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NIR-detectable masterbatches also on recyclate basis

One of many solutions for the recycling process: Lifocolor offers NIR-detectable masterbatches for a variety of thermoplastics and on different polymer carriers - also on a recycled basis - which ensure NIR detectability.

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The sortability of used plastics by polymer type and colour is still a challenge for the recycling process. Problems arise in particular with black plastics that are coloured with car-
bon black. NIR-detectable masterbatches, which Lifocolor offers for a variety of thermoplastics, provide a remedy.


Plastic sorting systems operate in the near infrared (NIR) range. Cameras and high-resolution NIR sensors can simultaneously sort plastic fractions from two to twelve millimetres by colour and polymer type. This technology works for all types of plastics.

Formulations with carbon black prevent sorting processes

Polymers containing carbon black, for example, are an exception. Carbon black largely absorbs the radiation emitted by the testing device. This prevents signals from entering the detector of the NIR scanner. The result: The plastic remains unrecognised and the item is sorted incorrectly. Required are colourants that allow NIR reflection through the polymers and thus enable them to be detected.

NIR-detectable masterbatches also on recyclate basis

Lifocolor offers NIR-detectable masterbatches for a variety of thermoplastics and on different polymer carriers - also on a recycled basis - which ensure NIR detectability. The plastic prod-ucts coloured with these masterbatches remain in the recycling cycle, can be sorted automatically without any problems and can visually hardly distinguished from variants coloured with carbon black.

NIR laboratory analysis confirms detection and sorting behaviour

An analysis report by the cyclos-HTP Institute demonstrates a successful identifiability and assured sortability of the Lifocolor masterbatches for polyolefins. The masterbatches can also be developed for food contact applications with the necessary approvals according to 10/2011 EC and FDA.


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