When it comes to color, getting it right can be a challenge. Adding color will always affect the polymer being processed, although the way in which it does so will vary from plastic to plastic, and even from color to color. Converters are faced with choices such as using higher doses of weaker masterbatches, which facilitates an even dispersion throughout, or small quantities of a stronger masterbatch, which can offer cost advantages. Wall thickness, color, transparency, and application are all factors that affect the choice of a masterbatch.
Granula, a major masterbatch producer based in Switzerland and Germany, sought a way to systematize these effects. The company is offering a service that is aimed at helping customers oversee their masterbatch decisions at an early stage, before their product goes into series production. Together with a group of mechanical engineering students at Reutlingen University, the company has come up with a test specimen that has been designed specifically to enable masterbatch customers to analyze a number of important properties of colored plastics and plastic part design requirements in advance. Based on this test specimen, various constructional and design aspects can be tested in order to determine whether a color performance is delivered that is compliant with the specification of the relevant plastic part.