For some companies, a relatively minor acquisition can provide a major impetus for growth and success in other fields.
Such is the case with Peacock Colors, the Addison, IL-based manufacturer of UV inks and colorants for plastics. In 1967, Frank Bloom, then president of Peacock Colors, acquired Homer Palmer, a small ink and plastic colorants company. As a result of that purchase, Peacock Colors has developed a niche in the rapidly expanding plastics field, utilizing the knowledge it acquired in plastic colorants from Homer Palmer plus its current focus on UV inks to fuel its growth.
“In 1967, we bought Homer Palmer, which made ink for Vander Cook perfecting presses as well as colorants for plastics,” said Cliff Bloom, Peacock Colors’ president and Frank Bloom’s son. “Now, we primarily supply colorants for plastics, and UV ink for paper and what we call ‘plastic deco.’”
A third-generation family business, Peacock Colors was founded in 1929 by Frank Bloom, Cliff Bloom’s grandfather, who was followed by his son Frank. Cliff Bloom joined the company in 1975, and became president in 1992. The company had focused on carton inks in its early years, but the changing business climate led it to look for new opportunities.
“Our primary business used to be four-color process, Pantone‚ colors and background inks for the carton industry and commercial printers, but much of the packaging industry is converting to plastic,” Mr. Bloom said. “We needed to find a new niche. We were converting two-piece and three-piece metal deco and UV ink for other companies and saw the potential.”
Service is of great importance to plastic processors and printers where turnaround is essential. For Peacock Colors, being able to formulate the right colorants and inks in and on substrates ranging from molded parts to bottles, tubes, sheet and film is critical.
“Customers demand quick turnaround for both colorants and inks,” Mr. Bloom said. “It’s more involved coloring plastic because of the variety of pigments and dyes that are used in different substrates. This gives us an advantage because we work with such a wide range of pigments and we are also familiar with both thermoplastic and thermoset polymers. I believe there is a lot of synergy because we know what works in plastics. We’re also familiar with pigments for exterior applications, chemical resistance, and FDA-certified pigments for food packaging applications.”
For plastic printing, Mr. Bloom has found that UV inks work best, and the company has hired top-flight people to create its inks. “We have also developed UV formulations for flexo and silk screen applications; printing processes we weren’t involved in before,” Mr. Bloom added.
“UV enables you to have a continuous process,” Mr. Bloom said. “You can print and ship immediately. For that reason alone, UV is ideal. You can print on virtually everything, including paper, metal, glass and plastics.”
Above all, Peacock Colors is paying close attention to its customers’ needs, with an eye toward the future. For example, Mr. Bloom foresees sheetfed metal deco being replaced by shrink-wrap, and the smart card industry is becoming an increasingly important segment of the industry.
“You have to be aware of what market your customer serves,” Mr. Bloom said. “In the current economy, you have to help your customers develop and market new products. There is a demand for many products that have not been developed yet.”
Considering Peacock Colors’ record of innovation, those possibilities will most likely become reality in the coming years.