Dyes lend color to the things we consume. The foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and even the keyrings that separate your bunch all have a splash of dye added. Historically, colors were extracted from the natural world, but that process has been replaced by processing technology. Dye manufacturing equipment produces colors that are high in definition and consistency.
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Combine the base chemicals in a reactor
Dyes are born in a reactor. A colorless chemical substance – a chromogen – is synthesized with a light-absorbing molecule – a chromophore. Chromogens such as benzene, naphthalene, and anthracene are safe for application in consumer products.
Chromophores range from carbon and nitrogen acids to azo compounds and sulfur acids. The combination of chromogens and chromophores produces the chemical classification that makes dye manufacturing repeatable.
Synthesize dye chemicals with additives to build substrate affinity
Dyes are distinct from pigments because they are soluble. While the latter remains in particle or crystalline form, dyes are designed to attach to other materials.
To develop this substrate affinity, the chromogen-chromophore combination is reacted with a class of atoms like amine, hydroxyl, and carboxyl. These auxochromes provide a higher affinity for the substrate than water, so the colorants are retained after the material is dried off.
Adjust dye manufacturing for wet and light fastness
Besides affinity, different dye classifications modify the wet and light fastness of colorants. Vat dyes, for example, include an insoluble complex of molecules to resist fading in water. One of the most popular dyes made with this process is indigo.
Acid dyes, on the other hand, do not hold particularly well in washing. But the sulfuric acid dyestuff makes them sufficiently light fast and are often used for dyeing textiles like wool and silk.
Separate the dye mixture from the solvent under vacuum filtering
Once the dye is chemically composed, the production process shifts to its physical attributes. Filter the dye mixture from solvents using a vacuum filter and purify the solution by chromatography or distillation.
The color ingredient is now isolated, but the production line involves more dye manufacturing equipment to standardize the end product. Treat the purified mixture to high temperatures to reduce moisture content. Finally, grind the dry material in a ball mill or roller mill to produce a homogeneous particle size.