadgets, interior design and more. We find that these images are essential in demonstrating our trends in everyday settings.

This year, the trends are comprised of six color palettes including:

  • Rush Hour- The beginning and ending of every work day and work week.
  • Office Diligence- Hues from this palette are observed in everyday work. 
  • Casual Friday- TGIF everyone! A day to wind down and relax at the end of the week, but also to provide inspiration for a Friday night out or a weekend getaway.
  • Night Life- Night Life is glamorous and sophisticated, with contrasting colors that are used to accentuate luminous effects. Sparkles, glitter, shiny fabrics, and textures abound.
  • Welcome Distraction- This palette is a mix and match of bright and medium shades, perhaps eccentric, but also playful and energetic.
  • Sunday Brunch- The pastel hues of this palette remind us of traditional brunch foods and beverages, and impart a feeling of calm.

Our audience was so receptive to the presentation and I was pleased to see the feedback they provided.

Mary K. said, “Great inclusion of various cultural influences - fashion, pop culture, technology.” We were also told by Cherise P., “I enjoyed the way the presentation was given as a story that we could relate to. The visual presentation was well put together.” I enjoyed talking to all of the designers about the colors and it was a great experience for me as a presenter to see people get inspired.

Color trends apply to all industries interested in accenting their products with innovative, modern colors. Our forecasts reach across any and all product categories. From carpet to automotive and apparel to packaged goods, consumers are looking for the latest colors to make them stand out from the crowd. Please reference our color trends inspiration sheets to see how you can introduce our colors in any setting. 

And now, for the first time, you can experience our color trends in an upcoming webinar November 5. Register Today. If you are interested in learning more you can contact me at

Aubrey Barto
Color Trends Specialist, Americhem

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wrap-Up from the Remodeling Show/Deck Expo

Our commercial team attended the Remodeling Show/DeckExpo exhibition last week in Chicago. The event was held at Navy Pier on October 1-2. Educational sessions began on September 30 and ran through the end of the show.  This exhibition is held annually and the pattern lately has been to alternate shows between Baltimore and Chicago. For whatever reason, the Baltimore show tends to be the bigger of the two, but there was decent traffic throughout the opening day of the show, which was when we visited.

The show was characterized by a lack of new products. There were several items that had been introduced last year, but truly new offerings were hard to come by. For us, visiting the show was very worthwhile because we were able to talk to many of our customers in one place at one time, and our meetings with them were productive.

One item of note was the change of venue from the McCormick Place site to Navy Pier. The Pier has a small exposition center in a building farthest from the shore and it was busy throughout our visit. There were several nice restaurants right on Navy Pier, which made it an ideal locale for business lunches and dinners. Because McCormick Place is so big, it is isolated from the walkable part of Chicago, so it’s opportunities for on-site dining and other attractions is not nearly as great as what the Navy Pier had to offer.

All of the major players in the decking industry exhibited along with some of the producers of fencing, windows, roofing and cladding. The overall outlook on the industry seemed to be optimistic but guarded. It’s as if those in the building industry aren’t quite sure what to expect of the economy or the sector as a whole. Some of this is understandable, since the building industry was the one hardest hit over the last decade, so even when it’s easy for other industries to feel bullish, producers of building products are approaching the future with caution.

We’ll be anxious to see what the industry as a whole sees as their future when we visit the International Builder’s Show in January. In the meantime, if you’d like to give your opinion on the Remodeler’s Show/Deck Expo or comment on the state of the industry as a whole, please feel free to leave us a comment so we can continue the conversation.

Herman Volkening
Account Manager, Americhem, Inc.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Color of the Month - Orange

The color orange evokes thoughts of fall. Of changing leaves, sunsets and desert sandscapes. It’s active. It’s wholesome. 

Orange is vibrant. It symbolizes energy, vitality, adventure, warmth, and good health. Darker oranges offer a sense of comfort while lighter oranges are soothing.

But orange has a bit less intensity than red, calmed by the cheerfulness of yellow. "Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow." Wassily Kandinsky, Russian painter and art theorist.

Global Meanings of Orange*
  • Orange is associated with vitamin C and good health.
  • Orange is symbolic of autumn.
  • Orange is the color of life rafts, hazard cones, and universally associated with safety.

That’s why the orange family of colors from Americhem offer so many opportunities to differentiate your products. Let us know how we can help you design your next orange today.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

3D Printing: The Disruptive Technology

Are you interested in the world of 3D printing? As a rapidly growing sector of the manufacturing industry, the sales of products and services in 3D printing have grown at a 35.2% compounded annual growth rate and these products and services now comprise an industry worth over $4 billion.

Americhem scientist and R&D manager Ron Beck has been involved in developing colorants for 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, since 2012. He will be delivering a keynote address, “3D Printing: The Disruptive Technology” at the Society of Plastics Engineers CAD RETEC Conference on Tuesday, October 5 at 8:30 a.m. Ron will share his insights into the industry and the opportunities it offers for manufacturers to be on the cutting edge of modern technology.

Did you know that there are seven different types of 3D printing methods as defined by ASTM? Ron
will delve into each technology, describing each process’s methodology and their common uses. He’ll also describe how these 3D manufacturing methods are overcoming and augmenting some of the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding, blow molding, extrusion and vacuum forming.

So just what is a disruptive technology anyway? It’s a technology that creates a new market and then disrupts an existing technology and eventually takes over the parts of the industry that are unable to adapt to the competition. 3D printing certainly qualifies. The material extrusion method of 3D printing uses 1.75 to 3.0 mm filament as its raw material. Ron will explain how Americhem is adapting its vDesign software to optimize and accelerate the filament buying process.

Ron’s paper will also examine industries where 3D printing is revolutionizing the way people do things, such as the medical, dental and aerospace industries. He’ll also take a look at the limitations of the technology as it currently stands.

We encourage you to attend the keynote address if you’ll be at CAD RETEC. We also plan to develop white papers and other content based on Ron’s research. If you have a question that he can help answer, please feel free to leave a comment so we can continue the conversation.