When it comes to creating nicely colored plastic molded parts, the process can be a little challenging. Most plastic injection molding materials come in very plain, unattractive colors. They are typically white, off-white, yellowish, or black parts that need to be colorized in order to serve their specific purposes. A custom color match is needed in order to do this well; otherwise your plastic parts run a high risk of not matching. Though it can be tricky, the process of color matching plastic materials can be achieved using pre-colored plastic. Ultimately, it is more attractive, faster, and more cost effective than painting, plating, and other types of finishing.
The Benefits of Pre-Colored Plastic
Using pre-colored plastic material produces a much higher quality part. The color becomes integrated into the part; a feature that has many benefits. There are no issues with paint scratching or peeling and the color can endure harsh environments without damage. The whole process is both faster and cheaper since there is no need for secondary processes. In general, it is a much more environmentally friendly option. You may require specific attributes in your part; for example you may need it to be fire-retardant or for the plastic to be FDA approved. With this method there are color options available to meet your needs while easily retaining those attributes.
Selecting Your Custom Color
The process for using custom color plastic material is fairly simple. A Pantone book can be used to pick out the specific color you would like. Not every Pantone color has been made into a material so you will have to check that the color you like is available. Once you find a color match in your desired plastic material, the parts can be created with a very small, unnoticeable difference between each batch. Many additives such as heat stabilizers, silicone, UV inhibitors, and lubricants can be easily added to your color.
The Dry Pellet Method
The alternative to using pre-colored plastic material is a little trickier. You would need to order dye pellets in the color of your choice. The color pallets are then mixed with the raw base resin of your choice and then blended for injection molding. The ratio generally used for this is approximately 3% colorant to the 97% base resin. The issue with this is that there can be a larger inconsistency from batch to batch. Using this method can also result in streaking and swirling left behind in the plastic from the mixing process. The colors don’t blend well with every resin and important aspects of the resin can also be affected; for example, UV protection, food, medical compatibility, and flame retardance.
In this way, pre-colored plastic material in pellets or liquid form tends to be the easiest and most effective way to get a custom color for your part. Pre-colored plastics are faster, cheaper, more enduring, and create a much higher quality product with less room for error or imperfection. If you decide to use dye pellets to mix your color, make sure you do your research to discover your best option so that you can get the optimal outcome for your project.