The site, located at the company's Ohio-based head office in the US, will allow the group to work directly with manufacturers to develop specific solutions for masterbatches that can then be used in packaging polymers. With growing concerns over the costs of ensuring environmental sustainability and functionality within packaging products, Americhem's research & development (R&D) director says that tailored solutions are increasingly important to manufacturers. "The R&D centre offers our scientists a place to innovate new solutions and all the tools our clients need to streamline product development," Cathy Hanlin stated. "Because Americhem serves clients in a wide array of market segments, it was important to invest in technology that would serve multiple needs." In the food and beverage packaging sector alone, the company says that its products are already used within bottles and many important products for food. A spokesperson for the group told FoodProductionDaily.com that Americhem therefore hoped to encourage its clients to visit the R&D centre to get a better understanding of future areas for packaging. "The goal is to encourage customers in one industry to see the technologies we have developed for other industries so that they can borrow ideas from these innovations across industries," the spokesperson said. To aid manufacturers, the company says that the site has been equipped with a full range of analytical equipment, including weathering and end-use testing laboratories, process simulators and masterbatch processing products. The company added that the site would also be fitted with a number of food and beverage packaging technologies to offer a more precise recreation of their own production lines including injection molding, blow molding and coextrusion machines. Besides innovation within the packaging formulation itself, Americhem says that it also offers field support as part of the service, by sending its own technicians and scientists to ensure that any new solutions are compatible with the plant's equipment. Company chief executive officer Rick Juve said the centre could potentially herald some significant developments for food packaging. "This experience enables our clients to create next-generation products and, in some cases, leads to the invention of an entirely new product category," he stated. Any innovations developed at the centre will be able to be replicated at any of Americhem's worldwide production operations, the company said.