Silicone can be made into a variety of different colors to achieve a custom color to enhance your product’s appearance. At SiTech, we employ a tracking and recordkeeping procedure during every stage of the process that helps to ensure the color desired is achieved with accurate, repeatable results. In recent years, innovations in technology have aided in providing a more reliable process in the mixing and matching of silicone pigments and inks.
The subtractive color model is the model used in the mixing of pigments and inks and natural colorants to create a wide range of colors. The colors are created by subtracting (absorbing) wavelengths of light and reflecting others. Red, yellow and blue are the standard set of primary colors used in the production of pigments. The secondary colors, violet (mixing blue and red), orange (mixing red and yellow) and green (mixing blue and yellow), make up another triad. Combinations of different amounts of these pigments produce an array of color options.
At SiTech, tracking procedures are very important to the successful blending of custom silicone colors. The initial purchase of base/primary colors are tested and recorded. Each time a color or colors are used in custom rubber molding projects, it is recorded to produce a formula. All formulas produced are tested by mixing them with liquid silicone rubber and curing them. That sample piece is then tested using a spectrophotometer to be within one Delta-E of desired color. That exceeds industry standards, and is too minute for the human eye to decipher.
The process of mixing different base colors to achieve a desired color is a meticulous science in custom rubber molding. A formula is used listing each pigment needed and the precise weight to acquire the tight tolerances required for accuracy. The pigments are then mixed together in a controlled clean environment to avoid contamination. Adjustments can be made during this process to hone in on the desired color. When a formula is finalized and approved, it is recorded and signed off on to begin full production. The formula is retained for the life of the product to ensure accurate reproduction. Colors can be matched to existing products for a seamless transition of production. Translucent pigments can also be made in a variety of colors to give the final colored product a backlit option.
Silicone pigments are also used to make spray coatings for coloring silicone parts. Spray coatings are useful when you want to customize your product and have it stand out. An option with sprays is to mold a product clear and spray the desired color for the final product. A laser is used to then etch out any number of designs so that the product can be backlit Light shines through the etched out area.
Silicone pigments are manufactured using the same silicone polymers as liquid silicone rubber. They do not affect the viscosity, cure time or shrinkage of the product being produced. As little as 1 percent can be used to color parts being molded. Silicone pigment and inks that haven’t had a catalyst added don’t cure at room temperature. This gives them a long shelf life and outstanding performance. All together, this adds up to a finished product that has a consistent and accurate color with repeatable results. For all of your custom colors needs, you can rely on the experience and expertise that SiTech can offer.