Black specks/streaks and impurities are the most important factors that lead to rejects in the normal production process. It mainly affects the appearance of the product and leads to scrap. Most of the impurities and black specks are usually caused by foreign substances, i.e., they have nothing to do with the raw material itself. Only a small portion of the black specks and impurities are caused by the raw material itself.
Black specks and impurities are characterized by small dark brown particles, which generally do not reflect light. When the particles are large, the impurities are layered, brittle, fragile and porous after being broken. Some of them are irregularly scattered on the whole, some are scattered randomly in local parts, and some only occasionally appear in a local area.
Impurities are divided into two major categories, the ones formed before and during the molding process:
Black Specks & Impurities Formed before Molding:
1. Due to various reasons, foreign substances are not cleaned during the processing of the raw material, leading to black specks on the raw material;
2. Impure granulation causes black specks;
3. The raw material is mixed with color masterbatch or speckled crushed blocks and scraps;
4. Impure material – low melting-point material is mixed with high melting-point material;
5. Impurities may be mixed in during packaging, transportation and storage, of which, the obvious feature is that after the raw materials are unpacked, you can see that there are foreign matters and impurities on the surface of the material pellets if you observe carefully;
6. Impurities and foreign substances during material feeding;
7. Carbonization of raw materials
With regard to carbonization of raw materials, the black specks are generally larger in volume, and the largest ones may reach 1-2mm in diameter. Most of the “black specks” are thicker, but there are also thinner ones consisting of one or two layers. This is usually caused by long-term raw material storage, or that the raw material is locally overheated, leading to decomposition, coking, and carbonization into agglomerates. It is formed after the material is crushed by shearing when flowing through the screw or the nozzle.
Causes of Material Carbonization:
1. The melt temperature is too high. If the temperature of the material is too high, it will cause decomposition and form carbides. Especially for some heat-sensitive materials with a very narrow temperature range, the temperature of the barrel must be kept moderate.
2. Material coking: If the molten plastic stays in a certain place for too long a time, coking will occur, thus causing black speck. The areas that may cause material retention include joints between the nozzle and the barrel, the barrel wall, the melt ring, the connection between the nozzle and the gate, the corner of the hot runner, and the dead corner in the sprue, etc.
3. The barrel clearance is too large – the gap between the barrel and the screw is too large, which will cause the material to stay in the barrel, and the retained material will decompose after long-term overheating, thus leading to black specks.
4. Additives discolor due to degradation and decomposition. Additives include antistatic agents, violet / infrared absorbers and general dyes. Their properties are generally more active than the raw material. Under the action of the shearing force at the processing temperature, they have already been decomposed into dark, brown, and even black colors, presented as black specks and impurities after plastic injection molding.
Black specks and impurities due to external causes are very common in production, and they are very stubborn after occurring.
1. The mold material is not good, with iron powders falling off the parting surface, the molding surface or the kiss-off surface, thus causing black specks.
2. The ejector pin is rough and easy to burn, causing iron powders to fall off and thereby the black specks.
3. The slider generates iron powders, leading to black speck.
4. The slider rusts or generates other stains due to water leakage inside the slider, which are thrown out by slider movement, and black speck are caused when they fall onto the product.
Distinguish the Black Specks:
If the black speck appear on both the entire product surface and in the depth of the part, they should be formed before injection molding; if the black specks only appear on the surface, they should be formed during injection molding. If at the same time they are only distributed in a specific area of the surface, it is undoubtedly that they are black specks formed during the injection molding process; if the black speck are large (generally 0.5- 1mm), it should be caused by material carbonization; if they are also dark, brittle and porous, it can be confirmed that they are caused by carbonization: if the black specks are particularly dense and the raw material is checked for no obvious impurities, it is usually caused because the previous material is not immediately cleaned before the material change, otherwise the material should be looked into to identify the reason.
1. For impurities in a molded product, black specks are caused due to foreign substances mixed in the raw material, so the cleanliness of all the links, including production, packaging, storage, transportation, unpacking, material mixing and the barrel, must be strictly controlled.
2. For black specks caused by carbonization, the injection temperature should be strictly controlled.
3. Usually, for the black speck caused by additive degradation or the ones caused by the existing carbonized materials deposited on the screw surface and the screw barrel wall, they can be removed from the original location into the molten material under various strong shearing effects in the screw barrel during the production process. The “removal” is a process in which black specks and impurities appear in the product. When changing materials or colors, if this impurity “removal” process is inevitable, we must try our best to minimize it, i.e., “cleaning.”