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September 28, 1998

1 Min Read
The true cost of custom colorants

Molders sometimes complain about the high cost of custom color concentrates, but how much do they really cost? Vince Staropoli, general manager of the Delaware, OH operations of Carolina Color Corp. (Salisbury, NC) wants molders to look at the cost from the total processing cost equation.

As an example, he offers a 300-ton press molding an average throughput of 72 lb/hour of material. He says that the latest reported national average hourly rate for a 300-tonner is a little more than $48/hour. So, a realistic estimate of the typical per-pound operational overhead, exclusive of downtime, would be 67 cents. An equally typical ratio of custom color concentrate per 100 lb of material would be 3 lb. And so, 72 lb of material would require 2.16 lb of custom color concentrate, "at a realistic national cost norm of approximately $2.50/lb," Staropoli says. If you consider the cost of the color concentrate as 7.5 cents/lb of molded product, it amounts to only about 1/9 of the 67 cents/lb of operational overhead cost. Therefore, Staropoli argues that the performance, aesthetic, and sales and marketing value of using custom colorants is very high compared to its very low contribution to overall costs.

What's that? You say you're paying more than $2.50/lb for custom colors, or need to use a higher load factor? Staropoli says that even if you use an "unrealistically high cost factor of $3/lb" of color concentrate at a consumption ratio of 100:5, it only amounts to 1/4 of the operating cost.

Carolina Color Corp.'s website, www.carocolor.com, features additional information about the value of colorants.

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