Silvergate Supplies The Best Technical, Practical And Cost Effective Solutions
Silvergate, the UK’s largest independent producer of bespoke colours, has frequently considered the merits of different carrier systems.
Of course, the most widely used is a polymer-specific, solid, dry, free-flowing pellet. Silvergate’s preferred methodology is to provide a carrier system that is the same as or compatible with the moulding polymer. Some systems can adversely affect the physical and mechanical properties of the final component. This is why Silvergate’s strategy is to supply the best technical, practical and cost effective solution for our customers. Unsurprisingly, this is the solid, polymer-specific option, which can also be made in very small quantities.
We have considered the introduction of alternatives, such as liquid systems into our portfolio. However, the inherent problems associated with shelf life and handling have caused us to remain focused on solid system technology. Traditional ‘liquid’ markets are applications such as clear polyesters; however solid carriers can now deliver the same clarity and colour distribution, with the benefit of a much longer shelf life.
The dosing rate of liquid products is controlled by a pump system that is usually provided by the supplier. With solid dosing equipment our customers tell us that, whilst the control is accurate, most dosing errors are due to setting rather than equipment functionality. Over-dosing of colour is not uncommon, however given the lower unit cost of solid masterbatch compared to alternative systems, overdosing is less costly.
In order to offer a ‘hybrid’ alternative, Silvergate has recently introduced a range of products with a carrier system that enables liquids to be carried in a solid form. The liquid is actually fully absorbed into the carrier and suspended in tiny pores within the pellet. Typical liquid to carrier ratios are 50:50 by weight. The masterbatch behaves as any other solid system in that the pellets are free flowing and completely dry!
Embedding a liquid additive into the solid carrier enhances the end product without compromising its performance or physical properties. Silvergate has been developing this type of technology for some time to provide an extremely effective solution to the problem of adding liquids to plastics without the inherent handling difficulties.
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