In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on adding colored resin to molded plastic products. This is a common part of the plastic injection molding process, but must be carried out properly to achieve not only the desired color, but also proper plastic characteristics for the application in question.
At EnviroTech Custom Injection Molders, we offer numerous plastic product design engineering solutions in addition to our custom plastic injection molding services. We’ll help you understand everything you need to know about infusing color into your desired plastic materials, including the type and quantity of colorant to use and several other factors. In today’s part two, we’ll go over some important basics on color matching and how colorants impact plastic qualities within applications.
As part of this process, our designers will walk you through the color-matching phase. This allows us to develop a specific color concentrate for your product or application. This is generally done using chips or plaques that provide an existing hue to match, then a specific polymer used to create the concentrate.
There will be several important factors at play in selecting this polymer, including carrier resins, pigment systems, stabilizers and other additive types required. We’ll also consider factors like the gloss of the polymer and filler content, which may impact the appearance of the final product. We can match any polymer available, from nylon to polypropylene, PVC and even acrylics.
Colorant Impact on Plastic Qualities
It’s vital to note that not only do colorants have an impact on the hue and color of your plastic products, but also other practical qualities. Some factors to keep in mind here:
- Compatibility: As we mentioned in part one, the colorant and polymer must be compatible on a chemical level. These chemicals often interact, and this can impact properties like temperature tolerance, flexibility and impact resistance.
- Color dimensions: The parts in different colorants might have differing dimensions, which is important when using tight tolerances.
- Pigment levels: The more pigment involved in the injection, the color’s impact on the plastic grows. Too much pigment may impact properties or coloring depth.
- Certifications: For food, medical and toy areas, regulatory requirements must be met – if a color alters component properties, it’s possible the certification here will be denied. This is why it’s important to work with pros who understand these requirements.
Common Colorant-Related Applications
Some examples of plastic coloring for specific applications include:
- Auto components: Many such parts require exact color matches with other parts, meaning precision and detail are required.
- Window components: Especially in the case of smaller window components, colorants resistant to fading and heat buildup are commonly used.
- Sanitary areas: For any items that may contact food, medical applications or toys, as we noted earlier, there are strict regulatory requirements involving both resins and colorants.
For more on color infusion with your custom molded products, or to learn about any of our plastic injection molding services, speak to the staff at EnviroTech Custom Injection Molders today.