metallic effect plaques

Achieved using a select group of pigments, special effects are often used in the plastic packaging of consumer goods, as well as other modern plastic mouldings. A special effect can be introduced via a special effect masterbatch which is dosed into the polymer during the manufacturing process. Masterbatch is the term used to describe a concentrated formula of colourants, effects, performance enhancing additives, or a combination of the above, encapsulated within a carrier plastic resin.

Why is it beneficial to use a special effect masterbatch?

Although special effect pigments can be more expensive than standard colourants, a special effect masterbatch will usually be dosed into the moulding material at an addition rate of between 1% and 5%. This means a little goes a long way, so the special effect masterbatch still forms a relatively small proportion of overall material and production costs. A little extra investment here can make a big difference to the appearance of your plastic packaging or product. It can help to give a product the edge over competitor products or allow a more premium pricing strategy to be applied to your product. Special effect pigments can be combined with colourants to provide an almost limitless selection of customised appearances for plastic items. A masterbatch will help to ensure the colour and special effect are dispersed throughout the entirety of the plastic moulding. This can provide an advantage over surface coatings, which can suffer from scratching or peeling. Masterbatches are also likely to offer cost and production efficiencies over surface coatings as they avoid the need for an additional finishing process.

In which applications are special effects for plastics used?

Special effects feature in a huge variety of plastic components, covering many market sectors. Metallic effects are often used in automotive applications such as interior handles and trims. Sparkle and glitter effects can be found in aftermarket phone cases. Pearlescent and interference effects may be used in product casings and rigid consumer packaging. Examples include cosmetics, toiletries and personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gels, hair styling products, skin treatments, moisturisers, and makeup. Fibre and speckle effects achieve a mottled surface, which can offer plastics a more natural-looking appearance, particularly if natural fibres are used. This can work well within larger household applications including chairs, plant pots and bins, as well as items such as kitchen utensils. Sparkle, interference, fluorescent and thermochromic effects may be used in casings and toys, whilst luminescent effects can be used in safety signs. UK masterbatch manufacturer Broadway offers a frosted effect which has been described as the best on the market. This is used in the injection stretch blow moulding of PET bottles. This allows the moulder to achieve a frosted finish, without the need to modify ‘spark’ the moulding tool.

What are the most popular special effects for plastics?

  • Metallic
  • Sparkle
  • Pearlescent
  • Interference
  • Frosted
  • Fibre
  • Speckle
  • Marble
  • Fluorescent
  • Luminescent
  • Thermochromic

Want to create stunning special effects in your plastic mouldings? Contact us today to discuss your specific requirements and discover how our special effect masterbatches can enhance the appearance of your products or packaging.