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Now You See It: Visible And Non-visible Plastic Additives And What They Bring To Your Product

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“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an old saying that describes the pleasantly unexpected, and it applies so well to products designed with plastic. When you are looking at plastic, what you can see doesn't always tell the entire story, or the process, for the finished product. Many different additives can be used in a single product. Some additives are visible while others remain hidden to the naked eye. Both classifications of additives play important roles.

Visual additives are used to quickly catch a consumer’s attention. To convince customers to buy your product, you have to make it stand out from the competition. By contrast, performance additives, which affect and modify the characteristics of the polymer, are the unseen (and often unsung) workhorses of the plastics world.

Flashy and functional have to work together to produce a product that both looks good and stands up to the demands of the job is it designed to do.

Look At Me: Special Effect Additives

Special effects additives are all about the visuals.

Combined with the target color, special effects additives impart a “wow factor” that delivers in more ways than one. Containers that sparkle on supermarket shelves make it easier for the product to attract a customer’s attention. Visual additives can also help generate sales by adding a variety of different options, or styles, to your product lineup. Some of the most often used special effects additives are:

  • Glitter: Few things catch the eye like a sparkle of glitter. It’s used for decoration and to give product on the shelf an edge over the competition. Glitter comes in a variety of sizes and can be found in items as diverse as cosmetics containers, lotion bottles, toys, holiday ornaments and party supplies. Items aimed at young girls also make generous use of glitter because you just can’t be a princess without it.
  • Metallic: Made with copper, aluminum or zinc flakes, metallic additives are designed to give products a noticeable shimmer and shine. Metallic additives are highly reflective and stand out in everything from sunglasses to scooters.
  • Pearls: Pearlescent additives are used for items such as cosmetic products, toys and decorative materials that benefit from both brightness and opacity. Pearl additives are available in various particle sizes, but need to be fully dispersed and treated gently during manufacturing to protect the particle structure.
  • Glow-in-the-dark: Glow-in-the-dark additives contain phosphorescent pigments that absorb light for an extended amount of time and then release the stored light. The result is a slight glow from the product. Common uses for glow-in-the-dark additives include stop signs, TV remotes and constellation stickers that children stick on their bedroom ceilings.

Focus On Performance

Non-visual additives are often the unsung heroes of plastic products.

The benefits of non-visual additives can give plastic products extra strength, impart lubricity, mask unpleasant odors, reduce friction or speed up production time. In many cases, the end-user never even recognizes that non-visual additives exist. Some of the most often used non-visual additives are:

  • Impact Modifier: Plastic products are known to be able to take a beating and keep on going. Impact modifiers add strength and flexibility, which is ideal for products that frequently encounter collisions, such as toys, electronics and even cars.
  • Scent: Few things turn customers away faster than a bad smell. Scent additives help you mask the unpleasant odors that are commonly found in trash bags and dog toys. But it isn’t all about masking uncomfortable smells. A pleasant aroma could be added to a plastic cap to allow consumers to experience the aroma without tampering with the packaging.
  • Mold Release: Mold release additives are implemented during the production process. Parts that stick to the mold can result in production scheduling delays, lost products due to quality issues and even damaged molds.
  • Anti-static: Anti-static plastic additives help prevent static charges, which attract dust and cause clinging and sticking. The elimination of static isn’t only about keeping a product clean. Preventing a static charge is important for any product in the presence of flammable liquids.

Looking Good, Working Well

Plastics Color offers an extensive selection of visual and non-visual functional additives that help you achieve the look and performance you need for your product. The company’s team of experts can assist you through the entire process, from development through manufacturing. Contact Plastics Color today for more information on plastics additives that can help your product stand out.

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