Coatings World: Silver consistently tops the list of most popular colors for automotive. Are there any colors that are catching up to silver?
Dr. Aaron Hollman, global product manager effect pigments, performance pigments, Sun Chemical: Silver has enjoyed the top spot in automotive coatings for the past decade. It is difficult to predict how long this trend will continue because color popularity varies by region. Growing demand for cars in emerging markets will certainly have an impact on future trends. Fortunately for aluminum manufacturers, consumers in China, Brazil and India seem to enjoy the sophisticated look of silver.
Coatings World: What about end-use applications? Where is the strongest demand for metallic pigments coming from? Are there any up and coming application areas to note?
Hollman: Industrial and automotive coating applications show the strongest demand for metallic pigments. Emerging areas are consumer coil coating, architectural paint, digital ink and securities.
Coatings World: What are your customers looking for in terms of new effects and styling options and what technologies have you developed to answer their needs?
Hollman: Our customers are always looking for finer, brighter aluminum pigments. This has certainly been a primary area of focus of our R&D department. Another area of focus has been to improve the functional properties of larger particle size aluminums. Some of our new encapsulation technologies allow formulators to enjoy the sparkle, brilliance, and travel of large flakes while providing the hiding power and shear stability of smaller flakes.
Coatings World: What are some challenges from a technical perspective when dealing with metallic pigments, and what advances has your R&D lab introduced?
Hollman: Sun Chemical recognizes the importance of developing technologies geared towards sustainability. One key technical challenge with aluminum pigments is long-term stability in aqueous systems. Our new SunMetallics HydraCirc technology provides heavy metal-free passivation while maintaining the optical properties of the base aluminum flake. This new platform will allow our customers to develop brilliant metallic finishes using more environmentally-friendly aqueous systems.
Coatings World: How did the metallic pigments market fare in 2010 compared to years past, and what are expectations for 2011 and beyond? How do you see the market evolving in the years ahead? What will be the market drivers?
Hollman: The overall metallic pigments market rebounded in 2010 from the crisis burdened prior year. Sun Chemical has seen excellent growth for metallic pigments sales in the first part of 2011 and we are cautiously optimistic that the general economic conditions will remain stable and that this upward trend will continue. We believe that we are well positioned for long-term sustainable growth in effect pigments.
Coatings World: What would you say is the greatest challenge to operating in the metallic pigments market and why?
Hollman: The most important trend impacting the metallic pigments market is that raw material, labor and solvent costs have all increased significantly in 2010. Increasing raw material and conversion costs require Sun Chemical to not only innovate in terms of new product platforms and technologies, but also to innovate in terms of process and raw material productivity. The uncertain stability of the current market makes it essential that we focus our resources on projects that deliver the most value to our customers. At Sun Chemical, we are dedicated to delivering quality, service and innovation to our customers.
Coatings World: How are the high-growth markets around the world impacting business in the metallic pigments market?
Hollman: The high-growth markets provide an outstanding opportunity for growth. In general, the growing middle-class in these regions provides vast growth potential for all types of consumer products. For example, China has emerged as a dominant player in the automotive sector and has as a result, created significant demand for metallic effects for topcoats, trim and interior components.
Sun Chemical Performance Pigments introduces new pigment technology
With customers looking for more color options, special effects and sustainable solutions, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments recently introduced new products that can meet sustainability needs, maintain high color strength, provide more special effects and give added durability in a variety of harsh conditions in the automotive, industrial, waterborne and architectural coatings markets.
One example is the SunMetallics line of non-leafing aluminum flake pigments for use in solventborne industrial and OEM coating applications. The product portfolio includes cornflake and silver dollar pigments over a broad particle size range to allow for formulation of coatings with excellent hiding power to brilliant metallic effects and excellent color travel.
At the recent European Coatings Show Sun Chemical Performance Pigments expanded the SunMetallics aluminum pigment product line with a new encapsulation technology that stabilizes aluminum flake pigments for use in waterborne formulations. The new encapsulation technology provides outstanding stability in aqueous systems without detracting from the optical qualities of the aluminum flake, giving the metallic look customers desire in paint formulas, which are inherently more environmentally-friendly.
Paint manufacturers looking for pigment dispersions with high color strength, excellent light fastness, and compliance with the latest environmentally-friendly standards required by European legislation, can now use Sun Chemical Performance Pigments’ Sunsperse ECO aqueous pigment dispersions for waterborne emulsion architectural paints. The nine-color range developed for the in-plant production of ready mixed colors, is APEO-free, VOC-free and resin-free.
Car manufacturers and coatings formulators can expand their color portfolio with Sun Chemical Performance Pigments’ Palomar Alpha Blue 60, a reddish blue high performance effect pigment for coatings that can maintain its color properties for years under the impact of sunlight and other harsh weather conditions. Alpha Blue 60 can be used in both water and solvent systems for OEM, refinish automotive and industrial coatings.
Engineered for use in both solvent-based and water-based coatings applications, Sun Chemical’s 228-6782 Quindo Violet 55 pigment is a bluer shade quinacridone never before seen on the market. With a hue closer to C.I. PV-23 and bluer than C.I. PV-29 and C.I. PV-19 violets, the unique color shade expands the color gamut for styling and exhibits high transparency and an attractive neutral flop.
Sun Chemical Performance Pigments also introduced weather resistant grades to its SunGEM pearlescent effect pigment line originally introduced in 2009. This latest extension of the SunGEM range now makes this portfolio of products applicable to the automotive industry and other exterior coatings formulations.
SunGEM pigments expand the color gamut with 10 shades of bold and brilliant pearlescent colors with intense high chroma, exceptional hiding, and brilliant sparkle. In addition, the magnetic properties of SunGEM pigments allow for coatings with three-dimensional effects with unmatched visual allure.
The SunGEM pearlescent effect pigments line comes in 10 bold new color shades, including: Light Silver, Gold/Taupe Interference, Orange, Deep Violet, Rich Blue, Gold/Turquoise Interference, Green, Rich Gold/Green Interference, Dark Silver and Cherry Red.