It started with a successful lab trial several years ago that proved out a customer concept. Today, it is a partnership between ENTEK and one of the largest custom color concentrates manufacturers in the world. Based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Americhem Inc. recently celebrated its 73rd year in business as a leader in color and additive solutions. The company is a global leader with 12 facilities and nine manufacturing plants worldwide. Americhem is in the midst of a multi-year plan to move their manufacturing platform to state-of-the-art high speed, high efficiency equipment in order to drive their service, quality and cost position to optimum levels. ENTEK is proud to be partnering with Americhem to help them succeed with this initiative, and is a key supplier to the company for twin-screw extruders, replacement wear parts and plant engineering services.
First, A Successful Lab Trial
Like most ENTEK customer relationships, this one began in the ENTEK in-house development lab. Americhem first approached ENTEK in 2007 with a need to run lab trials to successfully increase processing rates for their compounds. The success of that trial led to Americhem’s purchase of their first ENTEK twin-screw extruder.
“We were successful in helping Americhem produce their color concentrates to their specifications,” said John Effmann, ENTEK Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our twin-screw extruders provided them with higher speeds, better mixing capabilities and better output than what they were achieving with their existing lines.” The successful trials led to Americhem purchasing two ENTEK 53mm twin-screw extruders; today, the company operates a number of ENTEK twin-screw extruders across the globe in sizes ranging from 27mm to 103mm, servicing specific market and customer needs.
Beyond Machinery – to State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Operations
As time went on, ENTEK’s relationship with Americhem grew. “We worked hard at building a technical processing relationship by listening to what Americhem wanted to accomplish, and working with them to meet and exceed those needs,” said Effmann.
In 2009, in the midst of the recession, ENTEK’s lean manufacturing journey was underway. After sharing some of its findings with Americhem, ENTEK was invited to send a multi-faceted team to help ‘jump start’ an internal improvement project in one plant. This sharing of resources and information led to tangible improvements for both companies.
When Americhem approached ENTEK about a new plant they were considering, both companies worked to define a process of helping each other to get the plant, its processes and the tasks defined in such a way to maximize resources in a cost effective manner. The result was the opening of Americhem’s Liberty, NC facility in 2011. This plant was designed and built through the ENTEK/Americhem partnership. It employs the industry’s best practices to produce high quality color concentrates and compounds.
“The Liberty plant is only one example of how our partnership with ENTEK has benefited Americhem,” said Doug Rich, Americhem’s Director of Global Manufacturing. “It’s a state-of-the-art plant, but there’s more to it than that. It represents how we’ve partnered with ENTEK to drive our company’s values, which include providing better service to our customers through worldwide upgrading and improvement of our plants and services.”
A Winning Relationship
“Our companies are a great fit,” said Effmann. “We work together at all levels – management, technical support, and customer service.”
Some examples of ENTEK’s services in helping Americhem include:
- Proving out new compound formulae in ENTEK’s lab so that extrusion equipment could be specified correctly, early in the process
- Employing project management techniques to keep communication channels open, so both companies can track each project from the same data points
- Complex integration of plant systems
- Regular reports showing quotes, orders, and delivery status for all plants worldwide
- Spare parts manufacturing and stocking, and control system upgrade programs for both ENTEK and non ENTEK machinery
The partnership between ENTEK and Americhem has led to some impressive accomplishments for both companies. Americhem’s Rich stated: “We value our relationship with ENTEK. Our companies have worked together very well and we plan on continuing to work with ENTEK for the foreseeable future.”