Ryce colors helps packaging producers, textile dyers, paper mills and others keep their products bright. By Jim Harris
In the consumer-packaging world, appearance can be as critical as functionality. An unattractive foam tray used to hold a meat product or off-shade paperboard could lead a discriminating consumer to make another purchase.
The makers of the packaging used for food, cosmetics and other consumer products want to ensure that their goods are attractive to consumers. The pigments and dyes used to color plastic, paper and textiles in that packaging play a major role in ensuring the eye appeal of goods. Colorants must not only be attractive to the consumer, but also consistent in quality and safety.
Royce Colors has been in business for more than 80 years.
“When you’re supplying and serving companies that make products used to package food, consumer products and dye fabric there has to be 100 percent quality and consistency,” Royce Colors Principal Wylie Royce says. “These companies are in a very competitive business – they can’t afford any downtime or rejects so everything has to be as efficient as.possible, delivered on time and to exacting specifications.”
Royce Colors draws on its decades of experience in the chemical and colorant manufacturing industry to ensure its customers get what they need when they need it, and at the right consistency and formulation. The East Rutherford, N.J., based company manufactures and supplies a complete range of polymer colorants, functional masterbatches and compounds, and dyes and colorants that can be used on textiles, paper and plastics.
The company says its product diversity is one of the biggest keys to its success.
The company’s customers range from manufacturers of polystyrene foam packaging to cosmetic packaging, recycled paperboard and clothing to producers of medical X-ray film. “We typically serve very mature markets that tend to be affected less violently by economic upturns and downturns,” Royce says, citing packaging as an example. “During the Great Recession, takeout containers were affected because people weren’t eating out as much, but containers used to package meat and produce sold in supermarkets picked up.”
Market and product diversity have been hallmarks of the company since its origins. Founded byAlbert J. Royce Sr. in 1929, Royce Chemical initially supplied chemicals used in the textile industry until the late 197os, when it acquired Passaic Color and Chemical, a dye manufacturing company. In 1981, it sold its chemical business, focusing instead on dye manufacturing. The company from 1981 to 1986 also supplied zinc powder used in alkaline batteries.
In the late 19803, the company added a plastic processing business, which included recycling polystyrene. This later shifted to color concentrate and additive manufacturing.
Royce Colors is one of three business units now owned and operated by the Royce family that serve manufacturing customers throughout the United States. The other divisions of the company, collectively known as Royce Associates, are: Royce Reductive Chemicals, which offers a line of reducing agents used in vat dyeing, textile stripping, precious metal recovery, recycled paper de-inking and other applications; and Royce Specialty Chemicals and Additives, which manufactures zinc borate, zinc powder, sodium nitrite and other chemicals used in a variety of appli- cations including as fire retardants and smoke suppressants, as well as in paint formulations and other chemical manufacturing processes.
In addition, the company is associated with Royce International, founded by Harry Anand. Royce International has grown to be a major supplier and manufacturer of epoxy resins, diluents and curing agents to the coatings, construction and aerospace industries.
“We like the idea of having several legs to stand on, so if one market is not doing as well, we have others to fall back on,” Wylie Royce says.
Royce Associates is now in the fourth generation of leadership by the Royce family, with Wylie’s nephew A.J. Royce taking a large role in its management. “He’s running the business every day and doing a phenomenal job of it,” Wylie Royce says.
The company continues to expand its capabilities and reach. Two years ago, Royce purchased a new building in Gaffney, S.C., to support its vat dye manufacturing efforts and warehouse its products for customers in the southern United States. The company earlier this year also purchased the vat dye business of Sunbelt Chemicals, a North Carolina manufacturer. “Organic growth is still a general focus of ours,” he adds.
“PROBABLY ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF OUR PRODUCT LINE CAN BE CONSIDERED CUSTOM. WE’VE PROBABLY CREATED BETWEEN 15,000 AND 20,000 COLORS.”
The Gaffney plant is one of five plants operated by the company in New Jersey and South Carolina. Royce Colors also has co-manufacturing agreements with companies in Pennsylvania, Europe and Asia.
Royce’s manufacturing runs from synthesizing basic and solvent dyes to vat dye processing, which begins with specialized grinding of the press cake it uses to manufacture end product. Grinding, shading and finishing operations are performed on the press cake,which the company from manufacturing partners in Asia.
Royce Colors also blends, compounds has toll manufactured and resells hundreds of different dyes, pigments and additives to create custom master batch products for the plastics industry. “Probably about 80 percent of our product line can be considered custom,” Wylie Royce says. “We’ve probably created between 15,000 to 20,000 colors, and can create 20 to 30 new color matches every week.”
All of the company’s dyes and color blends are rigorously tested in on-site labs for dispersion, UV stability and other quality measurements as required for the individual product or by the customer.
Royce Colors has multiple manufacturing facilities in New Jersey and South Carolina.