Lanxess develops new dye that increases safety under the hood

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 19 Nov 2021


Macrolex Orange HT dye is increasingly being used to mark live cables in electric and hybrid vehicles as well as components for high-voltage applications. (Image: Lanxess AG)

Specialty chemicals company Lanxess has developed a new colorant that can be used to permanently colour polyamides (PA) and other plastics with the RAL 2003 shade of orange. The soluble organic dye Macrolex Orange HT is highly heat-stable, light fast and weather resistant and offers outstanding color strength and brilliance.

Lanxess says that unlike most conventional dyes, Macrolex Orange HT is ideal for not only PA but also other common plastic types such as polycarbonate (PC) or polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), which, due to their high processing temperatures, normally pose a challenge for colorants. The new halogen-free colorant offers consistently high quality and high-precision coloration (dE ≤ 0.7), which is particularly important for orange shades. A colour difference of dE<1 cannot usually be perceived by the human eye. In addition, the new “high-voltage orange” from LANXESS is cost-efficient thanks to its high colour strength.

“We have already extensively tested our new products under realistic conditions. In cooperation with Lanxess’s High Performance Materials business unit, we coloured compounds with Macrolex Orange HT at the plastics technical centre in Dormagen and tested them for their suitability in plastics processing,” says Dr. Lars May, head of Application Technology Plastics in the Polymer Additives business unit at Lanxess.

In addition to high-voltage applications, Macrolex Orange HT can also be used to colour other high-quality plastic products such as housings for tools and other electronic devices as well as technical plastics for vehicle parts and structural applications.

Signal colour warns of potential danger
Vehicles with electric drives are naturally exposed to higher voltages and currents than combustion engines. Voltages of up to 400 V DC in the battery circuit and up to 1000 V AC in the engine circuit are possible, with AC voltages exceeding 42 V and DC voltages exceeding 60 V already considered potentially life-threatening.

This is why the live components of an electric drive are colored bright orange so that they can be quickly and easily identified. As a result, the new Macrolex Orange HT product helps to reduce the risk of accidents during the handling of electric motors.

The dyes in Lanxess’s Macrolex range allow a diverse range of potential applications and offer excellent compatibility with a large number of polymer types and manufacturing processes. They also meet numerous legal requirements for use in food packaging or children’s toys.

The range of colorants offered by the Polymer Additives business unit comprises around 150 products and, in addition to Macrolex-brand colorants, a range of pigments and pigment preparations for use in a wide range of demanding applications.