Chroma Color’s UltraPET™ PCR allows brand owners to further increase the levels of PET PCR resin within their package. (Photo credit: Chroma Color)

Forecast

Chroma Color: Three plastic masterbatch trends for 2021

| Material technology | Jerry O’Grady, Market Development Specialist, Chroma Color Corporation | McHenry, IL | United States

Chroma Color Corporation experienced an increased demand for enhanced masterbatch and functional additives during 2020, and we anticipate this “specialized” trend to continue in 2021. Chroma Color expects plastic processors to expand their focus on Color Solutions for Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) resins, increased usage of Antimicrobial Additives, and an emphasis on Healthcare Compliant Color Concentrates for Medical Products.

Colors for post-consumer recycled (PCR) resins

Corporate Sustainability goals along with pressure from Consumer and Environmental groups are driving increased demand for higher content of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) resins, especially within commercial packaging applications.  With this increased PCR feedstock demand, the quality of the available raw material adds a new challenge. This is particularly evident in the two resins leading this growth trend; PP and PET. Processors often face difficulty in achieving the desired aesthetics and color consistency due to the inherent range of chalky-grey shades or yellow undertones associated with commercial PCR resins. Each resin family will require unique color or additive formulation adjustments to ensure the development of an acceptable finished package on shelf.

Direct and early involvement of an experienced colorant supplier will minimize the impact of these challenges:

  • Chroma Color has an extensive and successful track record of providing additive concentrates including processing aids, impact modifiers, UV, and other stabilizers that help to revive PCR resin aesthetics and process properties

  • Chroma Color offers highly loaded color concentrates, enabling lower usage rates and greater processing flexibility, beneficial to achieving desired visuals for products on-shelf

Chroma Color’s thorough technical experience provides improved aesthetics and performance within all major packaging PCR resins (PE, PP, PET), along with BioPlastics, Ocean Plastics, PIR and other sustainable resin sources. Chroma Color’s patented line-up of G2®, UltraPETTM and G3® technologies provide the perfect balance of color, performance and price to address the vast array of PCR resin challenges.

Antimicrobial specially formulated additives

Through the last 12 months, the plastics industry experienced a dramatic increase in demand for Antimicrobial Additives, directly related to the heightened awareness on disinfection and surface cleanliness. Chroma Color anticipates consumer focus will remain high and therefore product demand will continue into 2021.

The job of an Antimicrobial Additive is to inhibit development of mold, fungi, mildew, and bacterial growth. When blended with plastic resins, these additives also discourage stains and unwanted odors. The most popular and effective antimicrobial additives are based on Zinc Pyrithione or Silver Ion technology

There are seven key factors to bear in mind when evaluating antimicrobials additives:

  1. Antimicrobials can be produced as a stand-alone additive masterbatch or incorporated into color masterbatches and pre-colored compounds.
  2. Products intended to impede microbes and bacteria growth on a product’s surface are not substitutes for proper hygiene or preventing foodborne or infectious illnesses.
  3. Dependent on the protection desired, FDA requirements will need to be reviewed, including the consideration of special restrictions and specific guidelines.
  4. Before any material can be sold as an antimicrobial, it must first be registered with the appropriate governmental authorities (US and/or other countries) and the registration number must be posted on the product label.
  5. End-use product producers (processors, converters, OEMs) are responsible for investigation and understanding of regulations before manufacturing items for distribution or use in any country.
  6. It is a federal offense to use an antimicrobial in an unapproved manner.
  7. Enhanced additive color concentrates are customized in many different resin systems to meet customer requirements.

Chroma Color first commercialized the MicroBlok® Antimicrobial Additives and Colorants offering in 2012.  Chroma Color’s technical team can assist with the review of currently available options and provide guidance on required steps for a new antimicrobial application. Chroma Color currently offers two families of antimicrobial additives known as MicroBlok®S and MicroBlok®Z.

Healthcare compliant color for medical products

The most critical concern in the manufacture of medical-grade components is minimizing the risk of contamination and elimination of pathogenic microorganisms. This involves compliance for manufacturing facilities, processes and raw materials.

Sourcing raw materials provided with the highest quality and compliance starts with a supplier who operates under an ISO-17025 accreditation. Active ISO-17025 certification provides evidence of the manufacturer’s testing processes and equipment, as well as the staff’s technical competency. In recent years, medical industry leaders have relied on this certification to substantiate technical credibility claims of a supplier, thus reducing the risk of error. Chroma Color’s Asheboro, North Carolina facility has operated under ISO-17025 certification since 2009.

Second to manufacturing compliance is the desire for Speed-to-Market for Medical OEMs and their component producers.  It is best to find a supplier with a strong history of FDA interaction, specifically related to Drug Master File (DMF) listings. DMF’s provide confidential, detailed information about facilities, processes, and other specifics used to manufacture and process pharmaceutical packaging, medical packaging, medical devices and other items intended for human use.

Appropriate DMF registration will streamline the process of securing FDA approval for a medical or pharmaceutical plastic application, which ensures the manufacturer or brand owner a shorter cycle for development to product launch.

Chroma Color offers a vast catalog of colors, additives and concentrates packaged with FDA-listed DMFs. Chroma Color’s Corporate Quality Systems and Regulatory Affairs team is readily available to assist with any questions related to facility accreditation or the FDA DMF process.

Summary

As we move into 2021 and are preparing for a new wave of challenges, Chroma Color has established a strong foundation to serve as your perfect partner for Custom Colors, High Quality Color Concentrates, Technical Expertise, Functional Additives, G Series (heavily loaded color concentrates to reduce cost), and creative programs to aid in achieving your Sustainability goals.

 

Author: Jerry O’Grady, Market Development Specialist, Chroma Color Corporation

 

www.chromacolors.com






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