Most of us have taken up a paintbrush and decorated part of the house at least once and while we spend lots of time looking for the perfect colour or shade, very few of us ever give a thought to how those colours are actually produced. The pigment market has been growing rapidly and that growth is expected to continue, as demand for a wide range of coloured products is increasing in sectors such as building and construction, automotive and increasingly in aerospace, as well as the traditional paint for the house. There have been significant challenges for manufacturers as environmental legislation towards reducing pollution and water contamination, has forced a change in materials, with low VOC pigments expected to grow further in the coming years.
The properties of pigments is changing, with compounds like lead chromates being phased out and replaced by products like bismuth vanadate, a much less toxic option. Pigment production is expanding rapidly in places like China, which has created opportunities for companies across the Asia Pacific region, who have now pushed North America and Europe into second and third in global market share. New and high performance products, such as diketopyrrolopyrrole pigments, are providing much improved colour intensive and colour retention. Before inks or paints can be made, the pigments, binders and additives generally need to be synthesised, with pigment dispersion necessary to break the agglomerates down into optimum particulate sizes.
Processing of pigment agglomerates requires the use of a mill, of which there are various different options, such as a bead mill, a three roll mill and some other varieties. The preferred choice for viscous paint dispersions is three roll milling, also known as a triple roll mill, which uses shear force from three horizontally positioned rolls, which rotate in opposite directions and speeds to mix, refine and disperse materials. It has proven to be the most successful of the roll mills, first developed in the nineteenth century. There are a variety of roll mills in production ranging from the single roll to a five roll, with the latter enabling the use of larger agglomerates being input, though it is subsequently far more complicated and costly.
Specialist and Dedicated Pigment Manufacture
Pigments have become highly specialised, with different product characteristics able to be made for highly individual requirements. An ink, paint or other coatings manufacturer is now able to specify exactly what their needs are and for a top quality pigment manufacturer to be able to make exactly that on a bespoke order. Companies involved in pigment milling understand how remarkable their technology is and regularly provide consultancy to coatings manufacturers, which can assist in the development of new and better products.
If you are in the inks or paints industry, or another company who uses pigments, and want to discuss your current product range and future requirements, an Internet search will be able to provide details of leading companies within your geographical area, who have the professional expertise and experience to provide your research and development team, with the help required to keep your product offering at the leading edge of technology. Maintaining an edge over the competition may well be possible with the right pigment partner.