Mouthpiece and pacemaker
With the founding of the Masterbatch Verband in 1998, the industry was not only given a common mouthpiece, but also leadership in setting the pace of the value chain. In the 20 years of its existence, the “colouring agent” for thermoplastics of all kinds has increasingly become a functional component of a wide variety of plastic products.
How was this supposed to work: Companies who, in the past, barely noticed each other at best and were likelier to speak about rather than with each other were asked to suddenly work together in a newly founded Masterbatch Verband? Th is sounds challenging, however, common ideas and goals were immediately evident and they are still valid today. Th e professionalism of the VdMi branch offi ce played a critical role in the association quickly becoming a forum for the exchange of information and forming of company opinion. Th e association bundles common interests, sharpens the profi le of the industry in public perception and serves as the point of contact for customer industries.
Burning issues that all companies must face, such as specialist training and advanced education, are the special focus of the association’s work. One of the fi rst projects the members developed was a training course for colourists (see page 08). Th e “extruder driving licence” is another association success: All member companies profit from bundled knowledge on extrusion systems, the primary tool used for masterbatch production. Also, the association’s reference book “Colour and Additive Masterbatches in Practice” educates customers and universities on basic masterbatch principles, processing techniques and potential applications.
The Masterbatch Verband is becoming a central point of contact for the industry regarding technical, ecological and regulatory questions. Years before the new REACH regulation, it prepared its members for the responsibilities of new chemicals legislation. And there’s more: Masterbatches are also positioned in the middle of the supply chain for all kinds of plastic products, from stadium seats and children’s ride-on cars to disposable syringes. Th ey must meet very diff erent requirements depending on the application. For the association, this means dealing with the regulations of a variety of industries.
Twenty years aft er its founding, it is obvious to its 22 members that an industry association is given greater attention when consulting with customer associations or authorities. Th e industry is confi dent venturing into the future. Plastics continue to open new perspectives of innovation and sustainability, for example, in the automotive and electronics industries or in medical technology. Th e Masterbatch Verband will play an important role as a pioneer and pacesetter for new developments.