Metallic Effect Pigments
There could not be a more appropriate title for our first blog entry. The ECKART name is synonymous with quality Metallic Effect Pigments. Undoubtedly, there isn’t a better organization to consult than ECKART.
What is a metallic effect pigment?
While the process is technical and the variations infinite, metallic pigments are metal/alloy flakes that are added to products and systems to achieve a visual effect. The flakes are added to automotive paint to make a red sports car sparkle, or plastic to make cosmetics bottles standout. These pigments are even found in printing inks to communicate luxury and status with product packaging.
In other cases, metallic flakes and granules can be added to perform more functionally. As an example, aluminum pigments can be used to reflect heat. These aluminum pigments can be added to interior and exterior paints, keeping heat in during the winter and heat out during the summer.
Where metallic effect pigments are used?
Metallic Effect Pigments are used in a variety of industries. While there are slight variations that result in different effects and aesthetics, metallic effect pigments are used in:
- Coatings – Interior and exterior paints
- Printing – Luxury packaging and foil alternative
- Plastics – Bottles and packaging with metallic appearance
- Functional – Corrosion prevention
- Cosmetics – Makeup and personal hygiene products
How large is the metallic effect pigment market?
The market is huge. According to Global Market Insights, the market’s size was $1.5 BN in 2017 and expected to increase to $2.3 BN by 2024. These types of gains wouldn’t be possible without increased demand, but also thriving technology.
ECKART not only provides R&D that results in changing geometries and precise particle distribution, but we are solving environmental problems as well. The demand for water-based products is only increasing. Europe, Asia and even States within the U.S. like California are looking to water-based alternatives.
With commitment to reducing VOCs have become a global effort. The European Solvents Industry Group reports that Human-made VOCs have declined by 60% since 1990. These achievements have been accomplished through not just reduced use, but recycling, replacement and better technologies to capture VOCs during manufacturing.
Offering water-based solutions is part of the ECKART portfolio. Replacing solvents, like mineral spirits, is difficult because of how aluminum and water will react with one another. ECKART continues to provide, product, processing and packaging solutions that make water-based pigments possible.
What does a metallic effect pigment look like?
To the naked eye, these pigments look like a dust. However, they are intentionally flake shaped and geometry is targeted and precise. Any change to the flake size, smoothness or thickness will create an alteration in the aesthetic performance.
How are metallic effect pigments produced?
Metals and alloys are purchased in their purest forms. Most materials come in a brick formation called an ingot. Ingots are then heated to a molten state. After the metals are in liquid form they are sprayed with air pressure, a process called atomization.
After the material is atomized and cooled, it goes through more processing. Flakes are milled to change the shape and solvents are exchanged to prepare for end use. In some cases, they are even bonded with the customer’s products to deliver a more complete product.
Want to learn more?
ECKART offers many products that include, aluminum, bronze, zinc and alloys. If you would like more information about the products we offer and the markets we serve, click here.
Posted by Sean W. Fletcher - January 3, 2019