Clariant, Charlotte, N.C., has just opened a new rotational molding laboratory and prototype-development cell at its Toronto facility. It is designed to replicate ‘real work’ production conditions at leading rotational molders, providing customers with prototypes of color-matched, multi-textured products in just five-to-seven days.
The new equipment will facilitate rapid development of rotational molded parts, allowing customers to collaborate with Clariant technicians to:
• test critical properties and performance of a wide range of dry and liquid colorants, additives, and process aids for resins such as LLDPE, LDPE, HDPE, MDPE, and plastisols;
• evaluate part color characteristics across a range of surface structures and textures and wall thicknesses;
• validate the compatibility and scalability of customized color solutions with the customer’s end process; and,
• quickly perform part color confirmation and, potentially, accelerate the process of part approval with scalable solutions that reduce or eliminate the need for extensive production trials at the end-molder.
The rotational molding system is equipped with an automated shuttle arm that supports two clamshell-style molds. Several different molds are available to replicate common part configurations with various surface textures including smooth, matte and rough. The oven is powered by natural gas. Says Peter Prusak, head of marketing for Clariant Mastebatches NA, “The unique characteristics of the rotational molding process makes it impossible to achieve precise and scalable color-matching solutions with simulations using injection molding or extrusion. Even the oven fuel makes a difference: Gas is real-world rotational molding. Most rotational molders use gas, not electric ovens—which do not simulate a real-world experience.”