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Innovations In Smart Packaging

Not too many years ago, a consumer entering a grocery store faced a plethora of products in nearly identical packages with only slight variations in color, font and logo. Today, the diversity of packaging options is refreshing, attractive, sensible and fun. Form truly meets function in the modern plastic packaging industry. Innovative polymer additives block harmful UV light, safeguard against counterfeiting and create aesthetically unique special effects. Other packaging trends take advantage of mobile devices and IoT (Internet of Things) technology to reinvent an entire industry with an eye

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The Amazing Story of Plastic Candy Containers

When you pick up a plastic container of gum or breath mints on a whim while waiting to pay for gas, you probably don’t think much about the marketing research, engineering and hard work that went into the seemingly simple package you’re holding in your hand.Who designed it? Why did the designer choose a certain color? Who supplied the plastic? Where was it molded into a container? No, you probably just want to pay for it, open it and dig in. But that little plastic container has an interesting past.An Industry of ConvenienceThe confectionery industry tends to favor injection-molded candy p

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Color Spotlight: Orange, The Color Of High Visibility

Back in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Portuguese merchants exploring Asia spied a citrus tree they thought was cool, so they brought it home with them. They didn’t have a word for it, so they called it what the locals did: naranga, or naranj.Bright, noticeable and tasty, the fruit quickly became popular. So did the word, which soon began showing up in European languages as orange.Today, orange is the color of safety and visibility – as well as amusement and entertainment. If you have a product that needs to stand out, or a corporate identity that includes a touch of whimsy, orang

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Color Spotlight: Think Pink

People think pink is a pushover. An ostensibly delicate and subdued hue, pink is often relegated to pastel nurseries or the covers of delicate romance novels. No 50 shades here.The truth is, pink is powerful. Paint a jail cell pink and dangerous criminals calm down.Though it’s considered a feminine color – at least in the United States, for the past half century or so – pink is ladylike with an edge. Give a girl a Barbie and she’ll learn that she can grow up to be anything from an astronaut to a whale trainer, and afford her own houses, horses and sports cars. Displaying a pink ribbon

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Technical Expertise is a Big Differentiator

At Plastics Color, we use our decades of experience in color development to help customers create a unique brand identity. We work to find the perfect balance between what’s trending in today’s marketplace and the look that truly fits the brand. For unique product solutions, our technical expertise leads the way from the lab to the marketplace.From Concept to RealityPlastics Color leverages our technical expertise and 50 years of experience in virtually every market to bring the best possible solutions to your technical challenges. We work with you early in the design phase

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Colors Now App shortens formulation time

Digital technology has transformed many of the world’s businesses, including the plastics industry. It started with websites and email marketing, but has evolved with the explosion of the mobile phone and growing use of social media. Today, the plastics industry has slowly adapted to new digital technologies in testing, manufacturing, sales and office functions. The latest innovation on the color development front is Plastics Color’s Colors Now digital technology, which gives processors and brand owners easy access to the company’s extensive color chip library directly

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Tap the experts when developing new color formulations

Color selection is an important consideration in the product development cycle. It’s vital for aesthetics and product positioning but it’s also a variable that can significantly affect processing, performance and cost.Resin type will determine what type of colorant will be used because these materials respond differently to a wide range of color formulations. Colorants can also affect physical properties (strength, flexibility, toughness) of plastic components and also the processing parameters (i.e., process temperature, shrinkage, warpage).Make color a high priorityLeading

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Color is Vital Tool in Forming Consumer Brand Identity

To grab attention at the point of purchase, consumer brands need to break through the clutter of competing products and messages. We are bombarded every day with ads and messages, so consumer brand companies need a differentiator to separate themselves from the visual clutter online, in print and in broadcast media. There are many things that help persuade consumers during the buying process and move them to a specific brand in a store aisle. While key elements such as unique design, graphics and distinctive brand identity are highly useful in drawing consumer attention, nothi

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Getting in Touch with Personal Care Packaging

Plastics have overtaken traditional materials in the personal care packaging market and will be the leader for the foreseeable future, with an expected 12% growth by 2019, according to a report from PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. Estimates show that the global personal care market will grow at an annual rate of 5.5%.Packages for health and beauty products need to be break-resistant and/or portable so the preference for plastic isn’t too surprising. By 2019, this flourishing market is projected to be worth $38.1 billion, with developing nations such as Latin

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Special effect additives

Special-effect masterbatches are widely used to enhance the visual effects of consumer products. There are a broad range of special effect options that can be used in finished products such as toys, CDs, safety products, cosmetic bottles and personal care/fashion products, along with industrial parts in the automotive and electrical industries.Special effects are vital in today’s consumer and industrial markets. Processors and brand owners are always seeking to differentiate their products and secure an edge with consumers. Product development efforts always consider what’s

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Microbe fighting MicroBlok

Resin-compatible antimicrobial additives have made strong inroads in the plastics industry as a weapon in meeting antimicrobial needs in a range of applications. Plastic products with enduring antimicrobial properties include medical devices and equipment, food preparation surfaces, household appliances, auto interiors, computers and other personal and recreation devices and equipment.The use of antimicrobial additives in plastics isn’t new. Biocides have traditionally been added to industrial, commercial, and consumer plastics as a passive means of protecting products from degradation by mi

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Color Matching Value

For processors and brand owners, there is a wide range of factors that affect color. These include resin, additives, texture, shape, lighting conditions, usage environment, processing conditions and certainly human perception. In addition, there are many regulatory compliance issues and regulations, such as UL or FDA guidelines, that can impact the selection of pigments and dyes that are used to achieve an accurate color match. Color matching is an important part of the product development effort and addressing all these issues requires experience and a broad line of product

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Benefits of Flame Retardants in Plastics

According to the American Chemistry Council, flame retardants play a key role in delaying flashover, which is especially critical to escaping the deadly consequences of fire. Flashover occurs when every flammable object in a room bursts into flames at the same time as a result of a combination of intense heat and the release of flammable gases. This can occur in just a few minutes, and flame retardants’ function in slowing this process down can be the difference between life and death.Flame retardants have a major impact in easing and reducing many fire conditions including ease of ignition

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Global demand expands for FlamaSol

Global demand for flame retardants is projected to expand 4.6% per year through 2018 to 2.8 million metric tons, valued at $7.0 billion, according to The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Demand will be stimulated by the acceleration in electronic product, motor vehicle, and wire and cable production, particularly in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan.In industrializing countries, the stricter enforcement of building codes will increase the market penetration for flame retardants in building materials, fueling sales increases. Alumina trihydrate (ATH) was

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Plastics Meet Contruction Demands

Plastics are enjoying strong growth in the building and construction industry. In fact, only the packaging market tops building and construction in consumption of plastic materials today. According to EnergyStar.gov, building and construction consumes over 15 billion pounds of plastics in the form of pipes and fittings, plumbing, structural plastic, bathroom fixtures, interior/exterior building materials, and air-supported structures. Plastics have built a solid reputation for durability, aesthetics, easy handling and high performance for plumbing fixtures, siding, flooring, insulation, panel

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Color And Beyond: Plastics Color Is Your Partner From Concept to Commerce

Plastics Color Corp. is regarded as a leading supplier of colorants and performance additives, but it offers so much more. The company plays a key role as a solutions provider and not only delivers products but important value-added lab services and other ancillary assistance that supplement and expand a manufacturer’s overall product development cycle. “We offer products, but equally important is the partnership we create with our customers by providing the necessary services that support product development and manufacturing,” said Sarah Skidmore, additive product line manager. From c

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Color Spotlight: Going Buggy About Seeing Red

Red is a look-at-me color, whether it’s on a pair of shoes or plastic food packaging. A stimulant to the taste buds, the brain and the emotions, it’s a top choice for advertising, logos and brand identities worldwide. It speaks to us of power and courage, excitement and sensuality. On a label or package, it can stop shoppers in their tracks. The darker the red, the more luxurious the product within, or at least so our brains believe.A Rosy Look BackA closer look at red reveals a long and vivid history – and perhaps some interesting facts that may bug you.First, some science: The human ey

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All Additives Infographic

Your New Favorite Secret IngredientMore additives make your products more amazing. Plastics Color Corporation offers a range of functional and specialty additives to help its clients meet their consumer packaging goals and achieve the particular qualities required in their industries.

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Flame Retardant Additives

Flame retardants have a long history of controversy. While everyone agrees that flame retardants in materials such as plastics and textiles are a good thing, there has been much testing and discussion over the toxicity of the chemicals that make these materials less flammable and thus safer in cases of fire. Let’s look at some of the facts.A recent report from BCC Research notes that the global consumption of flame retardant chemicals from 2012-2019 is expected to grow from 4 billion pounds in 2014 to nearly 6 billion pounds in 2019. Aluminum trihydrate (ATH) has the largest market share by

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From Fun To Function: Plastics Add More Convenience To Daily Life

In the high-growth consumer electronics market, plastics play a variety of roles, making our personal lives easier, safer, less expensive, and more fun. Lightweight, durable, attractive, and cost-effective plastics are used in most small appliances, including coffee makers, irons, mixers, can openers, hair dryers, and shavers. Appliances such as microwave ovens and food processors use plastics to offer consumers unprecedented convenience. And all refrigerators today are insulated with thermal-efficient plastic foam, and their interiors are made of durable, easy-to-clean plastics.Today’s comp

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OSHA Honors Plastics Color Corporation for Outstanding Safety Records in 2015

Plastics Color Corp. has good news to report about the health and safety performance of its manufacturing facilities. The company’s Illinois and California plants have been honored with perfect safety records in 2015. “This is an outstanding achievement and we couldn’t be prouder of our employees in Illinois and California,” said Joseph Byrne, president of Plastics Color. “We congratulate all of our associates who do their job year after year in a safe and responsible manner.”Illinois associates finished the year without a single OSHA recordable injury or illness while working a to

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Ready For Colorful Advice?

If you’re looking to launch a new product or undertake some long-term design and development work, now’s the time to reach out for expert color development advice from a sales representative at Plastics Color Corp. We’re armed with trend-setting information, a broad range of technical resources, and a strong desire to work closely with our customers. Color development is a multi-pronged effort that involves extensive discussion with our customer and their customer (the brand owner). Our Color Matching Lab not only provides testing, formulations, and color matching, but we go beyond the

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NSF 051-Certified Colors In Colors Now App

When processors and OEMs require NSF 051-certified colors, they need look no further than Plastics Color’s Colors Now App. A group of six shades of gray and white matched in polypropylene are NSF 501-certified, according to Sarah Skidmore, additives product line and marketing manager. NSF International is an accredited, independent third-party certification body that tests and certifies products to verify they meet these public health and safety standards. Along with the NSF 051-certified colors, customers can access hundreds of colors in the Colors Now app, which provides exclusive access

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New Color Lab in California

Plastics Color Corp. now offers color matching services at a new Color Laboratory in Sun Valley, CA. The new color lab, headed up by lab manager Matthew Griffin, is located at Plastics Color’s Sun Valley production facility. The company also has color labs at its Chicago, IL and Asheboro, NC production centers. “This new color lab is an important part of our business strategy as we focus on meeting the needs of all of our customers,” said Griffin. “Our West Coast customers now have ready access to our formulation services and can take advantage of quick turnaround and more hands-on te

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Sustainable options for polymers come in several forms

The polymer industry has faced criticism through the years for its questionable impact on the environment. With consumer products and packaging applications relying on plastics, getting rid of the material is not an option. The industry has heard the call from consumers and regulators to develop sustainable options for polymers with lower carbon footprints and enhanced disposable options.Now, innovative technology and research are transforming products and replacing harmful materials with sustainable solutions, resulting in biodegradable plastics.What are biodegradable plastics?They a

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2016 Color of the Year

Color allows us to express emotion and our innermost through our interaction with people and the products we buy. It is the differentiating factor used by manufacturers to distinguish their products and attract consumers. Plastics Color Corp. (Calumet City, IL), a global provider of colorants, compounds, additive masterbatches and custom polymer technologies, has unveiled the latest in color development with its 2016 Color of the Year. The selection is indicative of today’s leading consumer trends. First place has been awarded to a bright, reddish hue named Giggles. This lively shade tops Pl

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Scent Additives Help your Products Stand Out!

When it comes to value-added products, scent additives deliver a unique advantage. They are used in a range of applications and are playing a growing role in consumer products for the home. They are used to reflect the fragrance or aroma of the product in plastic packaging and can even help mask an unpleasant odor of some plastics. To enhance their marketing efforts, manufacturers use scents in their plastic products, creating a mood and attracting consumer attention. Scents also help manufacturers mask unpleasant odors in applications such as dust bin bags or household chemical

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Enhance your Product’s Aesthetics with Optical Brighteners

Another useful tool for plastics manufacturers to enhance aesthetics in plastic products are optical brighteners. They are designed to brighten colors or mask yellowing in plastics. They work via a fluorescent mechanism, absorbing light in the UV spectrum and emitting it in the blue range of the visible spectrum, resulting in a brighter, fresher appearance.These products are particularly useful to mask the yellowness sometimes observed in plastics and fibers after high-temperature processing operations or incorporation of recycled materials. They are also used in formulations co

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Matting Agents and their Benefits to Plastics Manufacturers

Matting agents are another key functional additive that delivers aesthetic benefits for plastics manufacturers. These additives modify the molded part surface to create a matte or frosted look. With the addition of matting agents, the surface gloss can be reduced, resulting in a more light-diffusing plastic part. These functional additives can add richness to a part’s appearance, therefore making the product more marketable, and giving it a perception of higher value and quality. Reduce Gloss in Polymers Matting agents are used to help reduce the gloss in polymers such as acrylonitrile-butad

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Plastics Color Solution Center

Meeting today’s manufacturing demands requires a level of expertise that blends resources and knowledge. Plastics Color’s Solutions Center is built from the ground up to provide a comprehensive product development effort that meets the demands of today’s processors. Most unique is our ability to compress the product development process and quickly provide a color match. A process that typically takes 6-8 weeks is reduced to just one day. Here’s what a typical day at the Solutions Center looks like:Concentrated FocusThe manufacturer and brand owner send a team to North Carolina to spend

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Laser Marking - Make Your Product Stand Out in the Marketplace

Plastics processors have another unique tool to help their customers deliver innovative products to the marketplace. Fast and environmentally clean laser marking has become commonplace in basic marking of dates and product codes and is capable of a lot more. The market continues to grow with numerous decorative effects available with today's wide range of laser-markable resins, pigmentation technology, and laser equipment. Today's laser-marking pigment and additive systems can provide contrasting colors and degrees of shading. Technical advances in laser equipment over the last decade have bee

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Foaming Agents

Foaming agents are another important weapon in the toolbox of plastics processors. When it comes to plastic additives, blowing or foaming agents are among the most versatile and functional in terms of performance. They can be used for weight reduction, resin usage reduction, improved thermal and acoustic insulation, increased structural strength, reduced warpage, increased production speed, and to minimize sink marks and surface flaws. Facilitate the process Chemical foaming agents can play a key role which enables both commodity and engineering polymers to process more easily and with improve

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The Art of Color Development

Color development is a multi-pronged effort that involves extensive discussion with our customer and their customer (the brand owner). Our Color Matching Lab not only provides testing, formulations, and color matching, but we go beyond the usual services by blending the Art of Color with the Science of Plastics. When we talk color development, here’s what we mean: Connect with the customer We sit down with our customer and hear about the application and the color needs. In doing so, we take the extra effort to get to know them, that way we can better get to know their product and in-turn pro

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Prevent Slipping With Functional Additives

As we continue to look at various functional additives, slip additives are important to consider. By definition, slip additives are added to plastic materials to reduce the surface of friction of polymers and are used to enhance either processing or end-use application. Plastics can be naturally sticky and have a high coefficient friction when coming in contact with other plastic parts or other surfaces. For certain applications, this can cause a range of processing or performance challenges such as parts sticking to the mold surface during ejection, minor differences in part dimensions which

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MiBatch - Helping Reduce Your Risk of Counterfeiting

Counterfeit goods coming from offshore manufacturers continue to be a huge problem, as OEMs look for ways to thwart the counterfeiters. It’s big business! Just ask Monster, a leading manufacturer of cables, headphones and consumer electronics accessories based in Brisbane, California. Monster’s products are some of the most widely counterfeited in the world. In 2011, Monster, in conjunction with a member group of the United Kingdom Trading Standards Service made one of the largest seizures ever of counterfeit Monster products in the U.K. A PR Newswire report quoted David Tognotti, Monster

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Develop Brand and Quality With Plastics Color

Full-service capabilities are important for processors and brand owners who have tight product development cycles. Plastics Color goes beyond expectations in its delivery of lab services, providing state-of-the-art capabilities in testing, formulations, and color matching. We focus on the process to ensure that the best product is created. Developing a brand identity is important so we work hand-in-hand with you to develop out-of-the-box ideas to position your product in the marketplace. We understand that a new product line requires consistent, perfect color across a broad spectrum of polymer

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Color Matching Provides You Tailored Solution

When selling a product, color can be everything. Plastics processors and brand owners recognize the fact that color matching is an important part of the product development cycle and can’t be considered an afterthought. Having the right color part is important to most of our customers. Color is especially important for consumer products, and many industrial and military products must have specific and consistent color as well. The right color may be functional, or it may reinforce the appearance of a quality product. It is essential to thoroughly understand the requirements of the end-use ap

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High-Density Polyethylene In Demand

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is one of the most in-demand resins because it is used for a wide range of product including food and beverage containers and packaging, water pipes, building and construction products, household goods and much more. It can be blow-molded, injection molded and even thermoformed and extruded. “In 2014, a worldwide turnover of $61.8 billion U.S. was achieved with HDPE,” said Oliver Kutsch, manager of the market research institute Ceresana. “We expect an average sales growth of 4.2% per annum so that around $85.8 billion U.S. will be achieved until 2022.”

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Clarifying Agents for Polypropylene

In the functional additive bandwidth, plastics processors need to be aware of clarifying agents as an important solution for polypropylene (PP). PP is a highly preferred choice for many transparent applications due to its strong physical properties and sustainability along with the potential to achieve a high level of clarity. By itself, however, the material is a semi-crystalline polymer and does not have the clarity or transparency of amorphous polymers - it is naturally translucent or opaque. As a result, the crystal structure of the resin needs to be adapted if a very clear and transparent

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Antioxidants Preserve Plastic Colors

Antioxidants are another important functional additive to keep in mind when looking for product solutions. Antioxidants help preserve the appearance and physical properties of plastics. They are added to the polymer to help slow down the speed at which its physical properties will degrade. By maintaining the material’s property profile when it’s being manufactured, the antioxidant will help the plastic last longer and not break down as quickly. Once formulated, a masterbatch is sent in pellet form to, for example, the compounder or manufacturer to be formed in the end application. During

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Why Anti-Blocks Matter In Your Products

Anti-block functional additives are another important tool in the material arsenal for plastics processors. This highly useful additive reduces the friction on the product surface and imparts lubricity for ease of use. In all types of plastic films for flexible packaging and other applications, anti-blocking performance it vital for further handling and converting of the material. Plastic layers tend to stick together and the addition of an anti-blocking agent creates space between two plastic layers (surface roughness) thus preventing a phenomenon called blocking. The challenges Anti-blockin

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Value of a Drug Master File

It’s important for companies in the plastics industry supply chain to be in compliance with the various regulatory standards and procedures. Since plastics are ubiquitous and touch nearly every corner of our day-to-day lives, health and safety are critical issues for Plastics Color to ensure that the colorants and functional additives that go into our customers’ plastics products meet strict standards.That is why at Plastics Color, we have a number of certifications and accreditations to ensure our customers that they are getting only the best for their products. For example, we offer a Dr

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Antimicrobials Additives in Demand

One specialty additive that has become more in demand for a variety of applications is antimicrobials. Plastics infused with antimicrobial agents can help to reduce or mitigate the growth of micro-organisms such as algae, bacteria, mold and fungi on plastic products used not only in hospital settings, but many other environments as well. MicroBlok™, the Plastics Color line of antimicrobial additives, has a number of benefits:Inhibits the growth of odor and stain-causing bacteria, molds, mildews and other micro-organisms on the plasticProvides continuous microbe-fighting actionContains built-

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How Regulatory Management Lends Quality To Plastics

With the myriad materials regulations that govern the safety of the many polymers that Plastics Color deals with every day, investing in a dedicated Regulatory Manager was a move that helps us be a better supplier to the many industries that depend on us for quality products.In January of this year, Plastics Color appointed Jennifer Presnell Corporate Quality Systems & Regulatory Affairs Manager. Plastics Color felt that it was important to our business and especially to our customers’ business to have a dedicated Regulatory manager in place. With Jennifer’s long experience at Plastics

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Plastics Color Meets International NSF Standards

The International NSF is a certification that lets customers know a product is compliant with the strict standards and procedures imposed by the International NSF. Because it is an international certification organization, OEMs around the world understand that an NSF certified products adhere to these developed standards and procedures to help protect the consumer in areas of health and safety for products and the environment. Founded in 1944, the NSF provides numerous services that include extensive product testing and market analysis to unannounced plant inspections. Every aspect of a produc

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Getting Personal With Personal Care Packaging

Take a look around almost any consumer products store and you’ll find a huge “health & beauty” section filled with an array of cosmetics and personal care products packaged in brightly colored bottles, jars and compacts as brand owners seek to draw the attention of shoppers. There are cosmetics ranging from low-cost products for the average consumer to extremely high-end products for the luxury cosmetic market – many packaged in precision specialty bottles and jars. Most of these cosmetics are packaged in rigid plastic containers no matter what consumer market segment the brand owner

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What Is Mold Release Additive?

Q. What is mold release?A. Mold release is a functional additive that can be used in injection molding and even thermoforming molding. Mold release additives help keep parts from sticking or hanging on the part mold.Q. What problems are caused by sticking parts?A. Parts that stick to a mold can cause a lot of problems including slow and possibly interrupted cycle times. This can result in lost production and interrupted scheduling, lost product due to quality issues, and even damage to the mold such as broken core pins and other damage that requires the mold to be removed and repaired.Q. What

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The Additive Benefit When It Comes To LiquiSol

Often we get asked, ‘can I use additives with LiquiSol?’ And, we answer with an astounding ‘yes!’ One of the benefits of partnering with us is the technology and innovation behind our product lines. Our LiquiSol liquid colorant is founded on innovative, proprietary technology that allows us to have a carrier system like no other on the market. This LiquiSol carrier system not only allows manufacturers to infuse resin with color, but also any additive – whether functional or specialty – we offer. There are times when product specifications require an antistat, slip, UV stabilizer

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Overview of Liquid Colorant and Equipment

Liquid color concentrates have advanced over the past two decades as the materials, processing, carrier technology and equipment have evolved to meet increased demand and new applications. Plastics Color has been on the cutting edge of liquid color concentrate technology for more than thirty years, and we continue to be a leader in this sector with our LiquiSol liquid colorants.What is liquid color concentrate? It is the dispersion of pigments and/or dyes in a liquid carrier that is customized to be compatible with the resin types and the processes being used. LiquiSol is compatible with virtu

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What is the liquid pump system?

When it comes to liquid color, we not only understand the material side when it comes to LiquiSol recommendations, we also can recommend the liquid system to best benefit your production facility. With that in mind, the delivery system of liquid colorants can at times be confusing. Here is some basic information we think about when recommending liquid systems. There are two types of delivery mechanisms to meter LiquiSol to the machine; either a peristaltic (roller pump) or a progressive cavity (shaft pump). A peristaltic pump is generally recommended when you have shorter runs and frequent

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11 Steps for an Easy Color Change with LiquiSol

A typical color change when it comes to LiquiSol, is relatively simple and does not require up-stream cleaning. We asked our LiquiSol Product Manager to walk us through what is involved with a typical LiquiSol color change. Here is what he had to say!Based on your processing requirements and production-runs, we can work with you to develop a system that best fits your needs. However, in general, if you are new to liquid color implementation, I want to walk through some of the steps generically. So that you may have a better insight on, ‘what’s all involved.’Bring the new color and attach

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4 Terms to be Aware of When Speaking the LiquiSol Language

There are several terms we commonly use when discussing LiquiSol, our liquid colorant, which may be unfamiliar to those new to the concept. Let’s take some time to overview what those conceptually are so that we have a working knowledge when discussing liquid color. Liquid Carrier –This is as simple as it sounds. The liquid carrier is basically the vehicle system that incorporates the colorant and/or additive package with the base resin during processing.Dosing – The delivery of the proper LDR needed to produce a part.Pre-mixer – The mechanical mixing chamber mounted above the feed thr

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3 Tips When Considering Let-Down-Ratio and LiquiSol

When it comes to LiquiSol, our liquid colorant product line, let-down-ratio (LDR), is an important topic. If you are new to LiquiSol it may surprise you to find that typical LDR range in the neighborhood of 0.25-1%. This number, though minimal, has a major impact on your business. Since the LDR is generally low, there are several benefits you may notice. Material handling is relatively easy by simply switching out the color cart. Color changes are more efficient in regard to time and manpower required. Space requirements on the production floor are quite minimal as you just need a small foot

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Antistatic Additives

There are many properties of plastics that need modifying to suit specific applications. We call these “functional” additives because they are developed to function in a unique way when added to polymer materials. Here we’ll continue our Q&A discussion about functional additives Q: What is static electricity? A: Static electricity is electricity generated by an unbalance of the molecular construction of relatively non-conductive insulators such as plastics and other non-conductive materials. While static electricity as such is relatively harmless to humans, one report shows that static

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UV Stabilizer Additives

What are UV Stabilizers? UV stabilizers are additives for plastics that help mitigate deterioration or break-down of the plastics in products that are primarily used outdoors. These products might include but are not limited to lawn and garden equipment, pool equipment, pool and patio furniture, automotive application including both interior such as instrument and dash panels, and exterior parts. Sunlight, hot and cold temperatures and other weather situations can cause the properties that make plastic long lasting and beautiful to break down and cause color fading. How do the UV Stabilizers

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All About Toners

What are Toners? A toner is a color Masterbatch used to overcome the yellow index of a resin. What are Toners Used For? Toners are used to clarify and to bring the color back to neutral. Toners can help bottles achieve a clearer, crystal look and provide more shelf appeal for consumer products. What types of resins are toners used in? Some resins such as rPET tend to have a more yellow index, or resins in which a high regrind is being used, due to the fact that as resins are reground they tends to yellow. Reprocessors will buy a toner that’s on the ‘blue’ side to cover up the yellow of i

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Anti-Fogging Additives

There are many properties of plastics that need modifying to suit specific applications. We call these “functional” additives because they are developed to function in a unique way when added to polymer materials. Here we’ll continue our Q&A discussion about functional additives.Anti-fogging:Q: What is fogging?Fogging happens when there is condensation of small water droplets.Q: Why are brand owners so concerned about fogging?Fogging generally happens in food container applications; containers that see warm and cold very quickly. It’s not attractive, particularly when most food con

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The Demand for Engineering Thermoplastics

What’s driving the growth of engineering thermoplastics? According to The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm, metal-to-plastic conversions are playing a big role in this increased demand for engineering thermoplastics. Anecdotally, we’re seeing more and more metal-to-plastic conversion requirements among mold manufacturers from their customers due to the many advantages that plastics offer.New technological advancements in molds and molding, the push toward light-weighting of all types of vehicles and equipment, are also factors in the increase in demand for

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Safety in Plastic Products is Always Important

Safety in the plastic products that are ubiquitous in our society is always of the utmost importance. For more than a decade the issue of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to consumers of certain plastic products used in food contact applications has raised controversy. Now, it would appear that the definitive word is finally out.The European Food Safety Authority recently produced a comprehensive re-evaluation of BPA exposure and concluded that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the die

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Sustainable Bioplastic Growth

Bioplastics in packaging continues to be a niche corner of the total plastics packaging market however various studies estimate that it is growing at a rapid pace. A report by Smithers Pira says that global bioplastics for packaging consumption is projected to reach 787,000 tons in 2015 with a market value of $2.4 billion, however that is expected to more than double to $5.9 billion by 2020. Obviously the largest contributor to this growth is the increasing desire for sustainable packaging as food and beverage producers seek ways to reduce the amount of packaging used and to meet the goals for

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Growth of Antimicrobial Plastics

According to a recently released report from MarketsandMarkets.com, the global antimicrobial plastics market is projected to reach approximately US$3.6 billion by 2020 and register a CAGR of 10% between 2015 and 2020 in terms of value. Antimicrobial plastics are those resins that are infused with antimicrobial agents to reduce or mitigate the growth of micro-organisms such as algae, bacteria, and fungi on plastic products, particularly those used in public settings such as hospitals, restrooms, and other places where germs are of concern.The U.S.

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3D Printing With Pellets

The next evolution in 3D printing (aka Additive Manufacturing) technology is printing with plastic pellets. Typically, 3D printers have used filament created by melting the plastic pellets, then extruding the filament onto a spool. The spool is loaded into the 3D printer where it lays down the filament in layers into the proscribed shape.Last fall a new printer was announced called the Sculptify David. This printer removes the step of melting the plastic pellets and extruding filament and just uses the typical plastics technology of melting the pellets. David uses open source software and fuse

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Color Unearthed By Plastics

Our natural world is a wildly colorful place that is the inspiration for the many colors that Plastics Color develops for its customers. From the brilliant blues of the oceans, seas and the sky, to the bright yellow, orange and red of sunsets, and the golden browns of the desert Southwest, there are more colors than we can even imagine.All of these colors of nature have inspired Plastics Color to introduce “Unearthed,” the nature-inspired color palette for 2015. This new color palette will WOW you with its brilliance, variety, and vibrancy to color all your products from home décor and p

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Plastics Additive Market

The global plastics additive market is expected to see good growth over the next five years, according to two market research reports that have been released. Plastics additives are the substances that are added in various polymers during processing to help improve the properties and characteristics of the polymers such as strength, texture, durability, heat sensitivity, UV and chemical resistance.According to Allied Market Research, the global plastic additives market was valued at $41.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to generate revenue of $57.8 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 4.9% during 2013

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Corporate Quality Systems and Regulatory Affairs Manager

We’re happy to announce the appointment of Jennifer Presnell as Plastics Color Corporation’s Corporate Quality Systems and Regulatory Affairs Manager. This new position allows us the opportunity to have dedicated corporate oversight on quality systems. Presnell began her career with Plastics Color in 1997 as a Quality Control Technician and advanced within the organization to managerial roles including Quality Control Supervisor and Corporate Lab Manager. She has managed the regulatory department, color development lab, and ISO throughout her career at Plastics Color. Plastics Color bel

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Think About Pool and Spa Applications

Plastics used in pool and spa applications need to have a number of material attributes to withstand that environment, including good impact strength, chemical resistance to bromine and chlorine, and good UV performance. Pool and spa components are made almost entirely of plastics including the pump housings and interior gear parts; lighting housings, in-floor pool cleaning pop-ups, system filtration parts and the pipes from which the plumbing is constructed. Materials typically used are PVC and very high-strength poly-carbonate/polyester alloys to provide longevity for pool/spa systems tha

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Learn About our Color Matching Lab

Pantone announced the 2015 Colors of the Year, and what a beautiful variety – something for everyone. That’s why we at Plastics Color provide a color matching lab specializing in highest quality color using the latest in spectrophotometer equipment to get your color “right on.” Brand owners keep up with the latest in color combinations each year so their consumer products stand out on the shelves as the most up-to-date. While brand owners don’t always change their entire product line, they might change up the color combinations in the latest shades of Pantone colors to meet the ne

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BPA Use in Food Contact Apps

Over the past few years there has been ongoing debate about the use of BPA, a structural component in polycarbonate, and is also found in epoxy resins which act as a protective lining when used in metal can coatings to protect the food from directly contacting metal surfaces, and in beverage bottles. According to the FDA, when foods are in direct contact with any packaging material, small, measurable amounts of the packaging materials may migrate into food and can be consumed with it. Heightened public awareness as well as scientific interest in the safe use of BPA has resulted in many stud

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ISO 9001

In our industry, quality matters. Quality materials equal quality products and that means more sales for our customers. At PCC, we take quality seriously because we know how critical all the products we provide to our customers are to the success of their companies. ISO 9001 certification has been around for a long time, and it seems that being ISO certified is the norm for manufacturers.But what does it mean for both we here at PCC and for our customers? ISO (International Standards Organization) certification is about more than just producing quality products. It’s also about streamlining

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Color Formulator Wanted!

It’s a bright, colorful world out there and the world of plastics is no different. That’s why we’re looking for a Color Formulator to develop smart, cost-effective, reproducible formulations for us. At Plastics Color, we’ve developed a reputation for our great customer service through our wide range of color solutions. Plastics Color is a leader in color for the plastics industry including masterbatch, liquid color, and dry powder. We develop color solutions for large brand owners who use color to identify and differentiate their products’ packaging on store shelves, to smaller co

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Safety of Plastics

The safety of plastics in various uses has often been questioned. Thoroughgoing testing on various plastics and the additives that go into making products for various applications has generally proven plastics to be safe. A recent FDA report concluded that Bisphenol A (BPA), an synthetic estrogen additive used to produce polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resin, is safe for current uses in food contact packaging applications. “Based on the FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in foo

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Liquid Color Overview

Color is critical to brand owners, many whose products are identified with color. Think of Coke ‘red.’ Coca-Cola spends millions of dollars to ensure that their red is just that – theirs! It’s not just a color ‘red’ but is their brand identity. The same holds true for companies like Home Depot, Target, UPS and many more.  (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/28/colors-in-corporate-branding-and-design/) Processors know however, that colorants can be difficult to manage. Liquid c

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Plastics Color Offers NSF Certified Materials

Plastics Color Corporation is certified by NSF International, a global independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certified products for a variety of industries including the water, food health services and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. NSF International operates in more than 155 countries and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and many more. Why is this important to Plastics Color Corporation customers? This important certifi

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Join Plastics Color in Celebrating 50 Years

Half-Century. Five Decades. Fifty Years. As 2014 comes to an end, Plastics Color celebrates 50 years of experience. Established in 1964, Kamco Plastics was formed as mainly a styrene compounding facility that provided reprocessed color compounds for the plastics industry. Kamco Plastics was located in California and initially relied on partnerships with key dry color suppliers. Over the next 50 years, through acquisitions, partnerships, and expansions Plastics Color evolved. This growth is evident through continued product development

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Plastics Color’s Components Are Part of the Drug Master File

For medical device products and pharmaceutical packaging applications such as pre-filled syringes, it is helpful to our customers in these markets to know that the polymers, colorants and additives used in compounding custom colors are part of a Drug Master File (DMF). A DMF is a confidential, detailed document submitted by Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturers to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. A DMF contains the chemistry, manufacturing and controls of a drug component or the components used to contain the drug. This is important because some drugs can react wi

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Attend the 2nd Annual Additive Manufacturing for Government Conference with Plastics Color

Being at the cutting-edge of technology and innovation is important to Plastics Color as they continue to develop solutions for their customers. Critical to this innovation involves the need to stay in tune with the industry trends, new technologies, and advances in science. December 8-10, 2014 Plastics Color will attend the 2nd Annual Additive Manufacturing for Government in Washington, D.C. This summit is an opportunity to continue to engage the industry, OEMs, government agencies, contractors, et

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Survey Looks At Future of Packaging

A survey sponsored by Packaging World, which partnered with DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, sought to identify trends in the packaging industry in 2022. Responses reflected the insights of nearly 500 industry professionals, predominantly in Europe and North America, working for consumer goods manufacturers and converters in marketing and packaging development roles, with food, beverage and healthcare ranking the highest. A key finding revealed that the industry is “poised on the brink of change.” Top concerns ranked in

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Food & Beverage Packaging Trends

The global packaging market is currently an $800 billion/year business, and will hit $1 trillion by 2020. Much of that business is in the food and beverage packaging industry. A study by DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers and Packaging World magazine that surveyed 500 industry professionals working for consumer goods manufacturers and converters, revealed some interesting findings. While sustainability seems to be in the forefront of almost every Brand Owner’s strategy, the study found that sustainability concerns ran

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Black Color Concentrate Without Carbon Black

What makes black concentrate black? In most cases it’s the use of carbon black to give black polymer materials the black color that customers want. However, in some applications carbon black cannot be used. For example, some medical devices cannot have carbon black in their formulations. There are other applications in some other industries that have a special need for a black color concentrate without carbon black as well. Overall however, black color concentrate formulated without carbon black is a niche product. The use of car

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Protecting Against Counterfeiting Topic at Global Secure Summit

In September, Plastics Color Corporation was invited to the Global Secure Summit in Amsterdam, where the topic of discussion was the problem with counterfeiting and how OEMs and brand owners can be more proactive in preventing counterfeiting. Typically companies have been “reactive” to counterfeiting. Many fake products and products with off-spec raw materials in them such as in the case of many plastic products, are often not identified until they’ve reached U.S. customs inspectors or worse yet, until a consumer has had a major

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Plastics Color Corporation Featuring Additives Line at Pack Expo 2014

PCC has long been known as one of the best in the polymer industry when it comes to colorants, but did you know they are also one of the top additive masterbatch producers? Whether you are looking for a flame retardant, a security taggant, an antimicrobial additive, a UV package, or other additive masterbatches, PCC is the company to talk to at Pack Expo. PCC will be featuring industry leading products such as FlamaSol®, our line of flame retardants. In the polymer industry, flame retardants are one of the most sought after additi

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PET Enhances Your Sustainability Efforts

PET (Polyethylene Terephtalate) is one of the most commonly used polymers in packaging, including food packaging (peanut butter, mayonnaise, salad dressing) and beverage (soft drink, water, beer) bottles, and consumer packaging of all types. It’s also the most recycled plastic in America, according to information from www.petresin.org, and displays the #1 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. Because of that fact, there’s a big demand for recycled PET (RPET), which has been in short supply over the past few years. RPET is in high demand particula

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Don’t Miss North America’s Largest Packaging Show!

One of the largest packaging shows in the world and the biggest in North America – Pack Expo – will be held Nov. 2-5 in Chicago, at McCormick Place. You don’t want to miss this great event! Everyone who is anyone in the packaging industry will be at Pack Expo 2014, including hundreds of brand owners (Kraft, P&G, Nestle, and other big-name brands in food, cosmetics, consumer products, and more). For the plastics industry, this is a huge opportunity to showcase the important role

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See Our Exciting New Packaging Products at Pack Expo 2014!

If you’re wondering if Pack Expo next month is really worth your time and money, just see if your competitors are attending. Will they learn something that gives them the edge over you in the marketplace? PACK EXPO International is the most efficient way to meet all of the processing and packaging industry leaders and decision makers. You will be able to talk to thousands of exhibitors, see what your customers are looking for, what new products your suppliers have to offer, preview n

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Securing Your Pharma and Medical Supply Chain

The number one concern today for most manufacturers is how to secure their supply chain to ensure that their products are genuine and made to specification. That’s especially critical in the pharmaceutical industry where products such as prefilled syringes and inhalers are becoming more common. Some anti-counterfeiting measures that are being employed include holographic in-mold labels, molded into the syringe or inhaler device that can only be read under black light, and RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on the packaging.

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Don’t Be Fooled – Not All Black is Black

There’s a saying among plastics processors that they like to mold anything as long as it’s general-purpose polyethylene, indicating that they like to mold the easy stuff. While a utility black might be an easier color from which to mold parts from an aesthetic perspective, all black isn’t black. Black is a color and it’s just as critical to get the black parts that you are molding the right ‘color’ of black as it is when molding parts in other colors. Black has many nuances of shades – hundreds of shades in fact – that make it imperative that processors use the correct maste

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What Color Are Your Plastic Parts?

Color is critical! Just ask any brand owner, specifically of consumer products, how color helps to identify their particular brand for a particular product. Consumers are very attuned to looking at the colors of products on the very crowded shelves of retail stores to help them find their favorite products. Liquid colorants for plastics have become increasingly popular for processors for several reasons: easier handling through automated dispersion systems which minimizes human interface; it can be used with almost any type of resin s

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Counterfeit Automotive Parts Bring Big Bucks to the Bad Guys!

Vehicle components, both the original and the after-market replacement parts, are expensive, which is the reason we want the real deal when it comes to our vehicles. In a recent study conducted by Brady Corp., an international manufacturer and marketer of solutions that identify and protect premises, products and people, 39% of firms encounter counterfeit components. Counterfeit component incidents have increased 241% over the past three years. Cost of recalls in the automotive industry alone average $9 billion annually, according to Bra

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3D Printing Colors Your World

The world of imagination in 3D additive manufacturing is now as colorful as the real world thanks to advancements in printing systems, plastic materials and colorants for use in 3D printing.  When 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, was first developed there were many limitations to the technology including the ability to print in a wide range of colors. That’s changing now as 3D printing systems are becoming more technically capable of printing not just in color but in multiple colors. Stratasys Ltd., one of the major players in the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) game, r

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Life After Deca: Flame Retardants Becoming More Specialized, Masterbatches More Challenging

The plastics industry lost its most versatile and effective flame retardant (FR) when decaBDE was phased out over environmental and health concerns in 2012. Deca was a broad-spectrum FR that worked well with many resins. In January of this year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final report on alternatives for deca, identifying 29 potential candidates, both new and old, for use in select polyolefins, styrenics, engineering thermoplastics, therm

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Antimicrobial Additives in Plastics Stop Germs Before They Start

Some bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics are of great concern to hospitals and have migrated out into public places – manufacturers are looking for ways to put a stop to these microbes before they start.  Another source of great concern for microbial growth is the food processing industry. While the largest market share for antimicrobials is the food and beverage industry, the healthcare industry not far behind. Because plastics have become ubiquitous in both of those industries, the plastics industry has been e

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Are Your Plastic Parts the Real Deal?

One of the biggest and costliest problems that many manufacturers have is ensuring that the plastic components they purchase from their various molded parts suppliers are the real deal. There is a huge need to ensure that molded parts are both safe and meet all OEM standards before they get into consumer hands. The material from which the parts are molded must actually be the polymer specified for the parts. In the recent case of luxury automaker Aston Martin, an accelerator-pedal arm wasn’t manufactured as specified. The material w

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3D-Printed Molds Taking Hold

The latest RAPID 3D/Additive Manufacturing (AM) trade show displayed a lot of evidence that this technology is catching on in a big way in the plastics industry. Using AM technology, mold makers can now print cores and cavities using Stratasys’ PolyJet technology or EOS’s Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology. The PolyJet cores and cavities can be printed in matter of hours and dropped into a mold frame, and according to those companies that are working with this, can get up to 100 shots – depending on the material used.

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Opportunities Grow in Continuous Fiber

The global continuous fiber thermoplastics (CFT) market is expected to reach an estimated $216.7 million by 2019, according to a new report from Research and Markets [Growth Opportunities in Continuous Fiber Thermoplastics Market 2014-2019]. CFT materials are used in a variety of markets such as aerospace, transportation, sporting goods, industrial goods, and ballistics which have been the market drivers in recent years, helping to gain widespread acceptance in the marketplace across all regions. On the basis of its comprehensive r

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Grass is Greener if it’s Plastic

It’s the good ol’ summertime and you know what that means: lawn mowing time for all of you who live in the “green” parts of the U.S. Some of you may love mowing grass. However for those of you who find mowing a chore and not a fun way to spend your weekends, there’s EasyTurf synthetic (i.e. plastic) grass. EasyTurf uses a proprietary 100% permeable artificial grass surface backing, MaxxFlow, for great drainage – just in case it does rain. The grass blades are made from polyethylene or polypropylene fiber, or ‘yarn’, wh

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IBM Discovers New Class of Polymers

IBM Researchers recently discovered a new class of polymer materials that offer the potential to transform manufacturing and fabrication in the fields of transportation, aerospace and microelectronics. This material is a thermoset, which means it is very stable in terms of both temperature and mechanical properties, and typically can’t be recycled because once it has been molded it is not reversible. Using a unique approach of combining high performance computing with synthetic polymer chemistry, these new materials are the first to demonstrate resistance to cracking, strength higher than

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Report Shows Carbon Footprint for Plastics Lower Than Other Packaging

A new study conducted by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, looks at the carbon footprint impact of plastic packaging vs. alternative packaging materials. What they found will most likely be no surprise to those in the plastics industry: six major categories of plastic packaging help to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions when compared with alternative packaging materials such as glass and paperboard. These six categories are caps & closur

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Higher is the Key Word

U.S. plastics processors are raising the bar with higher productivity, higher profits and higher utilization. That's the word from the 2013 North American Plastics Industry Study from Plante & Moran’s Plastics Industry Team, comprised of Leader Jeff Mengel and Co-leader Ted Morgan, who surveyed 84 companies with 131 facilities and $3 billion in sales. Labor productivity, as measured by value-add (sales less material and outside processing), divided by total full-time equivalents significantly jumped in 2012, as “companies were forced to figure out how to do more with less.” That s

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Call for No Trade Barriers

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) Chief Economist Joe Pickard testified on May 14 before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) at a hearing to examine the economic impacts of barriers to the free trade of environmental goods. Given the critical role the recycling industry plays in global trade and the environment, Pickard called for the ITC to include all scrap commodities and equipment in its classification of environmental goods. He also testified that eliminating tariff barriers would benefit the industry, our

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3D Disruptors

What’s the potential for 3D printing to be a major disruptor in the manufacturing arena? Some say there’s a possibility that 3D printing may disrupt injection molding or thermoforming, however that might be a stretch. Companies injection mold parts because it’s the most cost effective way to manufacture plastic parts in high volumes and in a short amount of time. 3D printing, while fast, doesn’t have the capability to produce thousands of parts in a matter of minutes like, for instance, a 196-cavity mold producing caps or closure

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Processing machinery projections

If you’re curious to know how the plastics processing machinery market is projected to fare over the next few years, Reportlinker.com has a new report out on that market. Globally, plastics processing machinery demand is expected to advance 7% annually through 2017 to $37.6 billion. The report, released at the end of last year, attributed this to a healthier sales climate, resulting from accelerations in fixed investment spending and plastic resin consumption growth that will spur gains. Markets that will push the greatest demand for machinery include packaging for food and beverage marke

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Protect your brands with anti-counterfeiting measures

Counterfeit plastic materials can be can be extremely costly, as Aston Martin recently found out when it discovered that the accelerator pedals on its cars, were being made from a fake DuPont material. That was just the latest story to come out about the increasing fraud in manufacturing, particularly from unscrupulous suppliers that use cheaper materials in the products they mold for OEMs. Efforts to stay a step ahead of these material counterfeiters have proven effective with new anti-counterfeiting technologies being developed. The

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When recyclable Is not recyclable

Semantics is everything – especially when you’re talking about recyclable products. The word “recyclable” can trip up a manufacturer if they’re not careful. Take the recent case of the Wisconsin company, Renew Plastics, whose plastic lumber products didn’t meet the FTC’s Green Guide for recyclable. The FTC’s investigation found a problem with the company’s claim that its Evolve products are made from 90 percent or more recycled content, when it contained “at most 58 percent.” Another product’s promotional materials claimed that they are made from “mostly” post-consu

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Plastics pioneer Bob Charvat passes

The plastics industry has always honored its pioneers in process and materials technology, so Plastics Color Corp. would like to use this space to honor one of the early developers of plastics coloring technology, Robert Alan “Bob” Charvat, 83, who died at his home January 9, 2014 after a long battle with heart disease. Bob was born in Cleveland and raised in Lakewood, Ohio, and trained in mechanical engineering. He spent his career in the field of chemical engineering in colorants for plastics, where he made his mark and remained active as a consultant and teacher until his death. Bob

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In-mold labeling (IML) growing in popularity

In-mold labeling (IML) continues to be a niche process that represents only about 3 percent of the total labeling demand for packaging, according to the latest study from Alexander Watson Associates, released at the IMLCON in Phoenix this past week. North America represents 21 percent of global label demand; Europe has 27 percent of demand and Asia has the largest demand at 37 percent. Pressure sensitive and glue applied labels are the largest label segments with 38 percent each, followed by shrink sleeve labels at 17 percent. Glue applied labels are in declining in developed markets, and s

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Plastic bag bans continue to be enacted

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, plastic bags are banned in large grocery stores in the City of Los Angeles. Shoppers will have to bring their own bags, or they have the option to purchase a paper bag for 10 cents. Smaller independent markets and liquor stores that sell groceries have until July 1 before the ban takes effect for those establishments. According to the LA Times, implementation of the law will take nearly 2 billion plastic carryout bags out of circulation just in Los Angeles. In the state of California, nearly 90 cities and co

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Robotics in plastics

Many advancements have been made in robotic technology for use in plastics processing over the past decade, and processors have consistently invested in robotic technology for a number of reasons. Early on, pick-and-place robots were installed on injection molding machines to provide faster cycle times. The pick-and-place robots could move in and out of the mold faster and in a more consistent manner, therefore keeping cycle times maximized and improving productivity. From these common tasks, robots began to be used in more advance

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PET does not contain BPA

A plastic bottle is a plastic bottle is a plastic bottle. Or NOT! There’s been a lot of misinformation in the consumer marketplace about plastic bottles that contain BPA (Bisphenol-A), which some groups claim is hazardous to our health. However, the FDA and other scientific and health organizations, have not found any link between developmental and reproductive disorders claimed by these groups and BPA, which is found in hard plastics. Some of the misinformation is confusing to consumers, who believe that all plastics contain BPA. Recently, in an effort to educate the public about the var

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Ready, set, thermosets

Thermosetting polymer materials are tough! Thermoset materials are different than thermoplastic materials in that once the thermosets are processed, they form irreversible bonds that can’t be reclaimed and reused like thermoplastics, which can be re-melted and re-processed into other parts. The high strength-to-weight ratio of thermosetting materials makes it a good choice when high-strength but lighter weight is needed – particularly in transportation applications – as it is 35 percent lighter than steel parts of the same strength. Thermoset materials include polyester resins (the mo

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Alternative flame retardants

Why is there a need for alternatives to Halogenated plastic materials? That was the next question answered in the Panduit White Paper, Five Things to Know When Specifying Halogen-Free Wiring Duct (see our previous post).  “In the longer term to meet more application requirements, the challenge to halogen-free product developers will be to provide comparable or superior material properties to halogenated products at a comparable cost,” noted Panduit. Some applications for these materials create a concern that plastics materials containing halogen can release corrosive and toxic gases if

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Why are halogens used in plastic materials?

Why are halogens used in plastic materials? Good question! Panduit Corp., a manufacturer of cabling and wire structures, produced a White Paper in 2005 (Five Things to Know When Specifying Halogen-Free Wiring Duct), and offers some good information. Halogenated compounds can “produce properties in plastic products that can be difficult to duplicate, at the same performance and cost, in non-halogenated compounds.” Halogen, by definition means “salt former” and components containing halogens are called “salts.” There are fiv

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Silver v. Zinc Antimicrobials

Zinc antimicrobials are especially useful in areas subject to high humidity. When it comes to antimicrobial additives for plastics, there is more than one choice. While silver tends to be more versatile and efficacious than alternatives such as zinc, zinc oxide is making its mark in the antimicrobial arena. Both silver and zinc oxide (ZnO) are well known for their antimicrobial and healing properties, yet silver remains the most widely used additive for killing bacteria particularly on medical device surfaces. However, studies done

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Stop counterfeiters in their tracks

Is it live or is it Memorex? So read the popular 1970s TV spot for audio recording tape. And ever since, bad guys have been trying to make better illegal copies of products in virtually every category.  With the global marketplace in full swing and products coming from nearly every country, counterfeiting has become a huge problem. Everything is susceptible to counterfeiting from watches, electrical products and automotive after-market parts, to medical devices and even safety labels such as UL certifications. More and more compan

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Food-contact surfaces and the EPA/FDA tug of war

When is a pesticide a pesticide? And when is a pesticide NOT a pesticide? When does an antimicrobial additive in plastic products used in food-contact surfaces become a “pesticide chemical?” These are just a few issues that the EPA and the FDA have been trying to sort out for quite some time. Fortunately for the plastics industry, the federal government tackled the issue and sought to clarify the antimicrobial oversight confusion that reared its ugly head with the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) with the Antimicrobial R

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Antimicrobials are big business in the USA

It seems that consumers are more concerned than ever about bacterial infections, particularly those that are antibiotic resistant. Antimicrobial products are big business in the USA. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately one billion dollars each year are spent on a variety of antimicrobial products. More than 5,000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with the EPA and sold in the marketplace, according to a recent report.Nearly 60 percent of antimicrobial products are registered to control

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Composites are particularly susceptible to microbes

Did you ever wonder why some of your outdoor plastic furniture – especially white or the lighter colors – gets dark gray or greenish stains on it that won’t wipe off? Well, that’s because the stains are caused by plastics’ susceptibility to bacteria, fungi and algae. It is a problem that gets worse during the summer months when the humidity is high and temperatures are warm, something that these microbes love and that causes them to thrive.PVC – particularly flexible PVC – which many of your outdoor furniture products are m

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Fighting microbes is a full-time job

Finding and identifying microbes was just phase one. Once these microbes, which are responsible for many infectious diseases that continue to plague mankind, were discovered the next phase was to create methods of neutralizing these insidious ‘germs.’ Thus came the development of penicillin and other anti-bacterial agents (antibiotics) to help us win the fight against microbes and the diseases they caused.Over the 20th Century, it was also discovered that these microbes – which had survived for thousands of years – had the abilit

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Antimicrobial additives for resins make good sense

The development of antimicrobial additives for plastics resins is in response to innovative ways to proactively inhibit microbial growth on surfaces of many plastic products that consumers – both public and institutional – are demanding to prevent the spread of bacteria.  In particular, the antibiotic resistant “super bugs” that are not only in hospital settings but are now out in the general population, are of grave concern spurring advances in resin-compatible antimicrobial technology.In fact, according to a report from The Fr

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Go green (or blue) with PLA

Polylactic Acid (PLA) has been around for more than a decade. Formulated from corn starch in the U.S. (tapioca root in Asia and sugar cane in other parts of the world), PLA has gained some ground in the “green” packaging market.  PLA was designed for and is used to thermoform food containers such as deli containers for take-out food and drinking cups.NatureWorks LLC, which began as a Cargill research project in 1989, is today the largest producer of PLA in North America. Their newest product, Ingeo, is made from wheat, sugar beets,

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So many colors! You need Total Color Management.

It’s absolutely mind-boggling how many colors you can create from just a few ‘primary’ colors. With this endless rainbow of colors how can plastic-product designers and processors possibly have all the knowledge required to make color a meaningful part of a product’s brand? You need a company that provides Total Color Management™ to help you from concept through development to finished product. TCM is a new way of doing business. It is a system dedicated to identifying, understanding and assuming all issues related to color and its use in your organization. Using isaac, TCM helps you

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Liquid colors have their advantages in the right situations

Liquid colorant is a dispersion of pigments and/or dyes in specially selected liquid vehicles, which can be customized to the polymer and process needed. These specialized vehicles guarantee the colorant will have total compatibility with the polymer. It also promotes rapid and complete distribution of the liquid color concentrate into the polymer, leading to fewer processing problems.Liquid colorants typically come as a ‘system’ which includes the pump which can be set for the appropriate let-down ratio which colors the resins automatically. That prevents turning the entire plant

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Safer flame retardants?

Flame retardants have a long and mixed history. While Deca Brominated flame retardants are the most widely used (about 80% of the Brominated flame retardants are the Deca type), there is some scientific evidence that the brominated flame retardants have negative health effects.Deca brominated flame retardants are used primarily in textiles and foams such as upholstery, mattresses, and electronics such as computer housings and TVs. However, many of these markets have started demanding Bromine-Free Retardants (BFRs), and there is some progress being in the non-halogenated flame retardant

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Branding for beauty

Cosmetics products depend heavily on their packaging to provide their branding. Shapes, colors, labels and logos all promote the ‘look’ of the specific brand in a sea of products, and entice consumers to ‘pick me up!’.Puttin’ on the Ritz for high-end brands requires packaging of lustrous glossy finishes with bright metallic decorations hot-stamped into the packaging.  They also need to be molded out of durable polycarbonate material to hold up for repeated usage, have a hefty feel and a rich look. These brands go for unique shapes, especially in perfume bottles. All of these feature

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Plastics in medical devices a game changer

Plastics have long played a major role in the medical device industry. Thanks to plastics’ use in disposable “single-use” devices (syringes, intravenous delivery devices, etc.), infection rates have dropped dramatically over the past 50 years.The global medical device market is expected to reach US$302 billion in 2017, and big changes are expected. The way treatments are administered will change and there will be fewer invasive procedures and more minimally invasive surgeries. Devices are becoming smaller, especially electronic de

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Don’t let microbes set up shop in your plastics

Antimicrobial additive technology for plastics has been around for more than a decade. These additives, which can be either organic or inorganic in nature, can be dispersed in plastic materials to prevent bacterial colonies from taking hold in products used in environments conducive to colony growth. These include marine environments; other moist, warm environments; hospital environments, construction applications such as Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) using in decking and railing, and more.Antimicrobial additives are suitable for a var

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Antimicrobials for polymers increase cleanliness

Whether you are healthcare professional using plastic medical devices, or you have appliances in your home, everyone wants to try to keep plastic clean. To reduce stains, odors, or deterioration, custom-formulated antimicrobials for polymers have been created.Microbes are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Once the microbes have multiplied, only then can they be detected without a microscope. To affect the growth of bacteria, silver ions can be dispersed throughout the polymer matrix. The silver ions inhibit the growth of bacteria

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Common ground for polymer sustainability regulations

Transparent communication in the sustainability of products is important for manufacturers, consumers and the government. With consumer demand for sustainable products and government regulations increasing, polymer experts are determined to design solutions to meet standards such as ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6866. Attaining these esteemed standards proves a commitment to the environment and increases credibility for companies.Whether the biodegradable plastics are created from a commonly used resin or an innovative modern technology, a standard provides regulations for everyone to understand. There

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