AF-COLOR – Specialist for standardised and high-quality engineering masterbatches

The recyclability of plastics is a current topic due to the adapted packaging ordinance. To enable an increasingly higher percentage of colored packaging to be recycled, AF-COLOR has adapted its product portfolio. Nearly every color can be formulated to be free of carbon black.

By bundling market observations, customer requirements and own expert knowledge, the masterbatch manufacturer AF-COLOR, branch of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH, presents under the brand AF-COLOR Selection products from different specialist areas.

Carbon black-free masterbatches (AF-Color® *IR) for IR-detectable packaging

Carbon black pigments make the conventional recycling process more difficult. In most automated sorting systems, the packaging is irradiated with infrared light, which causes different polymers to reflect light in different ways. The so-called NIR sensor differentiates between the grades of plastic, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and various other common packaging plastics.

However, if the colored plastic parts contain carbon black, the NIR rays are absorbed and therefore cannot be properly detected or distinguished from each other. Due to this problem, the majority of dark-colored packaging cannot be sorted and processed optimally at present.

During the development of this new masterbatch series, AF-COLOR has tested high quality inorganic ingredients from various manufacturers. During product development, the focus was on the greatest possible color depth in the black range and the possible competitiveness. However, carbon black is not only an issue for black coloring. Many masterbatches contain carbon black in certain colorings and thus also fall through the sorting grid.

“In view of the resulting requirements, some products from our portfolio have already been reformulated and successfully recreated in preparation for and in response to the wishes of our customers”, says Dirk Schoening, Sales Director at AF-COLOR.

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Written by Kevin Gambrill