“The overall economic growth continues upward across mature markets,” said Scott Heitzman, global products manager, high performance pigments, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments. “The European market is showing moderate improvement. Emerging markets are flat due mostly to slower grow
th in China. High performance and special effect pigments continue to outrun the economy. This is largely due to color trends. Architectural palettes have taken on harmony and neutral palettes that are soft but colorful.”
According to Heitzman, automotive sport and SUV models are contributing to growth with high performance pigment reds and blues. “Strong fleet sales in the Americas bring volume on saturated primary colors,” he added. “Tri-coat special effect sparkle is supporting the growth in effects. These sectors will continue to outpace the economy. Effects will continue to benefit by the need to differentiate. The ease of use and dependability of high performance pigments will gain share from classical pigments as well as enjoy new use in emerging markets.”
BASF also found that the market continues to grow.
“The North American automotive production recovery continues with a three percent growth rate anticipated for 2014,” said Mike Crosby, transportation segment manager transportation, BASF Industrial Coatings & Plastics Business. “So across the board we are seeing increased demand for pigments. Increased demand is particularly pronounced in our diverse effect pigment lines area where OEMs seek to differentiate their vehicles with new styling’s. As paints with increased use of effects reach the refinish market we anticipate increased demand there as well.”
As China continues to lead the world in auto production, it has emerged as a major consumer of these types of pigments. “China’s emergence as the largest automotive market, along with other Asian Pacific growth, has driven increased regional paint production,” Crosby said. “BASF is meeting the needs of our regional and global customers with additional investments in the Asian Pacific region including investments in China and Korea.“
The emerging markets, China, India and Eastern Europe, are still the markets where per capita gross domestic product is the fastest growing.
“The demand for durable goods, buildings and automotive needs will continue the surge in the sales of special effect and high performance pigments,” Heitzman said.” Sun Chemical and its parent company, DIC, have a strong manufacturing, technical support, sales, and distribution presence in China. We have the capability to supply pigments to global, multi-national and local Chinese coatings customers. Our new logistics platform furthers our commitment to growth in the region.”
Raw materials are increasing, which does create problems for some companies.
BASF makes every effort to avoid passing along increased raw material prices with improved operational efficiency and capacity utilization.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with customers to find ways to mitigate the impact where possible,” Crosby said.
It’s difficult to insulate customers from the rise of raw material costs in today’s volatile global economy.
“Our supply teams monitor the raw material indexes and guide our manufacturing team on process and raw material productivity,” Heitzman said. “We have collaborative sourcing and supply personnel in our facilities around the world. The global reach of Sun Chemical has proven to provide the flexibility and stability to minimize the impact on raw material increases.” Although HPP and special effect pigments are higher in cost, the performance and visual appeal they offer is well worth the investment. “An investment in high performance pigments can yield more in return for our customers than standard pigments,” Heitzman said. “High performance pigments make products that are more appealing to consumers, help businesses become more competitive, grow sales and improve margins.
From a technical standpoint, the most important property exhibited by high performance pigments that distinguishes them from other pigments is their durability in the applications. Some examples of this include light fastness and resistance to chemical attack and high temperatures.
Use of effect pigments allows customers to highlight their products in terms of design and appearance, drawing the end use customer to their lines and providing consumer appeal. In addition, the metallic series of pigments provide functional properties to end use applications such as improved anti-corrosion, thermal stability, and UV reflectance.”
The exterior paint of a vehicle has a considerable impact on consumer impression of a vehicle.
“Higher chroma opaque, transparent and effect pigments create new color spaces that help OEMs differentiate their products and drive sales,” Crosby said. “An incremental cost increase on a single pigment in the price of today’s vehicle is relatively negligible from the consumer perspective. Often a higher chroma effect pigment can be used to deliver reduced loading or greater hiding which generates value in use for our formulating customer.”
Some new products that have been released by Sunchemical are Sunfast Elastomer Black. These low gloss black pigments come with improved jetness for waterborne, solventborne and powder coatings, which impart physical toughness, chemical resistance, and water resistance onto most applications. Made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled rubber, the newest addition to Sun Chemical Performance Pigments’ diverse pigment line utilizes a fine particle size black elastomer pigment that creates an attractive low sheen coating with excellent flow and leveling in thin, smooth finishes. Ideal for coatings on plastic, wood, coil and powder coatings, the new offering is well-suited for use on consumer electronics, automotive interiors, flooring, cabinets, furniture, direct to metal finishe and sound-proofing coatings.
Sun Chemical’s new SunMica Exterior XC is a series of 13 pearlescent special effect pigments specially geared for exterior coatings applications, especially powder coatings. Available in all major colors, including six particle size distributions of pearlescent white, SunMica Exterior XC consists of thin natural mineral mica flakes coated with optical layers of titanium dioxide and/or iron dioxide that have been specially treated to have exceptional outdoor durability. SunMica Exterior XC pigments add depth, shimmer and sparkle, providing unlimited styling possibilities.
Benda-Lutz MAXAL EC are encapsulated pastes for industry-leading chemical resistance and offer state-of-the-art EC encapsulation technology, which add enhanced gassing stability in waterborne paint and provide superior resistance to alkali and acid staining without impacting the optical properties of the base aluminum flake. These pigments can be used for a wide variety of applications including the coating of automotive parts and accessories and outdoor architectural coatings in powder and liquid paints. Sun recently added products to its perylene line. These pigments allow customers to slim their portfolio and retain their ability to color the extremes. This range offers high transparent blue or yellow shade maroons and works in both water and solvent systems. Palomar which is A reddish-blue high performance effect pigment for coatings that can maintain color properties for years under the impact of sunlight and other harsh weather conditions. In addition to strong weather-fastness capabilities, Palomar can be used in both water and solvent systems for OEM, refinish automotive and industrial coatings.
Benda-Lutz SPLENDAL which is known for unsurpassed brilliance, pronounced flop effect, gloss and opacity allows coatings formulators to produce dynamic liquid metal and chrome-like effects. These microscopically thin aluminum platelet suspensions are produced with a unique vapor deposition technology providing smooth flake geometries for the highest level of brilliance and coverage for solvent, water based and energy curable coatings.
BASF has launched several new products recently.
“Last year we launched several high saturation Irgazin organic orange and blue shade reds for extreme conditions for automotive and industrial application,” Crosby said. “Our Lumina Royal line of reduced particle size distribution mica pigments helps automotive stylists in the Blue, Indigo and Aqua shades. Our Glacier line of synthetic mica is also gaining popularity in a range of cosmetic, industrial, and automotive applications. Finally, our silver dollar aluminum flake Paliocrom line is helping to define the next generation of automotive stylings.”
Although HPP and special effect pigment manufacturers remain focused on the automotive and industrial coatings markets to grow their business, they also look to other industries as well.
“Automotive and industrial coatings will remain the foundation for growth of high performance pigments markets, however, growing requirements for stability and functionality will position architectural and building materials for tremendous potential growth,” Heitzman said.
It can be hard to predict specific market trends but BASF recognizes consumers are increasingly seeking customized product features reflecting their unique styles.
“OEM designers recognize this and we will support them with pigments to create unique esthetics, durable performance, and consistent quality,” Crosby said. “The effect pigment technology is still evolving and that is where BASF feels we can help deliver optimum value for our customers.”
Creating new and unique color spaces while meeting stringent weatherability standards remains a core mission of Sun’s development efforts.
“Heat management products including IR reflective and transparent pigments help facilitate passenger comfort while contributing to global sustainability,” Crosby explained. “We confidentially collaborate with numerous and diverse customers to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s coatings. Please contact us on how we can advance your formulations with our passion for chemistry.”