Regulatory Issues are playing an important role throughout the world, and the ink and pigment industries are no exceptions. Pigment manufacturers are seeing more regulations globally, whether it is REACH in Europe, more stringent environmental controls in Asia-Pacific, increasing concerns over migrations in ink and other concerns.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of regulatory inquiries, not only for domestic regulatory compliance but also for global regulatory compliance such as REACH (SVHC) and Swiss Ordinance,” said Vashti Jagmohan, product/marketing communications manager at ECKART America. “These are not specific to metallic pigments but to all printing inks used in flexible packaging, labels and cartons.”
“Environmental regulations and social change for sustainable raw materials with less environmental impact are driving rapid change and innovation in all segments of the coatings market,” said Mehran Yazdani, vice president, marketing, Performance Pigments, Sun Chemical. “The trend is well established in Europe and the United States, but is quickly growing in other regions. Some specific regulations all have a significant impact on the way packaging is produced, used and disposed of, including the Plastic Implementing Measure, REACH, the Plastics Directive, and Swiss Ordinance legislation. This has led ink manufacturers to develop low migration inks for food packaging to ensure consumer safety.
“Between this and other sustainability initiatives in the marketplace, we have seen a lot of growth in the development of waterborne pigments,” Yazdani added. “In addition to these regulations, we continue to see demand for pigments with unique performance properties that are tailored specially for the end user’s application, such as: stability/flocculation resistance in zero VOC systems, enhanced chemical and bleach resistance, increased strength allowing reduced usage and more value, and improved dispersability to reduce processing time. We are especially seeing strong demand for our durable, stain resistant Benda-Lutz® MAXAL EC aluminum flake for use in powder architectural coatings. MAXAL EC is the industry standard for performance in powder coating systems and powder paint has one of the lowest environmental impacts with no solvents and near 100 percent utilization. MAXAL EC stain resistance and durability allows users to consider mono-coat applications, thereby eliminating a clear coating layer typically required for metallic finishes.”
“We’re seeing a great deal of interest in European-driven regulatory information,” said Darren Bianchi, president of Brilliant Group, Inc.
“Customer requests for detailed regulatory information continue to grow in terms of both frequency and complexity,” said Don McBride, COO of Heucotech, Ltd. (a Heubach Company). “This has necessitated the hiring of additional skilled resources to keep up with both increased demand and evolving global regulations and specified brand owner criteria.”
“There are lots of new demands with the implementation of the REACH requirements in the EU,” Joseph Ward, vice president, marketing, RJA Dispersions, LLC, said. “It’s important to be able to be competitively pro-active. We’re seeing evidence of environmental problems with manufacturing in China causing some supply disruptions.”
“REACH will shortly begin to influence some large volume products as sunset dates get closer,” Ron Levi of New Brook International noted. “Pigment suppliers continue to search for alternative offerings, though testing and acceptance by the ink manufacturers takes time. We do not foresee a smooth transition during the next year or so, in fact some of the regulatory bodies may need to extend (sunset) deadlines. Mid-term elections and a lame duck president will probably delay U.S. REACH-like legislation, as well as, work on updating TSCA.”
Food packaging concerns are another area of interest for ink manufacturers.
“We are definitely seeing more requests for regulatory information, for example, for food contact information,” Neil Forsythe, sales manager, Printing, Packaging & Adhesives, Dispersions & Pigments Division, North America for BASF Corporation, said.
“We see an increasing number of inquiries for product regulatory information,” said John Erbeck, Emerald Specialties product manager - graphic arts. “A current industry concern involves the potential for migration or transference of components under certain conditions from a graphic arts, adhesive or coating used in food packaging into the food or beverage. Standards in these applications are becoming more stringent - particularly in Europe. This is driving a preference toward use of ‘greener’, more ‘environmentally friendly’ products and food-grade materials, as well as increased testing to characterize performance and validate compliance. Another area of product regulatory concern pertains to global registrations. Customers want to make sure that they use raw materials which are listed on the inventories in the geographic regions in which they envision doing business.”
As regulatory challenges increase, pigment manufacturers are working to meet the needs of their customers.
“Regulatory demands are always increasing and changing,” said Steve Clark, technical director graphic arts, Schlenk Metallic Pigments. “The drive from Europe on low migration and change to a global standard for hazard communication require significant resources to implement and maintain. Like all other manufacturing industries the metallic pigment industry is working hard to stay compliant. Important regulatory topics that Schlenk are currently working on include raw material reclassification under GHS, the growing complexity of customer regulatory demands and mineral oil removal from packaging in Europe.”
“LANSCO COLORS is uniquely able to offer the best pigment solutions for environmentally friendly inks,” said Frank Lavieri, executive vice president and general manager, Lansco Colors. “Whether it is pigments used in high solids formulas, pigments for UV/EB applications or alternatives to less environmentally friendly ingredients, we have many products and continue to develop new ones for this important trend.”
“As regulations increasingly impact manufacturing globally, new challenges are presented to the pigment industry,” said Li Wu, co-owner and technical director, Trust Chem China. “However, for companies with strong technical capabilities, like Trust Chem, this presents good opportunities, as it can reduce the competition on commodity products.”
“Sincol Corp is just now opening a significantly larger and technologically advanced water treatment facility,” said Bill Gray, vice president and business manager for Sincol USA. “This will further assure the continuing long term supply of all existing pigment standards. Sincol’s goal and focus is always on developing new pigment standards, which better meet the changing market place needs.”