Cleveland — You know those panels with raised knobs set into the sidewalk at crosswalks? Most pedestrians barely give them a notice. But these thermoset composite products require major coloring technology, according to Paul Rettinger, thermosets technology manager of Chromaflo Technologies Corp.
Chromaflow is an Ashtabula, Ohio-based maker of colorants and pigment dispersal systems.
Since they came out in the late 1990s, the market for what is officially called “tactile plates” have become a growing sector for manufacturers of sheet molding compound and related materials, according to Rettinger, who spoke April 19 at the SPE Thermoset TopCon in Cleveland.
The panels have to be tough, durable and brightly colored — and retain as much color as possible from long use outside in the elements and direct sunlight.
At the Thermoset TopCon, Rettinger presented research by Chromaflow to gauge colors and the gloss retention rate, of the tactile plates using different levels of the company's ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizer, called UV Solutions, a product line composed of finely dispersed pigments in a blend of specialty UV additives.
Chromaflow does weathering tests to see how the color and gloss fades over time, in different formulations. UV Solutions held up well, Rettinger said.