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Preliminary Assessment of the Pigment Making Processes and Business

January 22nd, 1994

Prosyma Research Ltd report to Cookson Pigments Incorporated

S F Bush


This is a report on a five-day visit to Cookson Pigments Inc and follow up analysis. The basis of the analysis is to see the business as a total system designed and controlled on three connected levels: the business level, the plant level, and the level of the fundamental physical and chemical processes.

The analysis shows that the current CPI business is typical of an underloaded chemicals business. Intermediate and ultimate financial goals are suggested to bring the return on net assets (RONA) at CPI to the average for the Cookson Group (about 12% in 1992). While consumables cost reduction is always important, the analysis shows that the single most important factor in reaching the suggested financial goals is increased sales volume followed by reduction in raw materials costs.

To achieve these sub-goals on the plant, two concepts are singled out for attention: intensification of the chemical and physical processes and improved repeatability within the reaction vessels. This is seen as the major factor in reducing batch to batch variability which will open the way to a major reduction in blending. A number of factors will be involved in the intensification goal, but the chief one will be increases in concentrations of reacting species. The chief factor in improved repeatability is likely to be improved control over the addition and dispersion of added ingredients in order to minimise concentration gradients. Reducing concentration gradients will be a major factor in realising the intensification goal on the plant.

It is suggested that a formal Development Plan be formulated and adopted with the relation between the technical charges and the financial benefits clearly identified. A modest increase in the available chemical engineering expertise is also suggested, along with a number of other specific proposals.