Monday, July 21, 2014

What is a project house?

In an article by Alex Scott about Clariant and its R&D structure, an interesting paragraph (emphasis mine):
The company now has eight R&D centers and 50 technical application labs worldwide. “We now have a very good infrastructure for trying to develop innovations,” Kottmann said. 
Clariant is also testing models for accelerating innovation. One such model, in trials for the past couple of years, is the so-called project house, which draws together chemists and commercial executives from Clariant and beyond to identify and execute intensive product development. The firm’s first project house, which is in Italy, is for its masterbatches business, which supplies color and performance additive concentrates to plastics makers. The project house is still at the trial phase but is proving extremely beneficial, the company said. 
Even in businesses without the project house structure, Clariant is seeking to closely link research with commercial activities, said Christian Kohlpaintner, Clariant’s board member responsible for R&D. This has been the case with the firm’s Synergen OS adjuvant, a blend of methylated seed oil and a polymeric surfactant. The product encourages sprayed-on pesticide to stick to plant leaves, leading to enhanced exposure to the active ingredients.
I don't quite understand -- is the "house" an actual physical building or is it a structure? 


  1. Clearly it is something you buy relatively cheap, but in rundown state, with intention of investing time and not insignificant amount of money to bring it up to specs. Common subprojects include roof replacement, new windows, flooring, plumbing, kitchen, improvement to electrical system, and finishing basement.

  2. Clariant should consider using a term other than "masterbatches".

  3. This sounds to me like a buch of marketing-speak, along the linds of a "center of excellence." Also, that synergen OS adjuvant........nothing exciting there. Agrochemical distributers and manufacturers have been selling MSO adjuvants for a while now.

    1. The trick with Clariant's adjuvant is not the MSO but the glycerol ester based surfactant.

  4. I think they mean 'house' like the way we refer to a publishing company as a 'publishing house'. Also, there might be some glitches in meaning/word choice, since Clariant is a German company.
    It should be 'master batches' and not 'masterbatches'. And they should have made clear that these are the pigment concentrates that are used to color plastics.
    All this being said, this is just more 'marketing-speak, as ClutchChemist suggests. Already, there are product R and D chemists in the chemical industry who are constantly in touch with their marketing people and their customers.