Plastic is a widespread medium for various applications, from children’s toys to kitchen tools. Coloring plastics can take on many different forms, and it’s vital to meet industry standards for safety and performance. At HunterLab, our spectrophotometers help plastic manufacturers create ideal color concentrates for their products.
ASTM Color Standards for Plastic
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provides a series of standards for plastic production. While plastic is easy to mold and ideal for many applications, it’s a synthetic material that may be poorly made or unsafe for use.
ASTM standards provide rules and guidance for plastic production to ensure products last and stay safe throughout their lifespan. The organization’s website offers extensive documentation for you to follow these standards in your operation. Criteria include descriptions like:
- Specifications for materials
- Testing methods
- Production procedures
Color is an essential feature of plastic standards because plastic colorants can affect the quality of the material. Plastic producers use color charts to compare their colors, and the best way to handle this comparison is with color measuring devices. Machines like spectrophotometers quantify color based on the light it absorbs and reflects, so manufacturers can create a match to a color on the chart.
What Are Color Concentrates for Plastics?
Color concentrates are plastic colorants in a pellet or grain that manufacturers form into plastic. Rather than adding a colored layer to the outside of a plastic product, concentrates make up the product.
To create a concentrate, a pigment is mixed with a polymer or carrier resin. For concentrates to work, the polymer must work with the base resin that the concentrate mixes with. The challenging aspect of concentrates is the lack of a universal polymer. Developers must identify the best polymer and base resin for production.