New perspectives for automotive suppliers: ALTANA Innovation Award 2021 honors pioneering technology in the field of metallic effect pigments

  • Novel SiO2-encapsulated metallic effect pigments ensure more robust formulation processes for water-based coatings 
  • Optimized performance due to greater stability and resilience 
  • Attractive fields of application for the entire automotive industry

Wesel, July 1, 2021 – Every year, the ALTANA Innovation Award honors the most promising new developments of the global specialty chemicals group. In 2021, the ECKART division won the prize for the second time in a row. It went to a technology for the development of a completely new product family of SiO2- encapsulated metallic effect pigments used in different areas of the automotive industry.

SiO2 stands for silicon dioxide, one of the materials used for coating metallic effect pigments used in automotive waterborne paints. The team that developed the product family, consisting of Dr. Oliver Bedford, Frank Hippmann, Dr. Dirk Schumacher, and Dr. Oliver Struck, devised a novel technology for the production of such pigments.

The patented technology can be applied to both classically ball-milled and PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) pigments. The special feature is the modification of the pigment surface with the help of oligomeric silanes.

The new product group meets all of the automotive industry’s criteria and regulations regarding ecologically compatible coatings. In addition, it has better intercoat adhesion and antiflocculation properties. As a result, the coating is more robust and exhibits very high stability in waterborne automotive applications. Furthermore, the novel metallic effect pigments have improved optical properties and thus excellent overall performance.

In practice, this means that the award-winning technology and product group give suppliers and manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive industry a considerable degree of additional flexibility in their use of water-based coatings.

The innovation permits more robust formulation processes on the part of users in the supplier industry; among other things, they have significantly more freedom and security, for example with regard to the binders used. In actual applications, including in rim coating, the pigments’ optimized performance results in more robust, longer-lasting products without the typical weak points.

A jury from all of ALTANA’s divisions had selected the new ECKART development for the award. In addition to the actual innovation, the decisive criteria were the related creativity, cost-effectiveness and, above all, sustainability.

“The winning team impressively demonstrated the great innovative strength characteristic of ALTANA. It is particularly noteworthy that the award-winning solution is already successfully asserting itself on the market. Given the growing market for water-based coatings, the innovation has a trendsetting effect for the entire industry because it offers interesting perspectives for everyone involved,” explains Dr. Petra Severit, Chief Technology Officer of ALTANA.

The ALTANA Innovation Award, with which the specialty chemicals company recognizes outstanding research achievements on the part of its employees, was presented this year for the ninth time.

The award-winning technology gives the automotive industry a considerable
degree of additional flexibility in their use of water-based coatings.

ALTANA is a global leader in true specialty chemicals. The Group offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions 

for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and packaging industries, the cosmetics sector and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments. ALTANA's four divisions, BYK, ECKART, ELANTAS, and ACTEGA, all occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation and service.

Headquartered in Wesel, Germany, the ALTANA Group has 48 production facilities and 65 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the Group more than 6,500 people work to ensure the worldwide success of ALTANA. In 2020, 
ALTANA achieved sales of about € 2.2 billion. About 7 percent of sales is invested in research and development every year. Its high earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the most innovative, fastest growing, and profitable chemical companies in the world.

The ECKART Group, a company of ALTANA AG, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of effect pigments. With 1,750 employees worldwide, the group develops, produces and distributes metallic effect and pearlescent pigments in powder, paste and pellet form as well as concentrates, dispersions and printing inks. ECKART products are used in the coatings and printing industries, the plastics and autoclaved aerated concrete industries as well as in cosmetic products. In the future, ECKART will also drive the optimisation and development of metal powders for 3D printing, thus opening up new areas of application. ECKART is present in over 70 countries.