The typical offline color measurement on injection molded or pressed specimens is a very expensive and time-consuming process. In order to optimize the productivity and quality, it is desirable to measure the color already during the production. Therefore several systems have been developed to monitor the color e.g. on melts, strands, pellets, the extrudate or injection molded part already during the process. Different kinds of inline, online and atline methods with their respective advantages and disadvantages will be compared. The criteria are e.g. the testing time, which ranges from real-time to some minutes, the required calibration procedure, the spectral resolution and the final measuring precision. The latter ranges between 0.05 to 0.5 in the CIE L*a*b* system depending on the particular measurement system. Due to the high temperatures in typical plastics processes thermochromism of polymers and dyes has to be taken into account. This effect can influence the color value in the magnitude of some 10% and is barely understood so far. Different suitable methods to compensate thermochromic effects during compounding or injection molding by using calibration curves or artificial neural networks are presented. Furthermore it is even possible to control the color during extrusion and compounding almost in real-time. The goal is a specific developed software for adjusting the color recipe automatically with the final objective of a closed-loop control.

This content is only available via PDF.