Professionals needed 5,805,864 building blocks to complete a 13-meter-high model of London’s Tower Bridge in Packington Hall, England. A world record! They spent a whole five months working on the famous landmark, and were finally able to present it to the public on September 28, 2016. Never before had so many plastic bricks from a single toy manufacturer been used to build one piece. Laid end-to-end, they would form a line reaching from Tower Bridge in London all the way to Paris. For the artists, this was enough to earn them an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.
When the manufacturers of toy plastic building blocks want to make the eyes of adults and children alike light up with excitement, LANXESS has the answer. Macrolex organic dyes are among the colorants used to give the bright building blocks their color. Not only are they completely safe for children and adults, they are also very color-intense. In addition to toys, these literally brilliant molecules can be found in a whole range of end products, such as car rear lights and plastic drinks bottles. These special products are manufactured in LANXESS’s organic colorant plant in Leverkusen. Alongside dyes for coloring plastics, the plant’s product portfolio also includes many other products that make the world a more colorful, brighter place. Inks, paints, laminate and high-end applications such as color filters for LCD screens in flat-screen televisions and smartphones all get their colors from colorants made in Leverkusen. The entire portfolio includes 150 different products with an annual capacity of approximately 5,000 metric tons. The multi-purpose facility achieves this using around 250 raw materials.
THE QUALITY OF THE COLOR IS THE KEY TO ITS SUCCESS
“Macrolex has now established itself as a global standard for quality in the dye industry,” says plant manager Axel Lache.
The dyes are manufactured in the batch process, with the products being produced in individual batches one after another. “Nonetheless, we can manufacture up to 25 products at a time in our plant,” says Lache. This means that switching products entails significant outlay and effort. “It can take up to a week to clean and adapt the facility sufficiently so that we can be certain there will be no contaminants in the product,” explains production manager Michael Raab. “Our employees need a lot of experience for this. In extreme cases, it takes just 0.01 percent of blue in a batch of yellow to cause all that material to fall below the required standard, making it unsellable. The loss incurred can be equivalent to the value of a detached house.” High product quality is therefore vital. This quality includes both precise compliance with the color tone and an even color intensity, in other words, the amount of dye required to color a specific number of parts.
“We deliver our dyes and pigments to more than 800 customers worldwide,” says plant manager Lache. “And we use strictly defined recipes that must always lead to the same color outcome. In addition, a long service life is also part of the quality we promise. If you lay a 20-year-old red toy brick next to a new one, you will not see any difference in the color,” promises Lache.