Emerald Specialties Group, a business group of Emerald Performance Materials, has completed an expansion of its R&D/pilot plant capabilities at its Cincinnati, OH facility. The expanded R&D facilities will allow the group to produce an increased range of products, which will initially focus on one of Emerald’s latest developments: Lucida Colors self-dispersed pigment dispersions, a patent-pending technology for inkjet applications.
“Emerald has a strong legacy in colorant technology, and our Hilton Davis brand dates back 100 years this year. Today, we provide a wide spectrum of dye and dispersion products used in a broad range of consumer and industrial applications, and inkjet printing is an expanding part of our portfolio,” said James Davis, vice president for Emerald Specialties Group. “We have made significant investments in new technologies and expanded capabilities in R&D and operations, which is a key value driver for growth at Emerald across the company. Inkjet printing is utilized in an increasing number of applications – from textile and ceramics, to photo, commercial printing and wide format graphics. The expanded R&D capabilities at Cincinnati will enable us to better serve our customer needs and also to explore processes and chemistries that address new and evolving challenges for today’s end users.”
The current expansion, completed in May, is part of the company’s overall growth strategy to invest in expanding its range of products to focus on areas where the company can provide differentiated performance in the end-use application. The investment will initially focus on further developing the group’s Lucida Colors line for inkjet and print, a new line of self-dispersed pigment dispersions in CMYK process colors, which the company is now offering to the marketplace, and development of specialty colors.
“Emerald Specialties Group has been producing high purity inkjet dyes for over five years and has continued to develop new technologies for this application. With this investment, we will be able to further increase the depth of our product lines to give formulators a greater range and optimize product performance in end-use applications,” said John Erbeck, product line manager, inkjet products and energy curable/carbon black dispersions. “For example, inkjet formulators want to balance the optimized performance characteristics we offer—excellent stability, optical density, rub resistance, gloss, chroma, and light-fastness — with superior processing characteristics and durability in the end-use application. We will collaborate with our customers to produce materials from our expanded R&D facilities to support their development and scale up efforts.”
Erbeck also noted recent performance results for Hilton Davis self-dispersed pigment technology, citing favorable feedback from customers in addition to positive laboratory testing results for Lucida Colors CMYK self-dispersed pigment dispersions.
“We are very excited about the performance we are seeing with our self-dispersed pigments,” Erbeck said. “For instance, our Lucida Colors SDP Yellow 180 exhibits improved chroma and outstanding colloidal stability using the LUM tester, which exposes the sample to 2300 G-force and evaluates rate of pigment settling and ease of re-dispersibility after removal from the force. This product also shows very high color retention when exposed to light – an improvement of 97% on photo paper and 57% on plain paper versus most other self-dispersed pigment dispersions based on pigment yellow 74 when exposed to 1 solar equivalent in a QUV cabinet. Customers have also noted a superior opacity in our SDP black.”
Emerald Specialties produces dyes, lakes and dispersions under the Hilton Davis brand and continues to expand its range of products at the group’s GMA-SAFE facility in Cincinnati. Within the last two years, the company launched its new VERDIS dispersions and Trans-Oxides for in-plant tinting of aqueous systems, which combined the performance coatings formulators were seeking with an environmentally friendly profile: zero-VOC, formaldehyde-free and APE-free. The company had also introduced its Lucida Colors UV-curable colorants, utilizing high-performance pigments for excellent color, strength, handling characteristics, and low odor for printing and coatings applications.
The group’s full range of colorants are used in a broad spectrum of applications, such as food and beverage, paints and stains, graphic arts, plastics, paper, textiles, personal care, home care, pharmaceutical and industrial. The group’s colorant technology dates back a century this year, to Robert Hilton’s 1914 patent on the breakthrough process of color flushing.