High-Performance and Special Effect Pigments

By Kerry Pianoforte | August 10, 2005

These technologies can give your coatings serious punch.

High-performance and special effect pigments are being used on a variety of surfaces from automobiles and house exteriors to refrigerators and stoves. As newly developed technology continues to push the envelope in terms of performance and aesthetic value of coatings, the demand for special effect and high-performance pigments will continue to expand. Because of the added costs associated with these types of pigments, manufacturers must carefully consider whether the benefits will outweigh the added cost. Will the pigment perform as expected? Is it easily formulated into the application? And ultimately, is it worth the money?

"Picking a pigment for a particular application is a multi-dimensional decision," said William Baker, director of new business development, NAFTA, coatings business line, coating effects business segment, Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

Ciba has recently introduced two new products with high-performance characteristics, Ciba Irgazin orange 2038 and Ciba Irgazin yellow 2094. Mr. Baker said these products offer high-performance characteristics, at mid-performance prices from the diketo-pyrrolo-pyrrole (DPP) and bismuth vanadate families. The Irgazin 2000 range combines high performance with high value-in-use for industrial applications, according to Mr. Baker.

Specialty pigments are used on everything from building exteriors to household appliances.

"These two pigments were developed with the formulator in mind to give that person the greatest flexibility," said Mr. Baker. "Value is paramount, and it is this value that the formulator needs to consider."

One market segment that relies on high-performance pigments is the automotive industry. Coatings suppliers and their customers are continuously looking to develop new eye-catching colors for vehicles that will be able to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. Pigment suppliers are rising to meet these demands with a variety of pigments with high performance characteristics.

Heubach Colour in India has completed a full range of high performance green and blue organic pigments during the last 12 months. Several automotive quality phthalocyanine greens (PG 7 and PG 36) and indanthrone blues (PB 60) have been developed and manufactured at Heubach's organic pigment complex in Ankleshwar, India, said Don McBride, COO Heucotech.

A further addition to Heubach's color palette for the automotive industry was achieved when it acquired the mixed metal oxide business from Bayer. "This series of high performance inorganic blues, yellows, browns, greens and blacks perfectly complements our Heucodur product range with high temperature stable, chemical resistant and lightfast pigments," said Mr. McBride.

Engelhard Corporation's latest offering is a new line of products called Synergy pigments. According to Roland Valin, marketing and technical sales manager for colors at Engelhard, Synergy color pigments deliver cost-reduction to customers while maintaining the essential physical properties found in the pigment the coating manufacturer might currently be using.

Ease of use is very important when considering using a high-performance pigment and Engelhard has taken this into consideration. "Often, a formulator can take out the pigment being used in the current formulation and replace it with Synergy pigment, reducing formulation costs without losing coating properties," said Mr. Valin. "In many cases the Synergy pigments offer improved properties."

Kerry Pianoforte, Associate Editor

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