PCI’s Midwest/West Coast Sales Manager, Lisa Guldan, and I were recently invited to tour the LANXESS Starpointe facility in the greater Pittsburgh area. Located in Burgettstown, PA, the site is home to laboratories, and blending and finishing operations for inorganic pigments. This facility produces precision colors for the construction and coatings industries through a meticulous blending process of base ingredients.

The site, which has a capacity of 12 million pounds per year, was specifically configured to fulfill LANXESS’ blending needs, contributing to operational savings through optimum raw-material flow and more efficient production. The facility also prides itself on its safety record: 28 years without a lost work day and 15 years without a recordable injury.

The site’s paint laboratory, which was renovated last year, handles inquiries, as well as provides testing, samples, color matching and new color development. Much of the work being done in this lab revolves around the red iron oxide pigments being produced with the novel Ningbo production process at the company’s new iron oxide plant in Ningbo, China. These sustainably produced pigments can now be used to color match competitive products. The next step for LANXESS will be to introduce “New Red” iron oxide pigments with an unmatched color hue – made possible also by this innovative new production process.

While at Starpointe, I was invited to attend a private “paint-making” seminar with Gary Balint, Technical Service Manager Inorganic Pigments. The seminar included an in-depth presentation on the components of color, the various resins, pigments and additives that go into paint, as well as paint dispersing and measuring various paint properties. The highlight, however, were the two hours he spent with me in the paint lab, helping me make, test and perform drawdowns on a pigment dispersion using the New Red pigment from Ningbo.

The visit was very timely, as we are publishing an article on the company’s New Red pigment on page 44 of this issue. Many thanks to Gary for spending much of his day with me and answering all of my questions, and to Hans-Peter Baldus, Head of the Inorganic Pigments Group in North America, and Jörg Hellwig, Head of the Inorganic Pigments Business Unit at LANXESS, for being our tour guides for the day!