How do you give your product an edge? What separates your product from a sea of competitors? Your competitive advantage starts long before consumers ever rest their eyes on your product. Your edge is the plastic additives implemented during the production process. Functional additives allow you to modify your polymer’s properties for enhanced results and can be broken down into two distinct fields: performance and manufacturing.
Performance additives can enhance the end-of-use function of a polymer, adding value to the consumer. Performance additives can take many forms. They can be used to mask unpleasant odors, increase strength, fight off microbes with an antimicrobial plastic additive and mitigate the spread of fire with flame-retardant compounds.
Sometimes products need a performance additive to help meet customers’ expectations, as is the case with UV packages of stabilizers and inhibitors found in plastic patio furniture and impact modifiers used in plastic cellphone cases. Other times, visual additives are necessary to help give a product an edge over the competition. A product that has glitter, pearls or metallic flakes might catch the eye of the consumer quicker than a product that doesn’t.
Whether seen or unseen, performance additives can be customized to meet your product’s needs. Innovative performance additives include glow-in-the-dark special effects, scent fragrances, antimicrobial plastic additives, laser-marking additives and impact modifiers.
Unlike performance additives, manufacturing additives do not directly benefit the end user. Manufacturing additives, also known as processing aids, make the production process more efficient. They play a crucial role in the creation of plastic products.
Speed is king. At times, the faster manufacturers can create a product, the faster they can move on to the next project. Manufacturing additives can help reduce the time required for the part to cool, without the fear of the product warping or shrinking.
Manufacturing additives can also help separate products from their mold. Plastics often stick to the mold when heated, which can cause the product to break when separated. Manufacturing additives act as a lubricant, which reduces friction, frees the product and decreases waste. Plastic products large and small use manufacturing additives, which make them essential to the production of every plastic piece, from tiny bottle caps to massive furniture parts.
Furthermore, manufacturing additives can be used to help molders extend the lifespan of their machines. They lower the amount of torque and stress placed on the machines, while also minimizing runtimes.
Many different manufacturing additives are available to help ease the production process. Popular manufacturing additives include slips, zinc stearates, calcium stearates, mold releases and nucleating agents. Check with your supplier to find out which additives are the best fit for your product.
As an industry leader, Plastics Color can help you develop the perfect solution to meet all of your plastics needs. The company has in-house research labs staffed with experts who can assist you with a broad range of performance and manufacturing additives for a variety of markets. For more information on how it can help you create your next great plastic product, please fill out the contact form located at the bottom of this page.