Defining “value” is not an easy task, though. Value has different meanings to different people. For example, one person may wish to select a car with an eye toward price, while another may look at performance or durability, and may be willing to pay extra money to get those characteristics.
The area of high performance pigments (HPPs) comes to mind in this regard. As discussed in our story beginning on page 19, these pigments, which include the benzimidazolone-based and phthalocyanine families and their relatives, among others, typically cost more than the traditional pigment. However, the HPPs provide better resistance characteristics such as good light- and weather-fastness properties, solvent- and bleeding-fastness and low migration.
Despite the increased cost, HPPs remain a growing market, with annual growth for these pigments estimated at 4 percent to 5 percent, which is more than double that of conventional organic pigments. All told, it is estimated that HPPs are 9 percent of the total organic pigment market, with its major market being automotive coatings.
In the printing industry, inks featuring HPPs are used in areas such as packaging and outdoor signage, where fastness and resistance properties are essential, and are making gains in the non-impact segment.
It is interesting to note that the market is growing for HPPs, despite the present economic problems facing the printing and ink industries, and that the major producers for these pigments are currently investing in research and development on a wide variety of new products to meet increased demand. It would seem, then, that there is a need for products that ultimately provide value to the end-user, who will be willing to pay more to get those characteristics. That economic model is a healthy approach that all companies would be well advised to remember.