Brian Moon, Engineering Manager
The following blog post regarding Norix Furniture’s color compounding process was written by Engineering Manager Brian Moon.
So you’ve found a furniture company and visited its website. You’ve picked out your product and selected your color. And if you picked red, you expect the color of the furniture to be a true representation of the color selection you made – whether from a swatch or color wheel.
Unfortunately, color is not always as rich as it appears online or in print, especially when companies use inferior processes when manufacturing their furniture. To ensure our furniture isn’t delivered to you with streaks, speckles or other color disruption, Norix uses its TruColor™ method of coloration when it produces rotomolded products made with polyethylene. It’s not brain surgery, but there is definitely some science at work here.
But before we discuss the benefits of TruColor™, it’s important to understand rotational molding. This is the process of creating one-piece products by using a hollow mold that is filled with polyethylene, nylon, polycarbonate or some other material that is then heated and rotated.
The material melts and bonds to the inside of the mold and is then removed once it is cool enough to retain its shape. The process has been around for decades and is used to make kayaks, playground equipment, storage containers, furniture and many other items that require high levels of durability.
For example, the materials we use to rotationally mold our Forté™ chairs include polyethylene, the colorant, flame retardants and other additives that enhance the product. But here’s the what makes us different: We don’t just throw all of those materials in the mold and hope that the color is consistent throughout the product.
At Norix, an important additional step is conducted beforehand where we first mix and melt all of these materials, making them homogenized and completely infused. The material is then extruded and chopped into small pellets with a die, then pulverized into powder before being placed in the mold.
Compounded material (left) vs. material that is just dumped into a mold.
That means every particle of the product contains equal amounts polyethylene and coloring, along with all of the other additives, which creates full and even coloring. Many other companies don’t use this process – known as color compounding. Instead they dump their materials into the mold, skipping the important compounding process, which produces a speckling effect since all of these materials are hitting and sticking to the mold walls in an inconsistent manner.
With this inferior method you will most likely see specks all over the product since the coloring, additives and polyethylene are different colors. Imagine baking a cake without first mixing the ingredients and you might begin to understand why color compounding produces much more aesthetically pleasing and consistent results.
So what are all of the advantages of our TruColor™ color compounding?
- Consistent, full color throughout the entire piece of furniture
- No speckling or mottling since the material is already homogenized before it is rotomolded
- Every particle has the same amount of polyethylene, which ensures there is a consistency in strength throughout the product
- The flame retardant is spread evenly throughout the product, making the furniture safer and secure
- All other performance additives are consistently dispersed as well, making it a superior product
Norix’s Forté™ Guest Chairs in Lagoon.
Color is important, and research tells us so. Facilities that have historically been institutional in nature are now changing the way they see their spaces and are using color to help with the rehabilitation process and provide positive reactions from those who are housed, work and/or use these facilities.
On the other hand, logic tells us that the outcome of these initiatives will only be successful if quality products with vibrant, full hues are used through color compounding. Like Henry Ford once said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” And we couldn’t agree more. But just remember: They will be looking.