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How Is Masterbatch Produced – Masterbatch Manufacturing Process

1. Choose the right paint

Selecting the appropriate pigment is a crucial first step in masterbatch production. The chosen pigments should exhibit good stability and dyeing properties. Material-specific considerations are vital, as different pigments are suitable for different materials. Characteristics and material requirements play a key role in the selection process, ensuring compatibility and optimal performance.

2. Choose the right solvent

The solvent selected for masterbatch production should effectively dissolve the chosen pigment while maintaining stability. Commonly, organic solvents such as toluene and xylene are employed. Environmental friendliness and safety are important considerations in solvent selection, ensuring that the chosen solvent aligns with regulatory and sustainability standards.

3. Additive selection

Additives play a crucial role in enhancing the dispersion, dyeability, and stability of masterbatch. Various additives, including dispersants, wetting agents, and stabilizers, are used in controlled amounts based on specific needs. These additives contribute to the overall quality of the masterbatch, ensuring it meets the desired standards.

4. Preparation of color masterbatch

Preparing masterbatch requires selecting appropriate equipment and processes. There are two types of masterbatch production processes: wet process and dry process.

Wet process

The wet process involves several steps, including grinding, phase inverting, washing, drying, and granulating the color masterbatch. Four different methods—ink, flushing, kneading, and metal soap—are employed, each with its unique advantages and challenges. Technical tests during grinding ensure the desired properties of the grinding slurry, emphasizing factors like fineness, diffusion performance, and solid content.

Ink method

The ink method is the production method of ink paste. The ingredients are ground through three rollers, and a low molecular protective layer is coated on the surface of the pigment. The ground ink paste is mixed with the carrier resin, plasticized by a two-roller mill, and finally granulated by a single-screw or twin-screw extruder.

Flushing method

In the flushing method, the pigment, water and dispersant are sanded to make the particles <1 μm. The phase transfer method is used to transfer the pigment into the oil phase, which is evaporated, concentrated and dried. After adding the carrier, the color masterbatch is obtained by extrusion and granulation. Phase transfer requires organic solvents and corresponding solvent recovery devices, which is complicated to operate and adds to the difficulty of processing.

Kneading method

The kneading method is to mix the pigment and the oily carrier, and then wash the pigment from the water phase into the oil phase through kneading. The oily carrier coats the pigment surface to stabilize the pigment dispersion and prevent aggregation. Then it is extruded and granulated to obtain the color masterbatch.

Metal soap method

The pigment is ground to a particle size of about 1 μm, and soap solution is added at a certain temperature to evenly wet the surface of the pigment particles to form a protective layer of saponification solution (such as magnesium stearate), which will not cause flocculation and maintain a certain fineness. Then add the carrier, stir and mix at high speed, and extrud and granulate to obtain the color masterbatch.

Dry process

Generally used to produce high-grade masterbatch, enterprises prepare pre-dispersed pigments by themselves. The production conditions of masterbatch present diversified options depending on the product requirements.

High stirring + single screw, high stirring + twin screw are the most common production processes. In order to improve the dispersion of pigments, some companies grind the carrier resin into powder. Internal mixer + single screw, internal mixer + twin screw are also the process technologies used to produce high-quality masterbatch. At present, masterbatch color measurement and color matching technology has become more popular, and more high-performance spectrophotometers are introduced to assist in completing color matching.

Masterbatch production equipment includes grinding equipment, high and low speed kneaders, mixers, extrusion granulation equipment, etc. Grinding equipment includes sand mills, cone mills, colloid mills, high shear dispersers, etc. The kneader exhausts air, extracts volatile matter and dehydrates through vacuuming and decompression; the thermal working condition is heated by thermal oil, steam or water cooling; the discharging method is cylinder discharging, discharging under the valve and screw discharging; kneading The paddle adopts frequency converter to regulate speed. Mixers are divided into two types: open rubber mixers and closed rubber mixers. Extrusion granulation equipment includes single-screw extruders, twin-screw extruders (parallel co-rotating, parallel counter-rotating, conical co-rotating,conical counter-rotating), triple screw extruder, etc.

In the process of preparing masterbatch, various parameters need to be controlled, such as temperature, time, stirring speed, etc. Adjustment of these parameters can affect the particle size, dispersion and stability of the masterbatch. In addition, strict quality testing is also required to ensure that the quality of the masterbatch meets the requirements. The prepared masterbatch can be subsequently processed by drying or other methods to further improve its quality. The treated masterbatch can be used for dyeing and has better dyeing performance and stability.

5. Grading

The manufactured masterbatch needs to be classified through a screening process. The masterbatch is classified according to particle size and particles of different sizes are separated. This is to ensure the quality and uniformity of the masterbatch and ensure that the specifications of each batch of products are consistent.

6. Package

The graded masterbatch needs to be packaged. Common packaging methods include plastic bags, woven bags or cartons. During the packaging process, attention needs to be paid to sealing and protection to prevent the masterbatch from getting damp or being contaminated by the outside world.
These steps are very important, and each step is directly related to the quality of the final product. Through scientific and reasonable technological processes, masterbatch with stable quality and bright colors can be produced, providing a variety of choices for plastic products.

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