Masterbatch manufacturing is the core of masterbatch and plastic industry. Masterbatch manufacturing comprises of several technologies that may confuses newbies. However, if you want to be a master in plastic industry, you need to fully understand these processes. Here are the most common methods that are widely used in masterbatch producing.
Injection Molding – the most used technique of plastic and masterbatch manufacturing
In all masterbatch manufacturing methods, the first step is applying heat to the input material, which softens plastic masterbatch and gives them the ability to be shaped. For example, in injection molding, raw materials (it could be masterbatches, color pigments and additives) are heated to until all of them transformed to the liquid mixture. Then this mixture is passed through a horizontal syringe and bumped into the mold. After cooling down the temperature, manufacturers remove the mold leaving the final products with desired structure.
Although the front costs are the highest within the area of plastic masterbatch manufacturing due to complicated requirements in designing, testing and tooling the molds, its capacity to generate the mass production definitely won the game with annual amount can reach up to hundred thousands products for every machine per year. This humongous advantage gives the final products a very compatible price. Regarding to the applications, the number of fields that consits of equipment produced by this method is massive, including daily stuffs (kids toys, kitchen utensils, bottle caps, containers, etc.), surgical applications (which requires extremely precise shapes and sizes), automotive parts, etc.
In general, plastic injection molding is well suited for high volume, high quality objects. It can be said that this is properly the most multitasking technique in the masterbatch manufacturing field as it can generate products with very flexible, virtually limitless uses. Relatively, this molding process is perfectly beneficial for mass production or prototyping of a product.
Extrusion Molding – top 3 plastic masterbatch manufacturing technique
The extrusion molding is quite similar to injection molding, except for the fact that it does not have the mold connecting with the syringe. Instead of the mold like others, it has a die. Thus shapes of plastic products generated from this masterbatch manufacturing technique will depend on the shape of the fixed cross section that masterbatches come through (regularly a square or a circle). Consequently, the variety of its common products is much narrower than other methods. Extrusion molding is best suited for producing PVC hoses and straws, tubes and pipes, plastic decking and gutters. However, due to the low cost in generating the molding systems and equipment, it still can achieve a highly annual productivity.
Blow Molding – a masterbatch manufacturing technique using air to form plastic products
Blow molding, also called gas assisted or gas injection molding, is one of the most popular masterbatch manufacturing methods. This method utilizes high-pressure air or gas to form melted plastic into a fixed shape. The molding procedure starts with piping melted masterbatches into the molds. Next, gas is bumped to the inner site (the mold cavity) of the mold. As the result, plastic products are generated with shapes of the mold but are empty inside. Thus, this technique is appropriate for production thin walled, hollow and small sized subjects with cylinder shapes such as bottles, plastic drums, fuel tanks or syringes. Since its applications fluctuate in a wide range of distinct industries with flexible products, the annual quantity of this masterbatch manufacturing technique is quite higher compared to others. However, the adverse side of this method is that the mold’s cost is quite high.
Blowing Film is the most popular application in masterbatch manufacturing (Blowing Film)
One of the most popular methods that Europlas products are using is Blown Film (also known as film blowing or extrusion blowing). This process is used to produce various types of plastic films such as PE film, foam bag, thin film with good gloss or elasticity.
Film blowing technology is implemented as the following procedure:
- Adding materials including plastic, masterbatch and additives to the funnel to be heated and molten by high temperature
- The molten plastic is passed through a thin plastic tube
- Applying high-speed air around the plastic film tube
- Plastic diaphragm after being cooled is passed through the cylindrical rollers, then cut into halves or rolled into the core to produce plastic film rolls.
Become the expert in masterbatch manufacturing with thermoforming
Thermoforming is probably the least effort-consuming technique as it only requires high temperature to soften the hard plastic sheets. Being beneficial for low production with the masterbatch manufacturing productivity approximately 250 to 3000 features per year, the most popular products generated by this method ranges variously and flexibly from household appliances such as disposable cups, trays, lids, blisters and clamshells to industrial accessories like automotive parts, vehicle doors, dash panels or fridge liners. However, the time spent for processing the thermoform molds is quite long, accounted for about 8 weeks with the cost varies from $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the size.
Advanced knowledge about masterbatch manufacturing with Coating
Coating provides an insulative and protective cover for materials such as electrical components, wire forms, handles of everyday tools and sports equipment, medical equipment, etc. During the process, dip molders lower objects into a vat of molten plastic where the plastic adheres to the surface of the object. A primer may be applied to the surface of certain materials prior to dipping to ensure ideal coverage. This masterbatch manufacturing technique – Plastic Coating can be as thin as 0.25 inches but are often made thicker than that.
Dwell time is the length of time an object is immersed in plastic for, and usually the longer it is immersed for, the thicker the layer of plastic coating is. The coated object is then removed slowly from the vat to avoid surface irregularities. Oven temperature, dip speed and immersion times are all variables that affect the final quality of the coating.
Coating is used for various purposes. Plastic coating protects the surface of objects from damage. It proves to be a good resistor to environmental change and performs well for long.