ColorForward goes high-tech for 2016

She says Morphotonix was very helpful in getting the prototypes tooling completed in a compressed time frame. "We are grateful that Morphotonix made such an effort to help us meet these objectives, and we are definitely talking about collaborating more in the future."

Trumpf Group, the global manufacturer of industrial lasers and metal-fabricating equipment, through its Asia Pacific subsidiary in Singapore, partnered with Clariant to demonstrate the potential of laser-marking on a chip representing one of the colors in the Love trend theme.

Lasers were used to create a complex circuit-board-like pattern on a white chip called My New Soulmate. The surface decoration also includes a small reproduction of the ColorWorks duck, along with the words "In- Between Technology." This image has several connotations: first, the Love theme (with the word "love" spelled graphically with a Wi-Fi symbol in place of the 'o') acknowledges the ways in which technology is creating new connections between people. The duck also symbolizes the in-between positioning of Clariant ColorWorks, which seeks to bring the aesthetic side of plastics design into harmony with the technical side of polymer coloration.

"Laser marking is a highly versatile process," says Norzihan Aziz, Head of ColorWorks and Color Communication Asia Pacific, who coordinated Trumpf's efforts on ColorForward 2016. Electric toothbrushes, telephone keypads, switches, push buttons, silicon chips – almost any product, in fact – could be marked in fine detail using lasers. The surface of a plastics part can be made to change color when subjected to laser light or thin outer layers of multilayer parts can be removed to reveal the layer underneath or to allow light transmission. Lasers can be used to melt microscopic areas of plastic parts to create tiny gas bubbles that diffuse light so those areas appear distinctly different from unaffected areas. The ColorForward chip was molded with Clariant's CESA - laser additive masterbatch, which enhances the markability of the polymer.

"The My New Soulmate chip gave Clariant and TRUMPF the opportunity to demonstrate both creativity and technology," says Aziz. "They were very professional and cooperative. As an equipment supplier, Trumpf would not normally have the resources to mark the 900 chips we needed, but they dedicated a technical sales representative who did the work personally and completed the project on time."


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