LANXESS expands technical customer services for the plastics industry

Automated testing of thermal stability in customer-specific plastics applications

At its laboratory in Uerdingen, LANXESS has the equipment to carry out in-depth tests on the effects of pigments.
At its laboratory in Uerdingen, LANXESS has the equipment to carry out in-depth tests on the effects of pigments.

LANXESS has added to its technical services for pigment customers, with its Inorganic Pigments (IPG) business unit expanding the technical centre at its biggest site in Krefeld-Uerdingen, Germany. The facility is now equipped to carry out automated measurements of thermal stability in customer-specific plastics applications.

From sample-loading to colorimetric analysis, all the necessary modules can be actuated via automated processes. That allows us to carry out highly specific tests with supreme accuracy,” said Stefano Bartolucci, global market segment manager for plastics at IPG.

LANXESS also offers extensive pigment expertise when it comes to colouring filaments for 3D printing. This promising digital technology has enormous potential for the plastics industry. The use of pigments for the production of filaments continues to gain popularity in the plastics industry.

At its laboratory in Uerdingen, LANXESS has the equipment to carry out in-depth tests on the effects of pigments, and the company is able to advise its customers on colouring with iron-oxide pigments.

For example, in the case of short dwell times and relatively low shear forces in the processing machines, it is necessary to ensure good dispersibility. The pigments need to be easy to distribute, and must reach their final colour strength quickly,” explained Bartolucci.

“At the same time, we can demonstrate ways of partially reducing the organic pigment content in a filament formulation by means of iron oxides, when the application calls for better weather stability.”

In contrast to organic colorants, inorganic pigments provide high temperature and weather stability and yet relatively low costs, as well as excellent migration resistance.

Iron-oxide pigments have been used to colour plastics for decades, with great results. Red iron-oxide pigments in particular are often used as affordable alternatives to other options such as organic pigments. As the use of technical plastics such as polyamides, which can be processed at temperatures in excess of 260°C, becomes more and more widespread, the list of requirements for the pigments continues to grow. Their thermal stability in particular is becoming a decisive quality factor.

LANXESS offers the Colortherm brand, which features a range of synthetic red iron-oxide pigments that provide much better thermal stability than comparable pigments on account of their unique production process.

To manufacture these red types, LANXESS uses its proprietary Laux process, which involves heating the pigments to temperatures as high as 800°C. The process forces all traces of water that would make colour shift more likely to occur out of the oxide crystal lattice. Consequently, the micronised LANXESS pigments exhibit no discernible colour shift even at extremely high application temperatures. They can be processed at high temperatures well in excess of 300°C with no problems at all.

LANXESS is the world’s largest manufacturer of iron-oxide pigments, and also one of the leading producers of chrome oxide pigments. At K 2019, the international trade show for the plastics and rubber industry which takes place in Düsseldorf from 16 to 23 October, the company will be presenting its comprehensive range of Colortherm inorganic pigments for colouring plastics.

Our range of products includes both all-rounders and specialists aimed at specific requirements. Thermal stability, colour strength, resistance to light and weather, and chroma all determine the property profile, depending on the product in question,” explained Bartolucci.

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