ONTARIO, CALIF. — With a new facility came an opportunity for Nellson to become not only more flexible for its customers but also more collaborative with them. While the company always had R.&D. labs at its facilities, its latest plant in Ontario, Calif., takes its capabilities to the next level.

“We are creating a center of excellence in R.&D. so we can work collaboratively with our customers onsite to shorten the product development life cycle,” said Bart Child, senior vice-president, commercial development, about the Ontario site. “Traditional development cycles have been as long as 18 months, and now it’s a fraction of that, and now we can respond with products that get developed and to market quicker.”

Nellson’s center of excellence, known as The Launchpad, has a scale-up pilot line to replicate production on the plant floor. It features both of Nellson’s mixing technologies, co-extrusion and slab layering. The R.&D. lab is a fully compliant GMP facility that can micro test and commercially wrap product for consumer testing. This pilot line enables the company to produce samples, up to several hundred, without interrupting the production lines.

“This has proven to be a very cost-effective way for our customers to test product,” Mr. Child said.

The true benefit of The Launchpad, however, is the space it creates for Nellson’s R.&D. experts to work side-by-side with customers. By having customers collaborate with Nellson, samples no longer need to be shipped to the customer for input. Product development can be in real time and streamlined to get to market faster.

Nellson employs more than 40 research scientists who focus on new product development.

“We understand very well what can go from the lab into scalable product, so while we’re developing these prototypes with customers, there is no lack of certainty if this will work on the line at high speeds and be cost-effective,” Mr. Child explained. “Right out of the gate, we’re creating products that ultimately will work.”