Colored plastic is seen and used everyday, but very few people know how plastics get colored. Different systems of coloring offer different pros and cons, and usually the customers' needs dictates how a certain type of plastic will be colored. Below we will be going of the three most common types of coloring (masterbatchs, cube blends, precolored resins). If you are in the market for having plastics colored, it is always best to call and discuss your needs with professionals. That is always the best way to pick the process used.
Masterbatchs, which is also known as concentrates, is probably the most frequently used method of coloring plastics. Masterbatch works when concentrated pigments and mixed into a polymer resin. The process requires heat, so that the pigments mix, but after the final product is cooled to a final shape and color. If dealing with small volumes of plastic, this becomes the most economical way to color plastic. Another benefit of masterbatch is its ability to have a quick turn around time.
Cube blends work by using a dry masterbatch blend with a natural polymer. Cube blends are sometimes called salt and pepper mixes. This process of coloring is normally done when there is no metering equipment. It allows for the user of the machine to have precise control over the final output. Another benefit of cube blends is that the polymer has remained solid; this means that cube blends preserve original properties.
Precolored resins, or compounds, are another options for getting colored plastics. This is one of the easiest ways to color plastic, but that ease comes at a price: it is harder to achieve exact color specifications. Precolored resins are sometimes used in conjunction with masterbatch that needs high let down ratios.
Regardless of the method used for coloring, it is proven that colored plastic is more valuable and desirable than untreated plastics. This is why most industries employ color-compounding companies to help them bring color to their products. If you are creating a plastic product that needs color, whether the run of products is big or small, call a professional compounding company and talk through your needs. A good company will be able to provide you with samples along the coloring process, so that each client has a direct hand in making sure the final product is perfect.