Researchers from Markets and Markets determined that high performance pigments is being driven largely by the use of automotive specialty paints. From a geographical perspective, the Asia-Pacific region is responsible for most of the overall global demand. “Asia-Pacific is the largest market for high performance pigments, closely followed by North America, in terms of value. The rising demand from applications such as cosmetic products and coatings for decorative and automotive coatings is driving the market for HPPs in these regions,” according to the report.
Markets and Markets researchers determined that organic high performance pigments are capturing the largest market share. “Organic high performance pigments captured the maximum share of the overall market and is also expected to witness high growth rate through 2021,” the report stated. “The demand of organic high performance pigments is increasing on account of their environmentally-friendly features, which make them suitable for use in various applications.”
Markets and Markets also determined that the major applications of the high performance pigments market are coatings, plastic, inks, cosmetics, and others. Coatings is the leading application of the high performance pigments market due to its high demand in automotive and decorative coatings sectors. The demand of HPPs in cosmetic products and plastics is expected to grow significantly in Asia-Pacific and North America.
Analysts from Grand View Research came to similar conclusions. A recently published report from the firm states that the high performance pigments market is expected to be worth $6.32 billion by 2022. The growing demand for automotive coatings is largely due to increasing automobile production, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Additionally, Grand View Research analysts found, the growth of the global personal care industry is also expected to have a positive influence on the market growth. “Volatile raw material prices coupled with the high price of these pigments is expected to remain a key challenge for market participants,” the report states. “The market displays high competition among its industry participants, which has resulted in companies taking strong measures to reduce manufacturing costs and yet provide superior quality products.”
Inorganic high performance pigments were the previous leading product segment - with demand share exceeding 60% of the global market in 2014 - however, organic high performance pigments are presumed to witness a faster growth rate on account of changing customer buying patterns and favorable regulatory scenario.
Researchers also determined that the global market is expected to reach 233.0 kilo tons by 2022, at a CAGR of 5.2%from 2015 to 2022. Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth of 6.0% from 2015 to 2022. Increasing automobile production in China, India, Thailand and Indonesia is expected to drive the regional market over the forecast period.
“The global high performance pigment industry was once recognized by a few multinational corporations,” analysts stated. “However, the advent of globalization has led new entrants in the industry. Companies have been taking key strategic initiatives to enhance their product portfolio and penetrate the market deeper by targeting applications such as cosmetics, inks, and plastics.”
Frank P. Lavieri, executive vice president and general manager at Lansco Colors, said that his company’s sales of high performance and special effect pigments are increasing at a double-digit rate in 2017.
“We attribute this to the strong performance of manufacturing generally along with the superior performance and consistency of our products and services,” he said. “In addition to these factors, high performance pigments are replacing classical pigments in applications where brand owners are requiring safer and more durable colors.”
According to the managing director of Glassflake Ltd., the market for Glassflake is continuing to expand globally. “Production of Glassflake in Leeds, UK is up by over 20 percent in the first 6 months of 2017 compared with the first six months of 2016, with a growth in demand across all service sectors.”
For some, the cost of high performance pigments can be prohibitive. However, as technology improves and consumers respond favorably to these pigments, the investment seems worth making to many. “In 1999 Yellow 180 was selling for $31/lb and DPP Red for $50/lb,” said Lavieri. “At these price levels, the use of these relatively new, at that time, and innovative high performance pigments were limited to applications which required their performance.
Today, these pigments sell for 20-50 percent of their 1999 price levels as a result of the breakdown of the patent protected monopolies which could charge these high prices.
“Formulators in 2017 use both Yellow 180 and DPP Red to a much greater extent now because of the value they bring, not only for their high performance. These pigments are both coloristically strong, which at today’s price levels offer a better value in use than some lower priced classical pigments. Additionally, the manufacturing of high performance pigments generally are less impactful on the environment. The reasons to formulate with high performance pigments has gotten stronger over the last many years while their prices have declined,” he concluded.
Glassflake Ltd. acknowledged that raw material prices can drive cost for high performance pigments. “In the UK, for the minerals used with the Glassflake have (with couple of notable exceptions) been relatively stable over the past twelve months. One of the biggest factors governing manufacture of any glass product, is the cost of energy. A significant investment in solar panels and an on-site electricity supply, has helped to moderate any significant uplift in these costs. Changes in Glassflake supply prices have been modest compared with some other performance enhancing pigment on the market.”
New Products, Markets To Keep An Eye On
Rose Qin, global business director, pigments for coatings, BASF, said that BASF recently announced its latest innovation, Sicopal Red EH 2370 (L 3050), a high performance, inorganic red pigment with a new Colour Index, Pigment Red 290. “Ideal for coating applications including architectural and industrial applications, the new pigment is significantly more chromatic than iron oxides and offers much more reddish tones compared to inorganic orange pigments. It provides expanded design options along with excellent opacity, remarkable stability, plus a durability that exceeds lead chromates,” she said. “Due to its robustness, the new pigment is ideal for use in applications such as exterior facades, roofing, powder coatings, coil coated facades, signal colors on bridges, cranes and oil platforms, and more.”
Within the BASF pigments portfolio, the Paliogen perylenes are high performance organic pigments with high chroma and transparency that provide outstanding weathering fastness and good flocculation stability, which promote their use in automotive and high end industrial applications.
The newest member, Paliogen Red L 3990, is an extremely saturated blue shade perylene red pigment that simultaneously delivers perfect brilliance, good transparency and high tint strength,” Qin said. Paliogen Red L 3990 enhances styling options especially for red effect shades. This is made possible through very narrow particle size distribution in an optimized process. The product is suitable for both solventborne and waterborne applications without compromising technical properties like bleeding and dispersibility.
Recently, Qin added, BASF and Landa Labs announced their strategic long-term partnership at the European Coatings Show (ECS) in April. Under this exclusive agreement, BASF will employ Landa’s revolutionary nano-pigment technology in a new portfolio of easy dispersible ultra-high transparency pigments marketed under the Colors & Effects brand. This groundbreaking development will offer unprecedented color depth while significantly simplifying the production of automotive coatings.
“The Landa nano-pigment technology – originally developed for the printing industry – allows BASF to introduce a new generation of Colors & Effects pigments with the highest quality consistency for the final automotive coating. The smaller size and narrower particle distribution leads to a thinner, higher chroma coating,” Qin concluded.
Representatives from Glassflake said its products are used in diverse applications, while most commonly used to improve the resistance to gas and water vapour diffusion in high performance coatings and thermoplastics. “Glassflake enhances a range of other properties including higher permeation resistance, higher mechanical and tensile properties, greater fire resistance, greater dimensional stability, improved wear resistance, the list could go on.”
Developments in the type of glass, providing Glassflake with higher aspect ratios, thinner Glassflake, special surface coatings and use of colored glass for decorative appearance, surface coatings to improve bonding, corrosion resistant properties, reducing energy consumption during manufacture, to list but a few ongoing projects, all continue at a pace in Leeds.
Lavieri said that Lansco Colors has recently launched two transparent iron oxides – LANOX 8916 Transparent Yellow and LANOX 8817 Transparent Red. “While generally the term high performance pigment is applied to organic pigments, these transparent iron oxides offer a high performance in their intended coatings applications - automotive paints and wood stains,” he said. “We have also added LANSCO 1319 Quinacridone Red Violet 19, our yellowest and most opaque Violet 19 especially suited for high quality industrial and automotive paints as well as selected plastic and ink applications.”
Lavieri believes that the greatest potential for high performance pigments is being realized, replacing classical pigments as the cost of the better performing pigments has dropped precipitously and brand owners have demanded safer more durable colors.
Ron Levi, president of New Brook International, said that New Brook continues to bring new environmentally and regulatory-friendly replacement pigments to market in the yellow through red areas of the color spectrum. “As REACH and similar legislations take effect, formulators are working hard on finding close color/performance matches to their old, heavy metal containing products,” he said. “We see the industrial coatings and inks markets as top targets for these pigments.”
Levi added that he sees the industrial coatings applications, particularly in the infrastructure sectors, as leading the growth for New Brook’s pigments. “Not only in the volume of projects, but, also as emphasis is placed on safety colors, as well as, trends in style for the yellow, orange and red paints and inks throughout the world,” he said.
Checking in on high-performance pigments & their impact on coatings.
From afar, buildings encased in exterior metal panels that feature PVDF architectural coatings seem to exhibit similar appearances. Although they may have different colors arranged in numerous architectural styles or installation methods, for the most part, their visible aesthetics remain fairly universal.
On closer examination, the coating colors begin to develop distinct shade differences, reveal their own unique characteristics and display various reflective properties. Although visual properties are important, the true power of a coating is all in the pigments.
For decades, PVDF architectural coatings have scaled mountains of innovation to arrive at where they are today. From enhancing sustainability and durability to expanding what is visibly possible with color and light, modern coatings have matched the industry demand for smarter and higher-performing products.
To develop these high-performance PVDF coatings, manufacturers created unique formulations composed of resins, pigments, solvents and additives. Although these ingredients are important to the final product, pigments are the ingredients that make the biggest impact.
Pigments come in various forms – inorganic (ceramic), organic and what is often referred to as pearlescent or metalescent. These three variations of pigments constitute the majority of coating formulations, and can dictate the color, vibrancy, durability and aesthetic quality of a finished product.
Organic pigments provide bright, vivid colors, but have low resistance to fading and weather poorly on their own. These pigments are carbon-based, made from petroleum compounds and are more expensive than inorganic pigments. Despite offering dynamic colors, organic pigments provide less protection from the elements, and due to their heightened opacity, allow ultraviolet light and oxygen to penetrate, breaking chemical bonds.
Inorganic pigments are widely used because their colors are more stable to light and heat, and they do not bleed. Inorganic pigments are manufactured from mineral compounds and are less expensive than organic pigments. Although they can last for many years, most coatings that are comprised primarily of inorganic pigments offer fewer bright colors and consist mostly of earth tones. Historically, bright inorganic pigments existed, but they contained lead and cadmium, which are rarely used today due to toxicity concerns.
Pearlescent (metalescent) pigments are mainly composed of minuscule flakes of aluminum, natural mica or synthetic mica-like material. These pigments add depth and sparkle to a finish, and can even shift in color contingent upon the lighting and from what angle a viewer takes while looking at the coating.
Many coating innovations and colors are created through the modification of these pigments and additional coating ingredients. Among much advancement, several categories of innovation specifically standout in relation to pigments: solar reflection, color and durability.
Once trendy buzzwords and/or idealistic pursuits, sustainability and ‘going green’ initiatives are no longer simple bonus accreditations or over-ambitious corporate goals. Rather, they are foundational components of how our industry operates, develops and builds. Although there’s no end in sight, it’s worth taking a look at how far we’ve come, and what pigment innovations have brought to the sustainability features of architectural coatings.
Use of solar reflective pigments is one of the most important progressions in coating formulation. When sunlight penetrates the roof and exterior of a building with infrared light, it causes a rise in interior temperature. In urban areas, this problem compounds with smog, asphalt and a lack of vegetation, which creates a phenomenon known as the Heat Island Effect. This effect causes temperature, air conditioning costs and electricity expenditures for building owners to dramatically increase.
To help mitigate this issue, manufacturers have incorporated solar reflective pigments into coating formulations that reflect infrared radiation while still absorbing the same amount of visible light from the sun. Through the use of these pigments, manufacturers have created solar reflective coatings that stay much cooler than their non-reflective counterparts. These coatings help lower energy costs without sacrificing durability, performance or beauty, and provide a collection of color options that previously absorbed much higher amounts of infrared light, rather than reflect them.
Coating manufacturers are not alone in moving the industry forward when it comes to sustainable innovation. Partners who also lead the way as pioneers in the green movement include: Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Energy Star.
The most obvious and visible end result of different coating pigment formulations is color. However, it’s not just the amount of new and innovative colors. Highly specialized pigment formulations have also led to the generation of special-effect coatings that have expanded aesthetic possibilities.
Valspar recently introduced two special-effect coating lines, Fluropon Effects Nova and Rustica, which have implemented pigments in exciting new ways. The coatings can be customized to match nearly any color and vary in intensity, subtlety of depth and sparkle effects. Today, 30 to 45 percent of all Valspar color matches are performed with pearlescent coatings, capturing nearly every hue under the sun.
Fluropon Rustica coatings contain special pigments that create richer, more saturated colors with an antique aesthetic. Through this new formulation, natural and polychromatic colors feature a weathered, antique look, which is perfect for projects that want to highlight a natural palette of oranges, rusts, coppers and ambers.
Fluropon Nova coatings are on an entirely different side of the color spectrum, utilizing pearlescent pigments. They offer rich color with a vivid sparkle in either gold or silver, and can be matched to nearly any desired color to fit the needs of the project. The richer, deeper colors that can be found in this line still offer an intense sparkle, something that was never before seen in 70 percent PVDF architectural coatings. In the past, adding sparkle meant sacrificing color integrity. Now, dynamic, eye-catching colors are attainable thanks to pigment innovation.
Composed of highly specialized pigment formulations and other technologies, these unique coatings can add three-dimensional appearances or outbursts of color and design. Although earth tones and grays still dominate in overall popularity, trends are shifting toward coppers, golds and additional new colors.
Special effect coatings can be found on surfaces from metal wall panels and roof systems, to soffits, fascia, curtainwalls and more. As more architects and building owners incorporate these products into their design, the more colorful and visually diverse our skylines and neighborhoods will become.
For the Long Haul
Sustainability features and dramatic colors are essential to high-performance coatings, but if they don’t last, few people will use them. Durability features are vital to the long-term success of a building’s performance and aesthetics, and pigments play a major role.
Valspar technicians are diligent about selecting the optimum pigments for a given job, providing products that meet warranty, performance, color, and environmental goals. When these offerings are required, it often limits color range and warranty options, especially if a high warranty is required. For the most part, coating manufacturers will combine inorganic pigments with premium resins (PVDF), and organic pigments with less-expensive resins (polyesters).
Pigments for exterior, high-performance architectural coatings require high-end products that offer the premium performance and durability – especially resistance to ultraviolet rays. Color warranties are based on the percentage balance between organic and inorganic pigments used to produce the final coating color.
At Valspar, our warranties address the film integrity, chalk and fading of a coating. Film integrity is determined by the resin system used – PVDF, SMP or polyester. Chalking and fading is caused by the breakdown of the pigments. Chalking, most clearly recognized by the appearance of a white powder, results from a breakdown of carbon bonds by ultraviolet light. To combat this, the pigment selected should be an ultraviolet absorber or reflector. Fading is triggered by the breakdown of a pigment itself.
To ensure these pigment formulations live up to expectations, Valspar places performance above all else. This is why our Fort Meyers testing site is so important to the development of all new coating formulations. Known as the “test-fence” by employees, this site provides the ability to measure the weathering of every color and coating formulation over time. Whether it’s ultraviolet rays, humidity, salt spray, corrosion or more, the site offers a literal perfect storm for testing the performance and longevity of our products and various pigment formulations.
With so many important durability factors and end-result performance features to consider, it’s clear to see why pigment selection and testing is so essential. No matter the color or goal you’re trying to achieve, advances in pigment technology and coating formulation continue to expand what’s possible. Our job is to protect your vision, and ensure your creation looks and remains beautiful. All you need to do is make it happen.
– Jeff Alexander, VP of Sales, coil and extrusion division, Valspar