How to use masterbatches for coloring plastics
The most common application of masterbatch is the coloring of plastic materials. Masterbatch is the most effective method for coloring plastics. When producing filament to match the color of an existing end product, there can be a large number of components that affect the final color. Today, we shall discuss how the desired color may be achieved whether it is for branding or aesthetic appearance.
A specific color production would necessitate attention to details at all level. The final masterbatch color will depend on:
+ Proper selection of pigment for masterbatch production.
+ The ratio at which the pigments are utilized.
+ The type of polymer used such as LLDP, HIPS, ABS, SAN, PVC, PP, polyester, polycarbonate or nylon.
+ The base color of the polymer being used. Different polymers have different base colors ranging from clear, cream or yellow tinted.
+ The type of extrusion machine used: single screw extrusion or twin screw extrusion or FCM.
+ A dispersing agent that is used for uniform dispersion of the pigment into the carrier resin.
+ The optimum temperature of every pigment polymer combination based on the heat stability of the pigments as well as polymers.
+ Each of these steps would result in different levels of masterbatch being used in each process to produce the same result and has to be considered in the masterbatch formulation.
Another vital factor to be taken into consideration is the optimum use of both internal as well as external lubricants to reduce frictional forces between the polymer molecules and the pigment. This generally aids dispersion and lubricates the melt flow (increase ’flow’ at lower temperatures).
The above steps will ensure the production of a high-quality masterbatch, but the end user application will also need optimum utilization of masterbatches to attain the desired product. Every manufacturer aims at the best product and close collaboration between masterbatch manufacturer, and the user is the key requirement for the highest quality of plastics.
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