Leading Thai-based plastics producer chooses Datacolor to enhance efficiencies with automated color process

Thermo plastic production plant

In the new global economy, plastics production is more complex than ever, particularly in the area of color. There are new sources of raw materials, developed with environmental concerns in mind; new, performance-enhancing additives such as ultraviolet stabilizers to protect against weathering; and, overall, the push to bring goods to market, better and faster.

Choosing the right color technology can help streamline or eliminate many of these demands – help that reaches all the way to the bottom line, as Pioneer Industries Co, Ltd well knows. Based in Thailand, this leading manufacturer that specializes in injection molding and package printing saved over half a million dollars after implementing color technology from Datacolor.

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Enhancing Efficiencies With Automated Color

Pioneer’s main plastics product lines are bowls, cups, cutlery (i.e., forks and spoons), and trash cans. Their primary customer base was focused in Europe and the Middle East, with approximately 30% of their production targeted for Thailand. When the company decided to target more of the local market, it opted to put in place the latest color technology from Datacolor in their color and production labs. Their goal was twofold: to support the potential increase in production and to maintain their high standards when designing and manufacturing customized molds.

After a careful and extensive review process, Pioneer chose color matching software designed specifically for the plastics industry, Datacolor Match Pigment, and combined it with the Datacolor 650, a top-of-the line spectrophotometer known for ultra precision when measuring color on virtually any type of sample.

Overall, Pioneer was seeking the efficiency achieved by automating color recipe creation. Like many manufactures with a long and successful history, the company had relied on the deep experience of its employees to produce the right color. A master shader, for example, can hand mix pigments and adjust a lab batch for scale up and supplier effects based on his vast color matching expertise. This method, though, has built-in limitations.

As Pioneer’s Assistant Managing Director Mr. Chansak Puengchanchaikul explains: “In the past, when customers needed new colors, they would send a sample to us and we would then mix the colors visually which was time consuming and wasteful and required the presence of a color master to do the formulations.”

Reducing Waste By 600 Tons

Datacolor Match Pigment was developed specifically to bring a deeper level of control when matching colors. The system is designed for efficient, ease-of use, with optimized colorant formulation and ingredient management. Its software accommodates virtually all of the variables that can impact color formulation, including film thickness, opacity and pigment loading. It also allows for additional ingredients and multiple combinations for easy batch correction. Users can match, correct, and scale formulas as well as perform search and evaluation functions from one screen.

Pioneer also was looking to eliminate the potential devastation a color difference can make when it is repeated – and compounded – throughout the production cycle. So the company selected the Datacolor 650 to work in conjunction with Datacolor Match Pigment to capture reference data once a color formula has been selected. This ultra-precise spectrophotometer is designed specifically for lab and production uses where the goal is to severely minimize the influence of any variants when creating a color standard. These can include different lighting under which the color is viewed, different materials (substrates or surfaces) on which the colorant will be produced, or fatigue in the viewer. By adding a premium reference-grade instrument upon which to standardize the colorization process, Pioneer was able to achieve accurate color targets more cost-effectively and quickly than ever before. They now have a single system that is powerful and flexible enough to handle Pioneer’s wide range of applications — transparent and translucent coatings as well as transparent to opaque plastics converting and everything in between.

“With the high accuracy of color matching we now achieve, we get the right recipe within three shots, whether it’s from matching raw plastics or from the recycle. In 2005, we reduced 600 tons of waste. If we are talking about polystyrene, which costs us one USD per kilogram, this means we saved 600,000 USD last year, a significant profit for the company.”

Mr. Chansak Puengchanchaikul

Winning With Superior – and Local – Service

When Pioneer was evaluating color technology suppliers, the kind and quality of support services offered played a large role in their final decision. The company was looking for a true partner, one who could provide everything from start-up help to on-going training and on-site education, and industrial consulting as needed. They were particularly interested if their vendor of choice had service and support technicians in their geographic area.

Datacolor – and its local area agent Color Expert – did not disappoint.

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“After the sale service, Color Expert did a great job! We are very satisfied with their service and support and, definitely, will introduce Color Expert and Datacolor to other companies in the market.”

Mr. Chansak Puengchanchaikul

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