Black colorants for automotive composite applications

November 24, 2015

Choosing a black colorant for your automotive application requires more than a black-and-white approach.
As you think about color, there are a lot of questions: What type of colorant is needed? How will the shade of black actually appear? Do I need a high-performance black pigment dispersion?
For this reason, any discussion about colorants for automotive composite applications should begin with a phone call to your colorant supplier, whose experts can help you consider the key variables in your colorant selection and identify black pigment dispersions that deliver the desired result for your customers. They will also work with you to answer the five questions that help determine which black colorant will meet your automotive requirements.

1. What chemistries will be utilized to produce the part?
It is vital for your colorant supplier to thoroughly understand the chemistries used to develop your end product. That information allows your colorant supplier to home in on the colorant carrier chemistry that is most compatible with the end product, promoting easier incorporation and ensuring the colorant does not detrimentally affect the product’s structural integrity.

2. What shade of black colorant do I require for my automotive application?
Black colorants can exhibit blue shades under various light sources whereas others may exhibit a yellow or brown cast.  The hue depends on the grade of carbon black. If your application requires precise coloring, discuss the characteristics of undertones with your supplier.

3. What manufacturing process will be used?
Help your colorant supplier select a colorant with the ideal viscosity characteristics for your manufacturing process by sharing details about equipment, workflows and processes. Tell your supplier if the colorant will be poured or pumped. Also consider potential process modifications that you may implement in the future. If you intend to alter the method in which you introduce color into the production process in the near future that could affect the type of black colorant selected. Product modification is costly, so whenever possible, choose colorants that you know will align with your production processes for the foreseeable future.

4. What are the testing requirements?
Will your final product require testing related to lightfastness, fogging or structural integrity? Specific testing protocols can impact the types of black pigments and chemicals used in the colorant. It’s a discussion you need to have with your colorant supplier early in the components design and planning stages.

5. Where will the product be made?
Where a colorant is initially evaluated and where it will actually be used in production are often different locations. Certain products may not be available in all regions of the world due to region-specific environmental regulations or lack of local raw material supply. Share your production location with your colorant supplier to ensure supply capability is taken into account when selecting the optimal product.

Work together with your colorant supplier to answer these questions and ensure that you are using the right black colorant for your automotive composite application.

Chromaflo Technologies is a leading provider of high quality colorant technologies for automotive composite applications. Contact us at (440) 997-5137 to discuss your colorant requirements.

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