UK-based additive manufacturer Colour Tone has introduced its latest range of near-infrared (NIR) detectable masterbatches.
The company has developed the masterbatches in a bid to mitigate brand owners’ recyclability concerns for single-life black plastic tubs, trays and films.
The first two black masterbatches from the company’s colouring system to be launched have been named the NIR black 958884 and 95893.
Despite being designed for use in polypropylene applications, the new masterbatches can be applied to any other polymer as they offer improved colouring and coverage capabilities.
The NIR black 95893 supports applications required to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while the 958884 satisfies the EU food contact legislation.
According to the company, the NIR black 958884 masterbatch offers benefits in terms of cost savings.
Colour Tone director Tony Gaukroger said: “We now have a masterbatch that delivers to brand owners and retailers the required eco-benefits at a competitive price that has significantly reduced the ‘gap’ between this and conventional carbon black pigments.
“Finally, by specifying these ‘next-generation’ NIR colorants it not only allows for the effective detection and recovery of black plastics at ‘end of life’, it also enables brand owners and retailers to find an alternative substitute to using virgin plastics, so they can effectively ‘close the loop’ on this valuable waste stream.”
The company said that black plastics packaging is often invisible to NIR spectrophotometers due to the presence of carbon black and other pigments that absorb infra-red light.
Colour Tone said that the NIR colourants have the ability to make black plastics visible to optical sorting methods.