In simple terms, manufacture is a two-stage process: gathering ingredients and then mixing them together by applying heat and shear to produce an homogenised pellet. Generally high or low speed mixers are used to produce a pre-mix of the additives which is then compounded on roller mills, kneaders, single or twin screw extruders. Even distribution (dispersion) and development (breaking down) of the additives throughout the carrier are essential. This processing depends on several key elements: formulation, quality of raw materials, quality of mixing and compounding plant. Finally, the finished masterbatch is pelletised (die-face or strand cut) or ground.
Injection moulding, blow moulding, profile extrusion, sheet extrusion, film extrusion, cast film, fibres and calendered sheet processes commonly employ masterbatch.
A basic method of determining whether you will benefit from usingmasterbatchis to consider that small lots of coloured compound invariably carry a surcharge. Further, if you are using several colours in the same base polymer, especially if it is an engineering polymer, you should explore the cost of using masterbatch. Also, look at the cost of stock holding tonnes of coloured compounded material and weigh this up against using the space saved by installing a plant that contributes to profit. it has the potential to save hundreds of pounds per tonne against compounded materials.
Profits can also be improved further through the opportunity to benefit from the bulk purchasing of natural polymers, selecting from possibly a wider range of suppliers. Moreover, there are many different masterbatch suppliers to choose from, so you should be able to find one that offers quality and service to match your exact requirements.