Unlike fully compounded materials, masterbatches are a single, pre-compounded polymer. This allows you to buy and stock a smaller range of grades and reduce the costs of production. The benefits of using a masterbatch are also obvious: it is more consistent, and you won’t have to worry about dispersion and other quality issues. Masterbatches are often much more cost-effective than fully compounded materials.
Polyethylene is the most common carrier resin. It has several desirable properties, including low density, toughness, and moisture resistance. Several variations of polyethylene are available, including LDPE and LLDPE, which are widely used in additive masterbatches. Both types have varying chemical properties and are used in a variety of applications. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of polyethylene carrier resin. Here’s a brief overview of the main types:
A carrier resin is a thermoplastic resin that stores a concentrate of pigments and additives. A second polymer resin is used to color the masterbatch. There are three types of pigments used in color masterbatches: phthalocyanine red, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide red. Consider the compatibility of the carrier resin with the pigment you plan to use. A high-flowing color masterbatch will promote a better mixing process.
The let-down ratio should be consistent across lots of a given masterbatch. For high-performance pipes, this ratio is between 5% (19:1) and 6.5% (14:1), with higher values resulting in weaker pipes. The let-down ratio should be low enough so that it doesn’t adversely affect the pipe wall. A high-quality masterbatch can also help ensure that a pipe will last.
In addition to this, masterbatches have a long shelf life and can reduce the amount of dust produced by the natural polymer. In addition to being solvent-free, solid masterbatches reduce the need for additional mixing equipment, allowing for more accurate dosing of expensive components. In addition, solid masterbatches are more densely-packed, preventing dust from forming during the mixing process. This type of masterbatch is also solvent-free, which ensures a longer shelf life.
As the most common additive in the masterbatch series, carrier resins must be compatible with the base resin. Generally, a carrier polymer represents approximately 1% to 3% of the finished compound. The carrier resin should be chemically compatible with the matrix resin to ensure a proper mix. It is best to choose a polymer of the same composition as the matrix resin. A high-molecular-weight carrier will flow through a screw and be more easily dispersed in the final material.
Concentrated mix of pigments and additives
Masterbatch is a concentrated blend of pigments and additives that are added to the raw polymer in a plastic pellet process. This highly concentrated mixture is then mixed with a carrier resin and cooled before it is cut into granular form. The masterbatch process allows the processor to colour the raw polymer economically, while keeping the weight of the finished product low. The masterbatch process is dust-free and reduces the cost of production by allowing the colourant to be mixed in the material rather than being mixed with the raw polymer.
There are two types of masterbatches. One type is the universal masterbatch, which contains the same amount of pigments and additives as the standard admixtures, but combines them differently. The key advantage of this type of masterbatch is that it can be used in various polymers, but it may not match the effect or base colour of different polymers. To avoid these problems, you may want to use a masterbatch that is tailored to the particular polymer in which you need to apply it.
There are two basic types of masterbatch. Method A uses the same pigments, but with a low amount of carrier material. Polybutylene is the most common type of carrier, while polypentene is the least commonly used. In order to increase the amount of carrier material, masterbatch contains at least six percent of pigment. Using a polybutylene carrier is preferred over polypentene.
The solid color masterbatch, or color concentrate, is industry-wide best practice for plastic coloring. It offers superior performance to other plastic colorants and is cost-effective and easy to use. These masterbatches have high dispersion qualities, allowing for economical and convenient coloring of raw polymers. For instance, the dispersion process in solid masterbatches produces a much clearer and vibrant colour than liquid color.
The process used to create color masterbatches can vary greatly depending on the application. It includes weighing pigments and additives, blending them into a polymer carrier, and cooling the mixture. Once mixed, it is further processed through extrusion or twin screw extrusion, before being cooled and then formed into pellets. This process places great demands on the compounding process. A homogeneous blend of pigments and additives is crucial to ensure the finished product.
Tests for quality
Compounders have several options when it comes to testing their masterbatch. The new FPV test allows compounders to quantify the contamination levels of their masterbatches. One option is to substitute a twin-screw lab extruder for a conventional one, or they can install a special mixing screw to ensure the consistency of their masterbatches. The FPV test results may not reflect the average experience of compounders, but they should be comparable across machines.
Another test series involved the addition of potential dispersing aids to the masterbatch. These additives were added in the same m/m ratio as the original masterbatch. The colorants were the same as those found in the original masterbatch. The additions had no influence on the quality of the injected parts, however, indicating that another method is necessary to determine the additive’s effect on the injection molding process.
Depending on the type of additive, a masterbatch can differ significantly from its original formulation. The variation is generally due to the interactions of the two ingredients. These interactions are responsible for inhomogeneities in masterbatches. Using the rule of mixtures, it is difficult to determine the color evenness of the masterbatch obtained from two different types of colorants. The tests used to measure the inhomogeneities are described in Table 1.
Another test series evaluated the effect of colorant types on masterbatch homogenization. The original pink masterbatch was reproduced with a range of dyes, and the results compared to a masterbatch with organic pigments. The addition of organic pigments significantly reduced color inhomogeneities. Both pigments have similar homogenization properties, but have different interactions with the other components in the masterbatch.
Cost of masterbatch
The cost of masterbatch has increased in recent years, hindering growth in the masterbatch industry. Rising raw material costs are the main culprits, which have recently been reflected in the price of other ingredients. The price rise has been attributed to many factors, including the development of higher value products. One example is the introduction of bio-based masterbatches for various industrial applications. Moreover, companies have been increasing investments in research and development and implementation of advanced technologies.
In the first quarter of 2022, Masterbatch prices dropped. However, by the end of March, prices increased again. This is in line with the trend seen in the upstream market, as the price of natural gas increased. In addition, demand for Masterbatch remained strong throughout the quarter, leading to a depleting supply. However, the market experienced a massive increase in demand in the North American market during this time period.
While plastic manufacturers spend a significant amount of time and money on matching colors, masterbatches eliminate the need to waste materials and time. Compared to toner coloring, masterbatches are more cost-effective and create a profit for manufacturers. A few tips can help manufacturers calculate the cost of masterbatches and minimize costs:
A masterbatch market report provides detailed analysis of the global market for this specialty chemical. It covers its size, revenue, and segmentation, along with the competitive landscape, market concentration status, and downstream buyers. This report also includes market forecasts by type, application, and region. Further, it also analyses the market for the various downstream users, including chemical manufacturers, paint companies, and food and beverage manufacturing facilities. The Global Masterbatch market report also provides forecasts by country and region, thereby enabling companies to understand the current and future potential of this product.
The cost of masterbatch varies depending on the polymer that will be used. For instance, the volume cost of PVC is lower than that of PP, and the cost of mineral fillers can affect the cost of PP. If the latter material is cheaper, it will be a better choice for the consumer. It is important to consider the volume cost of masterbatch when choosing the material. A higher volume cost will result in less durability and less life.