Plastics plays important role in daily life from food package to engineering parts in aerospace industry, and it has become one of the most important industrial sectors. Plastics provides people with light industry materials, synthetic fibers and products with special function. With the increasing demand for plastics, the needs for colorants also grow.
Plastic products can be divided into three groups: general purpose plastics, engineering plastics and special function engineering plastics. They are mainly used in the following sectors:home appliance, packaging, building materials, automobiles, agriculture area, energy industry, aerospace industry and marine industry. With the wide range of applications and big market of the downstream plastic products, the development of colorants, pigments and master batch industry is also rapid. The average growth rate of plastic industry in recent years is 5.2%, with an amount of 370billion USD.
Among all the plastic products, five types are mostly used:PE,PP,PVC,PS and ABS. PE(polyethylene) is the top general purpose plastic resin, which accounts for 52% of ethylene production. PE has three categories, which are high density PE, low density PE, and linear low density PE. The different properties of PE are closely related to its molecular weight distribution, melt index and density. In general, it has good physical properties and chemical stability. Different plastic products can be produced with different molding equipment and processing methods. Films are the main PE products.
PP(Polypropylene) is another general purpose plastic resin product that appears often in our life. 50% of the global propylene output are used to produce PP.And among general purpose thermoplastic resin, PP has the fastest growth. And it mainly processed into plastic injection products, plastic package bags and films.
PVC(Polyvinyl Chloride) ranks second in thermoplastic resin. The value of PVC is that it can provide transparency and higher strength at less cost. PVC can be processed into hard products with high hardness and high strength, and it can also be made into soft products by adding plasticizers. The main application is pipe, packaging material, cables, wires and synthetic leathers etc.
Besides the above three plastic resin products, PS and ABS are the other two big categories. PS has high light transmittance and are mainly use in optical industry. ABS has been widely applied in electrical, machinery, automobile , and other manufacturing industry.
With the above wide application of plastics, the market demand of pigments are various. As the colorants, master batch and pigments are in large demand in the plastics industry. With year’s development, the requirements on the processing condition and coloring technology are higher than before, as the quality of colorants will influence on the final quality of plastic products. The pigment industry is also improving their technology to catch up with the new demand from plastic industry.