The Pigment Report

By Bridget Klebaur, Associate Editor | 03.01.14

For the most part, pigment manufacturers reported sales growth in 2013 and anticipate a strong year in 2014, although there are challenges ahead.

Much like the ink industry, the pigments market continued to grow in certain areas for 2013, while some parts of the market continued to face challenges.

Mehran Yazdani, vice president, marketing, Performance Pigments, Sun Chemical, said that Sun Chemical Performance Pigments continued to see a positive upswing in the global pigments market in 2013, especially in the high performance and special effect pigments markets.

“Global demand for dyes and pigments is estimated to grow annually at a 4% rate,” Yazdani said. “The demand in the U.S. is stronger due to the rebound in the housing market and strong automotive sales.”

Neil Forsythe, sales manager, Printing, Packaging & Adhesives, Dispersions & Pigments Division, North America for BASF Corporation, said that BASF saw growth in some markets and erosion in others, with growth coming in UV cure, lamination and digital.

Don McBride, COO of Heucotech, Ltd. (a Heubach Company), said that 2013 proved to be yet another challenging year for the pigment industry.

“While overall costs and supply were generally stable throughout most of the year, in Q4, environmental concerns in Asian markets contributed to intermediate shortages and upward pricing pressures in certain key areas,” McBride said. “Heubach was able to work through most of these challenges and meet the demands of our customer base, while improving our market share.”

With 2012 proving to be uneventful, the market seemed to move forward in 2013 according to Li Wu, co-owner and technical director, Trust Chem China.

“Overall, the pigment market showed improvement in 2013 after an uneventful 2012,” Wu said. “Trust Chem showed continued growth throughout the year. After some instability in the publication ink market in recent years, 2013 provided some stability and even showed some improvement.”

Bill Gray, vice president and business manager for Sincol USA, said that 2013 did present some unique challenges.

“Traditional supply channels have been disrupted by unexpected regional issues, resulting in selective plant closures,” Gray noted. “There continue to be ‘environmental headwinds’ in many part of the world, especially Asia. Sincol Corporation has been well prepared for these events with strategic investments in evergreen water treatment facilities and continuing expansion of our pigment chemistry designed for coatings. In the end, 2013 was another difficult year for the pigment supplier. Global production capacity still exceeds the global demand and short term competition for key pigment standards remains heavy.”

“We saw the pigment market grow in 2013, especially in the last third of the year and particularly in industries serving construction and housing,” said Frank Lavieri, executive vice president and general manager, LANSCO Colors. “LANSCO Colors has added additional employees to keep up with the demand, including Jeff Babich as sales manager in Chicago and Christine Gehres as the senior vice president of sales and marketing.”

“It was a challenging year,” said Andy Grabacki, vice president of sales for General Press Colors. “It appeared to have stabilized some but lower than we had anticipated.”

“Overall, Emerald had a strong year in 2013, with greater interest in our latest technologies,” said John Erbeck, Emerald Specialties product manager - graphic arts.

On the specialty pigment side, Brilliant Group, Inc. also experienced significant growth this year, with more demand and increased brand awareness.

“It was another year of solid growth for Brilliant Group,” said Darren Bianchi, president of Brilliant Group, Inc. “As we enter our eighth year in business, we are benefitting from increased brand awareness around the globe, coupled with extremely positive feedback from the market and our customers. This is further enhanced by the fact that fluorescents are currently in fashion, creating demand in new and unusual places.”

Vashti Jagmohan, product/marketing communications manager at ECKART America, said that 2013 was a stable year for metallic pigments and inks.

“It appears that the overall printing ink industry had a better year as well, although the printing industry continues to face challenges and there is still quite a bit of economic uncertainty,” said Jagmohan.

“Schlenk Metallic Pigments saw positive growth in the graphic arts industry for both metallic pigments and inks,” said Steve Clark, technical director graphic arts, Schlenk Metallic Pigments. “Demand in general for printed metallic effects in 2013 appeared comparable to 2012 levels. 2013 has seen a continuing trend to use high valued vacuum metallized and silver dollar aluminum pigments for foil replacement effects in both solvent and UV inks, and metallic pigments are now starting to be used in new (digital) printing techniques.”

Joseph Ward, vice president, marketing, RJA Dispersions, LLC, explained that they have seen double-digit growth in 2013.

“While much of conventional print has seen flattening growth due to the major shift to digital distribution of content, there is marked growth in direct digital printing of labels, bottles, cartons, etc.,” Ward said. “UV inkjet has been a major beneficiary due to the convenience of ‘instant drying.’   We’re seeing growth of interest in manufacturing “things” with UV inkjet - decoration - home décor - laminates - tiles - articles as well.  Then there are the “non-colorant” ink jet applications emerging with a whole array of fluids to be jetted to create new products in the electronics, bio-medical, and beyond markets.”

“Sales growth was realized though margin erosion continues to plague our industry,” said Ron Levi of New Brook International.

Improvement in the Ink Market

There have been some signs of improvement from the ink and pigment industries, including across different ink markets.

“The ink and pigment industries continue to be a very competitive environment,” McBride said. “Certain segments, such as the packaging market, continue to show positive growth, as companies work to meet the ever-increasing demands of higher quality graphics. Heubach continues to introduce new high performance pigments and quality preparations into the marketplace, while working to control and contain costs associated with our business.”

“Brilliant Group Inc. is seeing steady and increasing demand across all sectors of the ink market, including litho, flexo and gravure in both conventional and UV markets,” said Bianchi.

Sun Chemical has seen a significant increase in water- and solvent-based packaging inks using both flexo and gravure printing.

“In the packaging ink market segment, the trend in the market is moving toward functional and sensory packaging,” Yazdani said. “The packaging market faces different challenges than other market segments, such as low migration, the push toward smaller package size, recyclability and other efforts to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment. These trends in the packaging inks market have resulted in a greater demand for higher quality and more consistent pigments that are both color stable and viscosity stable, compatible with a wide range of resin systems, and print on a wide variety of substrates.

“We have also seen a significant increase in the amount of printing on packaging for food products,” Yazdani added. “This has led to the growth of a wider variety of colors and special effect pigments, which in turn has led to the need for a wider selection of pigment color index types and special mica and metallic pigments. There has been significant growth of alternative ink types, such as UV and EB inks. These types of inks place an even greater demand on pigment properties such as viscosity stability and compatibility. The growth of digital printing and the special demands it places on the pigments for quality of dispersion, viscosity and consistency, is another trend we are seeing.”

ECKART America found that the label and packaging segments presented much more growth opportunities, while the publication and commercial segments are stagnant due to the increasing use of electronic media.

Trust Chem China said the publication ink market showed some rebound in 2013 after decreasing in recent years.

“The price competition of pigments continues to increase as cost becomes a stronger factor in purchasing decisions than before,” Wu added. “In China, the pigment industry is still expanding. Factories are greatly increasing their capacity, which will only further intensify price competition in the upcoming year.”

Gray noted that Sincol Corporation’s global pigment sales have increased by 30% vs. 2012.

“The majority of this growth came from the ink markets globally. The European economy has stabilized somewhat,” Gray said. “The U.S. ink markets has been steady, but the Asian/Pacific sales region continue to lead the way for overall sales growth by percentage. We expect the 2014 global economy to continue to expand, but with the Asian/Pacific region slowing down slightly. We are looking for above average sales growth increase to the NAFTA printing ink market, with increased distribution into Mexico.”

Lavieri said that LANSCO Colors has seen steady growth in the ink industry.

“We have seen steady growth in our sales to the ink industry, particularly for packaging and UV curable inks, where the increases have been at a double digit rate at times,” Lavieri said.

However, for General Press Colors, there has not been very much improvement. “We have not seen an improvement from the ink industry,” Grabacki said. “Manufacturers seem to be staying where they are and not making any drastic changes.”

Emerald also found the market to have fallen flat in the past year.

“The pigment market appears to be flat, with areas of growth in the digital and energy curable segments,” Erbeck said.

“Packaging has remained a very strong market segment in 2013 for metallic effects,” said Kelly. “In the packaging market Schlenk is seeing a growing pace of change over to energy curable inks.”

“While much of conventional print has seen flattening growth due to the major shift to digital distribution of content, there is marked growth in direct digital printing of labels, bottles, cartons, etc.,” Ward said. “UV inkjet has been a major beneficiary due to the convenience of ‘instant drying.’ We’re seeing growth of interest in manufacturing ‘things’ with UV inkjet - decorations, home décor, laminates, tiles - as well. Then there are the ‘non-colorant’ ink jet applications emerging with a whole array of fluids to be jetted to create new products in the electronics, bio-medical, and beyond markets.”

“We note improvement in the pigment industry’s sales volumes though customer consolidation will undoubtedly leave some suppliers out of this growth pattern,” Levi said. “We see continued growth from the inkjet applications, as well as, renewed interest from traditional ink outlets in some of our recently developed, high performance pigments.”

Raw Materials and the Pigment Industry

Raw materials have been a serious challenge for pigment manufacturers in recent years, both in terms of rising costs and availability. Pigment suppliers said that while pricing stabilized, strengthened environmental regulations in China and India are leading to disruptions in the supply chain.

“Due to environmental protection issues in China, raw material suppliers faced challenges which caused them to become unstable and disrupt the normal supply chain. We are hopeful 2014 will run more smoothly,” Wu said.

“Raw materials never really seem to be stabilized, as the recent urea story in India illustrates,” Gray said. “However, without question the most daunting challenge to the global pigment market will be the ever increasing and stricter enforcement of environmental regulations, in particular related to water and industrial waste treatment. This has accelerated the urgency and need for developing less environmentally challenging organic pigments. A natural byproduct of this trend will be a reduction in number of pigment producers worldwide. Sincol is well positioned to meet these challenges and remains focused and committed to meeting the changing marketplace needs.”

“Raw materials were mostly stable in 2013,” Yazdani said. “Sun Chemical Performance Pigments anticipates that the raw material prices might increase in 2014 due to economic recovery and regulatory compliance costs. We will continue to monitor the key raw material indexes and focus our manufacturing team on process and raw material productivity.”

“As environmentally compliant factories in Asia come back on line, supply appears to be stabilizing on most items,” McBride said. “Costs also appear to be stabilizing, but at increased levels. However, we believe this important region for pigments will continue to have situations that will affect supply and price throughout the near future.”

“Raw material supply, quality and price are key drivers for the pigment industry in 2014,” Lavieri said. “The supply of pigment raw materials is impacted by tightening waste water treatment requirements and has led to a reduction in capacities. CI Pigment Orange 5 and Red 49 type pigments are being particularly affected.”

Erbeck said that over the last year, there has been stabilization in terms of raw material supply for the ink and coatings market.

“Looking forward, we anticipate price increases in 2014 and 2015 as a result of rising manufacturing overhead and logistics costs, often not included in many raw material index based contracts,” Erbeck added.

Specialty pigments, such as fluorescents and metallics, have their own raw material concerns.

“Fluorescents and their raw materials are unusual relative to other pigments so it is hard to speak to the broader situation. With that said, so many raw materials used in fluorescent pigments come from China, and the opacity of that supply chain creates the need to buy ahead as far as is economically feasible,” Bianchi said.

“Over the past year, there has been more stability with raw materials for metallic products, similar to what we have seen in the rest of the specialty chemical industry,” said Jagmohan.

“Raw material supply has been stable during 2013 with no obvious shortages seen,” Kelly said. “Prices for some raw materials, however, have continued to increase. Metal prices continue to fluctuate and certain UV raw materials have had long lead times. The next stage of REACH registration in Europe may cause the fade-out of some additives.”

“The only concern at the moment continues to be long lead times on the organic pigment front. Raw material prices have stabilized,” Levi said.

Expectations for the Coming Year

For the most part, pigment suppliers are optimistic for 2014. Forsythe said that BASF remains focused on a sustainable future in pigments for their printed applications.

“Our expectations are more of the same with continued interest and focus in certain markets and a very competitive market in classical pigments,” he said. “Our view is very much that we do see a sustainable future in pigments for printed applications.”
Yazdani said that Sun Chemical expects continued growth in some areas of the market.

“In the graphic arts market, the increasing use of non-impact printing methods such as inkjet means increased demand for high performance pigments at the expense of those conventional pigments used in traditional printing inks,” Yazdani noted. “Overall, we expect flat to declining demand for publication offset by continued growth in packaging. From the market segment viewpoint, we expect continued growth in automotive, architecture, fiber, nylon, specialties and niche markets. The automotive market has seen an increase in demand for unique color and effects. This trend continues to help fuel the continued growth in high performance and effect pigments.”

Jagmohan said that ECKART America is looking forward to 2014, and sees opportunity for growth.

“We are looking forward to a successful 2014 and see potential growth for special effects using printed metallic inks versus alternative technologies such as metalized substrates and foil stamping,” Jagmohan said. “Metallic inks present cost effective, decorative ‘foil effect’ solutions that allows brand owners to differentiate their products.”

“We are optimistic about 2014, particularly in the water-based and inkjet area for pigments and dispersions, as well for new additives in those segments,” said Erbeck.

McBride said that Heubach is looking forward to another growth year, despite the challenges that continue to face the pigment and ink industries.  “We are fully committed to being a long-term quality supplier of both pigments and pigment preparations to the ink industry,” McBride added.

There are challenges ahead for pigment manufacturers.

“We are expecting a year of slow growth for the pigment industry as a whole,” Lavieri said. “Product cancellations and supply disruptions already announced by European pigment manufacturers will continue to reduce their share of the business. We expect 2014 to be another highly competitive year in the pigment business and plan to introduce new products which bring more value to pigment consuming customers.”

Grabacki predicted a more challenging outlook for 2014. “We have low expectations for the upcoming year,” Grabacki said. “The printing industry remains in a decline.”

Gray expects Sincol’s sales in the U.S. market to continue to expand, with the Asian/Pacific sales region leading the way for overall sales growth. “We expect the 2014 global economy to continue to expand,” Gray said. “We are looking for especially strong sales growth increase to the NAFTA coating market.”

“New Brook International is expecting a year of modest growth spread across the sectors in which we are active,” Levi said. “Competition for market share, margin erosion and delivery delays will continue to plague ink industry suppliers. New technologies and the continued move toward inkjet products will be the main topics in 2014.”

“In part because of our focus on UV inkjet materials, 2014 is shaping up to be another really good growth year for us,” Ward said.

“With a complete product portfolio for metallic pigments and metallic printing inks and strong customer focus, Schlenk expects good growth in graphic arts for 2014 in all regions,” Kelly said.

Bianchi said that Brilliant Group is bringing more manufacturing in-house, and is expecting high levels of growth.

“We are excited to be bringing more manufacturing in-house, expanding product lines and refining some existing products to better meet the needs of the market,” Bianchi said. “In short, we expect to sustain a high level of growth.”    
Wu anticipates a strong year for Trust Chem.

“We forecast significant growth for Trust Chem in the market, even with the competition growing fierce,” Wu said. “We will be adjusting our products and improve our production lines to best respond to the market changes. We are optimistic about the upcoming year.”

New Pigments

The following listing includes new pigment products introduced to the printing ink industry in the past year.

BASF Corporation Dispersions & Pigments Division, North America
11501 Steele Creek Road
Charlotte, NC 28273
Phone: (704) 587-2597
Web: www.basf.com
Email: beth.earnst@basf.com

New Products:

• Firemist Crystal Touch tactile product
Comments: Firemist Crystal Touch EH 1303 (9P130G) is the new effect pigment designed for printing inks and applications on glass. Uniquely, this new-technology coated glass-flake pigment brings both tactile and visual effects. Firemist patented borosilicate-based pigments create more chroma, color purity, brightness, transparency and reflectivity than many traditional pearlescent pigments. These technologically advanced pigments create high visual impact in fashion and decorative accessories, packaging, small appliances, plastics and more.

• Lumina Royal high chroma effect pigments
Comments: Lumina colors are mica-based effect pigments in a variety of intense shades – Royal Blue, Royal Copper, Royal Exterior Copper – that feature increased chromaticity at the reflection angle as well as higher color purity and clarity than traditional interference colors.

• YMCK range of Microlith Jet products for UV inkjet
Comments: Microlith products are specially prepared forms of organic, carbon black and titanium dioxide pigments predispersed in special carriers with very small particle size suitable for water, solvent and UV formulations for inks and coatings.

Brilliant Group, Inc.
750 National Court, Suite 100
Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: (415) 771-4757
Fax: (415) 789-4150
Web: www.fluorescentcolor.com
Email: info@fluorescentcolor.com

New Products:

• BFE Series: Brilliant Fluorescent Emulsions for water flexo and textile printing
Comments: The BFE Series offers an alternative approach for the water flexo market relative to Brilliant’s BSTW Water Soluble Toners. They can be used alone or in combination with the soluble toners.

• BIBX Series: Brilliant Fluorescent Lithographic Ink Base for Conventional Offset

• BIB2 Series: Brilliant Fluorescent Ink Base for UV Systems
Comments: While both products are staples in Brilliant’s product line, they are regularly customized to meet the demands of customers for aspects such as shade, strength and rheology.

ECKART America Corporation
830 E Erie St,
Painesville OH 44077
Phone: (440) 954-7600; (800) 556-1111
Fax: (440) 354-6224
Web: www.eckart.net
Email: info.eckart.america.oh@altana.com    

New Products

• MetalStar UV 21-2061 871 Gold to MetalStar UV 21-2066 876 Gold
Comments: MetalStar UV 871-876 gold is a series of UV offset inks created for the folding carton market, printing on paper and board using narrow-to-mid format offset presses. This series provides improved printability, ink laydown and dot fidelity, as well as higher print density than existing UV offset products in the market.

• METALURE Prismatic Pigments and PrismStar
Comments: METALURE Prismatic pigments and PrismStar inks create a unique printed rainbow effect on paper and film. The inks and pigments can be tinted to create colored Prismatic effects that can be printed in-line to increase processing speed and reduce waste compared to existing alternative technologies.

• RotoStar UV FP66
Comments: RotoStar UV FP66 is a series of UV flexo inks that can be printed on paper and film, offering much longer shelf-life stability than existing UV flexo products in the market, as well as creating superior metallic brilliance with increasing press speeds.

• FPG series of low migration offset inks
Comments: ECKART has introduced its FPG series of low migration offset inks, manufactured under GMP guidelines in a dedicated manufacturing facility to prevent contamination and which meet the most stringent migration requirements of the European regulations.

• MetalStar Supereco 10
Comments: MetalStar Supereco 10 is a cobalt and mineral oil free range of offset inks that have also been introduced to meet specific packaging requirements.

Emerald Performance Materials – Specialties Business Group
2235 Langdon Farm Road
Cincinnati, OH 45237
Phone: (800) 477-1022
Fax: (513) 841-3771
Web: www.emeraldmaterials.com
Email: colors@emeraldmaterials.com

New Products:

• Lucida Colors UV line of colorants

• CMYK inkjet dispersions
Comments: Emerald Performance Materials launched its Lucida Colors UV line of colorants, and focused on developing its line of CMYK inkjet dispersions to provide outstanding performance, such as unparalleled stability, high optical density and light fastness.

General Press Colors
120 Fairbanks St.
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: 800-252-4725
Fax: 630-543-4657
Web: www.generalpresscolors.com
Email: andyg@gpclflush.com Person responding

New Products:

• Faster setting 100% solids line
Comments: The new 100% solids sets faster than our current line with a harder rub resistant surface.

Heucotech, Ltd. (a Heubach Company)
99 Newbold Road
Fairless Hills, PA 19030
Phone: (215) 736-0712 ext. 117
Fax: (215) 736-2249
Web: www.heubachcolor.com
Email: donmcbride@heubachcolor.com

New Products:

• Heuco Yellow 115002
Comments: This PY 150 is a medium shade yellow pigment that provides very good light and weather fastness properties and is recommended for waterborne flexo packaging and inkjet applications.

• Aquis Plus RWP 5210
Comments: This PR 52:1 waterborne surfactant-based preparation is ideal for high performance flexo printing inks. This product is the latest member of Heucotech’s Aquis Plus family of products, designed specifically for packaging lamination applications.

• Microsperse Plus YMP 1550
Comments: This PY 155 acrylic preparation is yet another addition to Heucotech’s Microsperse Plus line of dispersions. Demand for this high strength product line continues to grow, as more and more ink companies set their sights on the high quality printing demands of the narrow web label market.

• Heucosperse 9000 RS 9115
Comments: This PR 122 acrylic preparation is the newest addition to Heucotech’s most economical line of water-borne dispersions. This product offers all of the high-performance benefits of quinacridone dispersion, combined with attractive economics.

One Blue Hill Plaza – 11th Floor
Pearl River, NY 10965
Phone: (888) 4LANSCO
Fax: (845) 735-2787
Web: www.pigments.com
Email: Frank@Pigments.com

New Products:

• LANSCO 1073 DPP Orange 73
Comments: This product has improved rheology compared to other products available, solving a key problem with this chemistry.

• LANSCO 3777 Phthalo Green 7
Comments: This is a blue shade phthalo green which is popular in automotive applications.

• LANSCO 2181 Benzimidazolone Yellow 181
Comments: This pigment addresses needs in the red-shade yellow color space for durability, FDA approval, and cost in coatings, plastics and inks.

• LANSCO 1372 DPP Flame Red 272
Comments: This product represents cutting edge innovation where it brings DPP technology to the yellow-shade red color space.

RJA Dispersions LLC
2745 Harvey St.
Hudson, WI 54016Phone: (715) 808-0172

Fax (715) 808-0474


Email: jeward@rjadispersions.com


New Products:

•  FX UV dispersions for Fixed Array Heads

Comments: FX UV dispersions are designed for fixed array heads, and provide ultra stability and filterability. Their 100-150 nm mean size, with D99 typically under 300 nm, provides the rheological consistency required for long-running maintenance-free operation.

Schlenk Metallic Pigments

40 Nickerson Road

Ashland, MA 01721

Phone: (800) 881-2684

Fax: (508) 881-1278


E-mail: steve.clark@schlenkusa.com


New Products:

• DECOMET UV 2798/20

Comments: A UV vacuum metallized aluminum slurry for foil replacement inks.


Comments: Low migration UV flexo metallic inks.

Sun Chemical Performance Pigment Group
5020 Spring Grove Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45232
Phone: (513) 681-5950
Fax: (513) 632-1316
Web: www.sunchemical.com/performancepigments/
Email: lynn.campbell@sunchemical.com

New Products:

• Flexiverse and Sunsperse APE-Free Blue 79 Dispersions for water
Comments: Based on breakthrough pigment manufacturing technology, these water-based aluminum phthalocyanine blue dispersions allow for copper-free formulation without the molybdenum, selenium and solvent residuals commonly associated with conventional aluminum blue. Sun Chemical Performance Pigment’s growing line of aluminum blue preparations delivers superior quality, excellent value and regulatory peace of mind.

• Sunsperse ECO
Comments: Sun Chemical’s expansion of regulatory-friendly products continues with Sunsperse ECO. These APEO-, VOC- and resin-free aqueous pigment dispersions are formulated for water-based applications requiring fastness, durability and narrow color specifications. Available in a variety of high strength colors, Sunsperse ECO combines performance and stability while meeting regulatory and reporting needs.

• Sunbrite Yellow 74 Pigment for Aqueous systems
Comments: This monoarylide pigment is a popular choice for digital inkjet ink designers and provides the properties that are critical to quality. Leveraging Sun Chemical’s treatment technology, this pigment reduces pigment loading requirements, improves viscosity and particle size stability, optical density with the color consistency, and purity for aqueous digital inkjet applications.

Trust Chem USA LLC
1050 Main St., Suite 22
East Greenwich, RI 02818
Phone: (401) 398-7301
Fax: (401) 398-7321
Web: www.trustchemusa.com
Email: falko@trustchemusa.com

New Products:

• PY155 for water-based inks, PY128, PY185, PY93, PY95
Comments: The new PY155 is ideal for water-based inks, with low viscosity, high transparency, high gloss and low migration. PY93 and PY95 are designed for metal deco inks. PY185 is for high lightfastness solvent-based inks. PY128 is a disazo condensation product used mainly for coatings and plastics application, but also for a few UV and metal deco applications as well. n

Related Raw Materials: