UK- based Union Colours has invested in the sustainability of its manufacturing, environmentally and for cost “We keep developing pigments which meet the regulatory requirements and we make sure that we will have a broad portfolio available to our customers after May 2018 when the final stage of REACh comes into effect,” said Oliver Pfefferkorn, sales director at Union Colours. “Last but not least we are building a new production facility in South Africa which will be focusing on clean pigments for various applications.”
Heubach reports that is evaluating opportunities for reduction of energy consumption and exploring ways to utilize less heavy metals such as lead. “We are constantly working to reduce energy and water consumption at our facilities,” said Robert Poemer, business unit leader at Heucotech. “IR reflecting pigments which support heat management of buildings and save energy are one of our sustainable product lines. In addition, we are offering a broad portfolio of zinc-free anticorrosive pigments. Customers are looking for high quality products fulfilling increasingly restricting regulatory requirements at reasonable pricing. At the same time consistency and supply are important as well.”
Cathay Industries has responded to the market's demand for sustainability improvements both in product and process development. EnvironOxides from their Hoover Color division produces transparent iron oxides during the reclamation of acidic mine drainage. While their Tongling- China Iron Oxide facility utilized waste from titanium dioxide production and in turn passes on their nitrate waste for the production of fertilizers. “As recognized by EcoVadis, Cathay Industries strives to be the market leader in sustainability,” said Charles Hoover of Cathay Industries.
“Quinacridone pigments based on renewable raw materials are part of our commitment to sustainability and our commitment to future generations,” said Dr. Stefan Ohren, head of product management high performance Polycyclic Pigments, Clariant Plastics & Coatings. “As an example we promote our ‘Pink going Green’ as Clariant uses renewable raw materials to create bio-based high performance quinacridone pigments for automotive, industrial and decorative coatings applications. Hostaperm Pink E (Pigment Red 122), one of Clariant's most important polycyclic pigments based on renewable bio-succinic acid, represents Clariant's switch to renewable raw material without changes in the product quality and the guaranteed specification.”
“We are seeing trends toward highly durable, sustainable and cost-effective coatings solutions,” said Thomas Metz, head of technical marketing, Clariant Plastics & Coatings. “Additionally, we see more requests for coatings to offer additional functionality like head management or scratch resistance, which are properties far beyond the pure protective and esthetic function of a coating. Our R&D work is focused on cost-effective and innovative products that fit current coatings trends. Our recently launched Easily Dispersible pigment product line, bio-based quinacridone pigments, and pigment dispersions for UV coatings or super-transparent, high-end industrial coatings underline our efforts toward economic and sustainable solutions. We are currently working on techniques to improve the performance properties of pigments, such as durability, to increase the range of application possibilities for existing products.”
The Inorganic Pigments business unit of specialty chemicals company LANXESS is the world's largest manufacturer of iron oxides and a leading producer of inorganic pigments based on chrome oxides. “Sustainable practices and Responsible Care vis-à-vis the environment and society are an integral part of LANXESS’s corporate guidelines,” said Stephan Spiegelhauer, head of Global Competence Center Paint and Coatings, Inorganic Pigments Business Unit, Lanxess. “Production processes have always been designed to be safe and sustainable, to conserve resources and the environment, and they are subject to continuous improvement.”
One example is Lanxess’ new production plant in Ningbo, China. Here, the newly developed Ningbo Process is being used for the first time. This innovative technology allows high-quality red iron oxide pigments – the so-called New Reds – to be manufactured in an environmentally friendly way.
“Traditionally in China the Penniman Red process is used for the production of yellow-shade red iron oxides,” said Spiegelhauer. “However, we decided against the traditional Penniman Red process, because it in no way meets our principles of eco-friendly and sustainable production. We therefore developed our own process that sets new standards worldwide in sustainable iron oxide production.
“Not only is it the first to integrate comprehensive waste gas treatment to remove nitrogen oxide, including extremely harmful nitrous oxide emissions, the sophisticated control system for the entire process significantly reduces the generation of harmful waste gases from the outset, during the pigment formation reaction,” he continued. “The remaining waste gases are converted back into nitric acid in a complex system and then returned to the process as a raw material. Furthermore, the combination of process optimizations, modern plant technology and heat recovery significantly reduced the energy requirement. Thanks to a very efficient water treatment system incorporating biological denitrification, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis, the process water can be returned almost entirely to the cycle. Apart from the environmental protection measures, the Ningbo process also differs from traditional Penniman Red production because it incorporates precision-controlled management of the formation reaction, altered synthesis of the starting materials for pigment formation, and a special sequence for the individual production steps. Furthermore, the process integrates elements of the precipitation process with sodium hydroxide in order to achieve the highest possible pigment quality.”
For Sun Chemical, there are several facets that encompass sustainability, including renewable raw materials, new environmentally-friendly technologies and responsible manufacturing. Sun Chemical strives to meet the demands of customers for sustainable solutions by utilizing all three of these approaches.
Sun Chemical’s 2015 Sustainability Report released in April 2016 highlights multiple examples of ways that suppliers are contributing to Sun Chemical’s environmental footprint. Six case studies from the report show how Sun Chemical’s balanced scorecard approach is used to evaluate its suppliers’ environmental performance, helping to ensure that suppliers remain vigilant in developing new technology that reduces the overall environmental footprint of their products.
From a new product perspective, Sun Chemical introduced Benda-Lutz COMPAL WS VOC-free, highly concentrated aluminium preparations for coatings and inks in 2016. This new technology enables customers to use the same product for waterborne, UV and high solids coating chemistries by providing broad compatibility that is optimized for long-term gassing stability in aqueous environments. Additionally, each COMPAL WS preparation is delivered in an easily dispersible granular form for safe and easy handling, improved shelf stability, and various transportation advantages.
Solvent-free COMPAL WS pigments are nonflammable and therefore present numerous advantages during shipping, storage, handling and dosing. Both leafing and non-leafing pigment intermediates have been developed and can be applied to both cornflake and silver dollar types which provide a wide range of optical effects, including high metallic sparkle for straight silver or tinted industrial coatings.
Sun Chemical’s new high strength Sunbrite Yellow 74 is manufactured at a high efficiency plant in the heart of the coatings region in the United States. The plant’s continuous improvement programs are designed to minimize the company’s environmental impact and deliver year over year reductions in CO2 emissions. Some of the recent manufacturing upgrades implemented at the plant include a process that does not put any demands on local drinking water supplies and the conversion of biogas-to-energy.
“In addition, coatings producers are increasingly formulating and making purchasing decisions to meet a clear set of socio-environmental requirements, independent of regulations,” said Michael Venturini, marketing director, coatings, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments. “As a result, we expect to see even further growth in high performance pigments as replacements for heavy metal pigments. To meet this demand, SunChemical has introduced Fanchon Yellow 184 expanding our product range for heavy metal replacement. Several grades are available including zinc-free versions that provide customers options to meet their stability and temperature requirements.”