ECKART Customer Service
Do you have questions about our products or services? We are happy to help you.
Dr. Andrea Fetz
Global Head Technical Marketing Automobile Coatings
Aluminum reacts with water, which can cause gas to form and have an extremely negative impact on the effect of the paint. But there are two ways to stop this reaction. Either you mix additives into the binding agent to prevent water from reaching the pigment surface. Or you can coat each individual pigment with silicate. Our HYDROMIC and HYDROXAL E aluminum pigments use the first option, whereas our HYDROLAN aluminum pigments use the second. The silicate layer makes for significantly more robust products. This means that coated aluminum pigments offer our customers more freedom when formulating their water-based paints and more variety in terms of applications. We specifically recommend our HYDROLANplus pigments for very demanding formulations.
We have indeed made huge advancements in terms of our pigment systems for water-based paints. Nevertheless, our customers are always presenting us with new challenges. For example, we might have to further optimize the wetting of the aluminum pigments or adapt them precisely to the customer’s system. Customers often approach us with the wish to expand certain functionalities, such as the shelf life of refinish paints or gassing stability. And we are frequently faced with new regulatory requirements that change the requirements profile for water-based paints and the corresponding aluminum pigments. All these issues require even more innovative products, which we develop within the scope of “customizing.” This means that we test the pigments that we develop in our customers’ water-based paints to achieve the very best results.
Autonomous driving is a huge issue for everyone, and for silver metallic colors in particular, it is a real challenge. Experts were of the opinion that these color shades were not suitable for vehicle coatings because the metallic particles are not permeable to radar waves. However, the coating must be permeable to these waves to a certain extent so that the sensors that are mounted behind the bumpers can reliably detect the vehicle’s surroundings. Our research has shown that metallic coatings are in fact a viable option for autonomous vehicles.
You could call it that, yes! Ultimately, it all comes down to the formulation – and therefore also the particle size and pigment coating. We developed initial formulation concepts where the visual and aesthetic properties are not inferior to traditional silver metallic paints. Then we tested the radar permeability of these concepts and the results were positive. We reduced the proportion of aluminum pigments in these formulations and swapped them for our SYMIC Opaque and LUXAN pigments, which are based on synthetically produced fluorophlogopite or glass and are treated with our innovative coating process. This turns them into pearlescent pigments with unique lustrous effects.
The reactions have been very positive! We are also collaborating with paint, plastics, and automobile manufacturers on this very issue.