When injection moulding plastic parts for our customers most of them tend to be black or natural, but there is a wide array of colours available. If a specific colour or shade is needed we can generally match to a RAL and Pantone references or we can colour match from existing products or samples. There are many different options available depending on your requirements.
There are two common ways of adding colour to polymers before injection moulding; adding masterbatch or having the material compounded. Brief explanations and the advantages and disadvantages of each option are listed below:
Masterbatch is a solid concentrate of colour and is supplied in granular form as pellets which are similar in size to most polymers.
There are two different types available, universal or polymer specific. Universal is compatible with a broad range of polymers and polymer specific is produced using the same base polymer group as the plastic being coloured.
The end use of the product being manufactured will determine which type is needed by matching the suitability of the masterbatch to the polymer. Engineering polymers tend to require a more specific masterbatch due to higher processing temperatures or complex chemical structures within the polymer.
The masterbatch granules are mixed with the polymer granules at a pre-determined ratio, this can be anything from 1-10%. Once the granules are mixed they are loaded into the injection moulding machine for processing. This offers an easy and convenient way of adding a colour to polymer to create coloured injection moulded plastic components.
Advantages: lower cost, optimum dispersion of pigments, flexibility, quick lead times, small batches available.
Disadvantages: colour consistency throughout batch, accurate dosing is essential.
When colour compounding, the material supplier mixes the colour with the base material during manufacture and delivers the plastic granules ready coloured. This method results in consistent, repeatable colouring and is sometimes the best option for colouring materials with a dense base colour such as fire retardant ABS.
The process is more suited to large volumes of plastic as it can be expensive for smaller quantities and the price varies depending upon the polymer being compounded. Prices are available upon request of quotation for your injection moulding project.
Advantages: excellent colour distribution, ease of use, consistent colour within batch.
Disadvantages: more expensive, longer lead time, generally larger batches or MOQ’s
If you have a project that requires coloured injection mouldings get in touch with RP Technologies today on 0121 550 5868 or visit www.rptechnologies.co.uk to learn more about our capabilities.
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