Injection Molding Precision Color Matching on Molded Parts
Protolabs' new color matching system for the Plastic Injection Molding Service allows the development of custom colors on site so that plastic parts in small runs no longer need to be molded in precise colors, saving time.
When a part design is ready, customers can specify which Pantone number they require or simply provide a sample part that can be scanned and color matched. Once a material is selected from 13 available resin combinations, PolyOne’s PINPOINT system creates a liquid formula that is dispensed and mixed before moving to the injection molding press. The material is then fed through the doser and injection molded. The result is parts - in custom colors - in customers’ hands within days versus weeks as it traditionally takes.
“These new color-matching capabilities are a huge leap for the manufacturing industry, one stacked with benefits for our customers who are developing highly tailored products,” said Joel Matthews, global product manager at Protolabs. “With development cycles shrinking to meet the market demand for increased customization, this is yet another tool to help our customers accelerate product launches and streamline supply chains.”
Protolabs, which specializes in on-demand manufacturing, has also recently added new injection molding capabilities to further its position as a single-source supplier from prototyping to production. Along with custom color matching it has launched numerous secondary processes and finishing options to support true end-to-end manufacturing. These include pad printing and laser engraving, threaded inserts, mold texturing for Mold-Tech finishes, and part assembly. “All of these new capabilities are things that our customers have wanted for a while, so we’re excited to finally be able to offer it to them - while still delivering finished parts at industry-leading speeds,” said Matthews.