CHICAGO — Colorants technology was promoted heavily at NPE 1997, held June 16-20 in Chicago, because it is increasingly important in plastics applications, according to compounding personnel who attended the show.
``There was more emphasis on appearance'' than at previous NPE shows, said Cliff Fleenor, applications manager for Bay Resins, a Millington, Md., compounder in the Performance Plastics division of Clariant Group.
New appearance effects are on the market and suppliers of other additives, such as antioxidants, ultraviolet-light stabilizers and purging compounds, are improving their products to help support plastics aesthetics.
Geoff Nesbitt, development engineer for Bay Resins, said that as plastics capture more applications, processors will need more color options, including better weatherability.
Fleenor said he noticed many special effects displayed at NPE, including marble and metal simulations, and wood fibers, such as those from American Wood Fibers Co. of Schofield, Wis. Wood fibers can make plastic look and feel like wood and could be a low-cost filler, Fleenor said.
Sharon Ehr, director of technical services for Chroma Corp., said a new large-particle-size, pearlescent colorant from EM Industries Inc. caught her eye. It has potential in personal-care products because companies in that market ``are always looking for something different and interesting.''
EM of Hawthorne, N.Y., was thermoforming sheet containing the new Supernova White pearlescent, which Ehr said is ``more glittery'' than conventional pearlescents. EM also featured Lazer Flair LS pigments, which can be laser marked and coded.
Chroma, based in McHenry, Ill., compounds a lot of special colorant and high-performance concentrates, Ehr said. It recently expanded floor space, installed a new, 41/2-inch Davis-Standard extruder and is setting up a new research center.
Colortech Inc.'s staff also noticed new glitter effects, according to Will Anjowski, technical service manager for the Brampton, Ontario, concentrates and compounds supplier.
``There were a lot of interesting effects in metallics and pearlescents,'' Anjowski said.
He cited EM Industries and Mearl's new products among the highlights.
Mearl's pearlescents were displayed at the booth of its parent company, Englehard Corp. of Iselin, N.J., which also featured new heat-stable Engletone organic colorants.
Improved computerized color-matching technology goes hand in hand with new colorants. Ehr said new technologies shown at NPE could help her company and its customers. X-Rite Inc. of Grandville, Mich., Minolta Corp. of Ramsey, N.J., and Gretag Macbeth of New Windsor, N.Y., were among suppliers offering higher accuracy and speed and online capabilities in new color software, according to Ehr.
``Quality-control software is getting more friendly for my customers,'' she said. ``It allows us to dial in to our customers that have color-measurement capability.''
Other colorants publicized at the show included:
New carbon blacks from Cabot Corp. of Billerica, Mass., and Columbian Chemicals Co. of Atlanta.
New fluorescent pigments, including liquid versions for plastisols, from Day-Glo Color Corp. of Cleveland.
Ultramarine blue for transparent PET packaging from Holliday Pigments Ltd. of Kingston Upon Hull, England.
Large-particle-size aluminum pigments from Obron Atlantic Corp. of Painesville, Ohio.
High-purity ultramarine blue from Prayon Pigments of Huntersville, N.C.