Clariant gears up to deliver new liquid masterbatch products technologies and services in North America
- Pelletized masterbatches still predominate in North America
- The new HiFormer® system comprises a mix of consultancy, engineering and chemistry to deliver world class performance, flexibility and excellence
- Exploring new and innovative dimensions in design, technology and efficiency with brand owners and plastics processors
"Right now, about 90% of all masterbatches sold in North America are in solid, pelletized form," explains Peter Prusak, Head of Marketing – Clariant Masterbatches North America. "A lot of potential users have a negative view of liquids because most suppliers are still offering outdated carrier and dispensing technology that has only limited applicability in today's world. As we are able to show molders and OEMs the true features and benefits of the HiFormer liquid masterbatches system, I think those prejudices will vanish."
Liquid masterbatches can be used in many of the same applications as pelletized material and in some cases they offer critical advantages to the packaging and consumer goods segments of the plastics industry. Clariant liquid masterbatches are highly concentrated, so that less is needed to achieve brilliant, vibrant color that shines through, especially in translucent and transparent polymers. Processing efficiencies can deliver high productivity at a low total cost. With its tailored carrier technology and customized dosing- and handling systems, HiFormer opens up new dimensions: fast and simple color changes, maximum flexibility, and high reproducibility of the defined color.
Prusak comments: ", We recognize that liquid color is not for everyone and, because Clariant offers both solid and liquid products, we are completely unbiased. Our only objective is to help customers select the right solution for their particular needs, design their products, install the necessary equipment and implement proper procedures to achieve maximum benefit from whatever form they choose. Then we follow up to confirm their return-on-investment and make sure the system continues to perform as intended."
The HiFormer system is built on three primary elements:
CONVERSE – when all stakeholders define the parameters of the project, and identify major objectives and potential limitations. This fact-finding phase is aimed at assembling the necessary background which is needed to make a fully informed decision about the most beneficial masterbatches solution. CO-CREATE – the phase in which Clariant, the brand owner and the plastics processor work together to develop customized solutions to the specific needs of the application. COMPLETE - with the important decisions made, Clariant's global team goes into action, making sure that the process continues to perform, delivering long-term profitability. In North America, liquid masterbatches are manufactured in West Chicago, IL, Mooresville, NC and Chino, CA, and are supported by a team of highly-trained associates who have been working with these materials for many years. Liquid color has been integrated into Clariant's ColorWorks North America design and technology center in West Chicago, so that the technology can be considered along with other options early in the product development process. Proprietary liquid-color dosing/handling equipment uses state-of-the-art gravimetric (loss-in-weight) dosing of the color or additives. Training at the customer's site is provided.
Clariant has made huge advances in the development of chemically balanced blends of pigments, additives and carrier vehicles that extend the usefulness of liquid products beyond PET packaging and other traditional applications. New alternatives to mineral-oil carriers have opened up applications in extrusion blowmolding where screw slippage was a chronic problem. Additional components enhance material flow for more complete dispersion, lower processing temperatures and improved weld-line strength.
Prusak adds: "Today, the Clariant HiFormer system can help customers gain a marketable advantage in PET, PE, PP and PS packaging, closures, consumer durable goods and many other applications."