If you haven’t heard of masterbatch, you are missing out on a key aspect of the plastics industry. Masterbatch is a highly concentrated blend of pigments and additives that provide additional benefits to the final product. These benefits include improved gloss, increased durability, and decreased cost. Let’s take a closer look at masterbatch and its applications in the plastics industry. We’ll also explore its use in the automotive industry.
Masterbatch is a concentrated mixture of pigments and additives
A Masterbatch is a concentrated mixture of colorants and additives used in plastics manufacturing processes. These substances are insoluble organic or inorganic particles that are added to a polymer base to give it colour. In addition to colour, masterbatch compounds can also provide a range of performance characteristics, including thermal stability and colour flexibility. Some of the common uses of colour masterbatches include the injection moulding of plastic bottles and insulation cables.
Plastic industry masterbatches allow the processor to color a raw polymer economically and uniformly. Several types of masterbatches are used for this purpose. These compounds are produced in six separate steps – mixing, weighing, twin screw extrusion, sieving, and bagging. Some of them may also have additional properties, such as increased weather resistance. For example, synthetic exteriors can be printed on with more vibrant colors thanks to the use of additive masterbatches.
While there are many benefits to using masterbatches, they do have some disadvantages, such as the need for additional storage space and lead times. Moreover, masterbatches may require additional heat exposure, especially if the pigments are marginally thermal stable. In plastics manufacturing, masterbatches can help alleviate these drawbacks by being a better alternative than using fully compounded pigments. Using masterbatches can also help the plastic manufacturing industry avoid problems involving clumping and colourants.
The Masterbatch industry will grow steadily throughout the forecast period. Various emerging economies will continue to fuel the global market. For instance, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the largest Masterbatching market in 2020, with growth expected in countries such as China and India. While manufacturing is a large component of the market, other end-use industries will also benefit from masterbatch technology.
It reduces the hazardous nature of the additive
The use of Masterbatch in the plastic industry has several advantages. For example, it offers a high level of compatibility with existing polyolefins, a feature that allows it to be used in a wide range of applications. In addition, it offers high hiding power and low letdown ratio. It is suitable for food packaging and injection molded articles, and can be used outdoors as well.
In the raw form, many plastic additives are skin irritants and contain fine particulates that can be inhaled. Additionally, some additives are combustible and contain a risk of explosion. To avoid such hazards, manufacturers can use noncombustible, nondusting versions of the additive. Other measures include implementing proper ventilation and fume extraction, dust collection, and static dissipation. Furthermore, masterbatches reduce cross-contamination and allow for fast transitions.
Another important factor that can be considered when choosing an additive is the solubility of the component. If it is too soluble, it can decompose. As a result, these materials may cause toxic effects to organisms in the water column. On the other hand, the less soluble components will leach out of the plastic in reduced quantities, reducing the potential risk of contamination and bioaccumulation.
Several recent studies have revealed that SbD initiatives will increase the efficiency of research on plastic additives. By characterizing the ecotoxic potential of each individual additive, SbD initiatives guide the polymer industry to develop alternatives. They also enable a circular economy in the plastic industry, which reduces the risks of the products they produce. But despite the advantages of SbD, it is not clear whether the plastic additives will be phased out of the market.
It improves gloss
As the name suggests, Masterbatch is a high-concentration polymer made with different materials and additives for various plastic applications. It is produced in pellet form with a dispersing agent and colourant as its main ingredients. Other ingredients in Masterbatch include a carrier that helps the colourant to distribute evenly and give a desired shape to the pellet. A further ingredient is polyethylene wax.
Filler Masterbatch is a composite of calcium carbonate powder and other additives. The compound is based on a polymer carrier resin and replaces part of the virgin polymer, which is expensive. It brings a cost-saving solution to the plastic industry by improving the physical properties and manufacturing environment. Masterbatch also helps to achieve better gloss, opacity and durability of the end product.
As plastics consumers become increasingly competitive, manufacturers of plastic products are seeking ways to improve the gloss of their finished goods. For example, a masterbatch designed to improve the gloss of HDPE will enable it to compete with PET in a wider range of container applications. The new compound also demonstrates improved melt strength and stiffness, making it suitable for monolayer bottles. Other high-gloss PE compounds lose their crush strength and melt strength, limiting their application to the outermost layer of the product. Moreover, the masterbatch is US FDA-approved for food contact.
While primary plastics are based on kerosene or natural gas, their prices fluctuate widely. Using domestically-produced Filler masterbatch, however, can reduce the costs and stabilize the supply of these input materials. Another beneficial aspect is that it can improve the mechanical properties of plastic parts by improving their shine and hardness. Its advantages include lower power consumption and minimizing the wear and tear on equipment.
It reduces problems associated with colourant clumping
Using a masterbatch allows plastic processors to control the dispersion of the additive in the raw polymer. Masterbatches are specially designed for optimal dispersion in the plastic matrix, and help manufacturers reduce polymer inventory. These solutions reduce clumping and insufficient dispersion problems associated with colourants. Manufacturers can also reduce the number of trials and errors by using masterbatches.
A masterbatch is a pre-composition of additives and colourants that reduces the clumping of these substances in the final polymer. It contains a higher concentration of the additive than the end-use polymer, but is more evenly dispersed. This type of compound is similar to ferroalloys used in steel alloying. It allows the factory to keep stock of fewer grades of polymer, and instead buy cheaper natural polymers in bulk.
Another type of masterbatch is a calcium carbonate-based filler. Using masterbatch to reduce colourant clumping problems in plastic industries is a cost-effective solution. Its use in plastic processing reduces costs while improving product quality and colour. While most plastic-injection molding manufacturers don’t produce masterbatch, they still concentrate on raw material inspection and production management. Using the same brand and manufacturer for each batch of products will help ensure consistency and quality.
Various types of pigments are used in plastic manufacturing. These are commonly known as monomers, and are the least expensive. However, they can cause problems such as dispersion, clogging of filters, and cracks in Masterbatch. To reduce these problems, lump pigments should be dispersed before production. This is the process known as dispersant and is used to ensure the even distribution of colourants throughout the Masterbatch.
It reduces health risks
While many of the additives used in the plastic industry are not hazardous when they are in their pure state, masterbatches can significantly decrease health hazards. By encapsulating these substances in polymer resin, these chemicals can be used without worrying about cross-contamination or hazardous handling conditions. In fact, many plastic products are now flame-resistant, as a result of the use of masterbatches. Below are some ways in which masterbatches can reduce health risks for workers in the plastic industry.
Carbon blacks, for example, are a functional filler used in plastics. In addition to offering electrical conductivity, carbon blacks offer protection against ultraviolet light degradation and act as a low-cost pigment. In addition, the compounds act as a dye and pigment, which provide various shades of black in the finished product. While masterbatches can be used to reduce health risks, they are still not biodegradable and pose a number of additional health risks.
While North America and Europe are large markets for masterbatches, Asia Pacific is projected to grow at the highest rate, owing to its large consumer base and strong growth in most end-use industries. Meanwhile, Europe is projected to be one of the most profitable regions, thanks to steady growth in automotive and construction industries. This will drive the market for masterbatch in these regions. These regions are expected to grow at the fastest rate, largely due to the presence of major players in these regions.
In terms of revenue, the masterbatch market is segmented by industry vertical. Building & construction is expected to account for the second-largest revenue share by 2020, while automotive will see the fastest growth over the forecast period. For example, black masterbatches are used in deck railing, pipe and tubing, fencing, and other construction projects to reduce corrosion caused by chemicals. Lastly, the automotive industry is expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period, with the fastest growth in the next five years.