Holliday Pigments

Holliday Pigments Ltd is the world’s largest manufacturer of ultramarine blue pigments, exporting to over 80 countries. With over 50% of worldwide sales, the company is committed to maintaining its market leader position by continuously improving performance. The unique colour properties of ultramarine blue are exploited in many applications, such as plastics, inks, packaging, paints, cosmetics. and many more. An ever­ increasing range of new uses drives the company’s continual goal of product diversity and quality improvement.

The manufacturing process is highly complex; part batch, part continuous. As with all such processes, consistency is the key to maximised quality. This can only be achieved by an in­depth knowledge of the causes of process variability, often in areas where the relevant values cannot be measured directly, for instance in high temperature kilns, or where the interaction of variables is complex.

In 2004, a study undertaken by AJM Consulting and funded by DTI’s e4C (e­Technology for Chemicals) programme concluded that multi­variate analysis of a wide range of process data could be used to identify the causes of perturbation and therefore to enable improved quality and yield.

To assist in developing their process knowledge to new levels of sophistication, Holliday Pigments has now invested in the MS2 Process Diagnostics System from AJM Consulting to analyse its production and quality data. Developed by AJM Consulting, this system uses innovative algorithms and visualisation tools to identify the consequences of the interaction of process variables and to pinpoint areas in which performance can be improved still further.

Looking to the future, Holliday Pigments is also planning to develop the system further, in conjunction with AJM Consulting, to increase the depth of data analysed and to enable current production to be analysed to enable informed decisions to be made in real time ­ decisions which could provide major benefits in quality, environmental, cost and throughput performance.

' The project has yielded some very promising early results, confirming a number of firmly held views on the process whilst also challenging a few of our perceptions. The principal component analysis has been of particular interest and has given us some valuable insights into options to explore in process control strategies and planned preventative maintenance activities. We look forward to applying the MS2 Process Diagnostics System to a wider set of data in the expectation there will be a few more hidden gems yet to be revealed'

Glyn Jagger, Operations Director, Holliday Pigments Ltd