Effect pigments are those that exhibit special effects to various substrates in order to enhance its quality and to make it comparatively attractive to consumers. These pigments display a wide range of properties such as an effect pigment can demonstrate color travel, they can reflect or refract light, they can act as a mirror and they can exhibit multiple color effect wherein the process is known as iridescence. There are various types of effect pigments including coated substrates, polymer stacks, helicons, mirrors and metal salt stacks. Coated substrates include pearls, polymer stacks comprises iridescent film, mirrors consists of metallic flakes and BiOCl, and metal salt stacks comprises OVP’s.
Effect pigments are employed by various end user industries including the fashion industry and the automotive industry among others. Effect pigments are usually laminar which means they have to be a flat surface. In addition, effect pigments can be either synthetic or natural. These effect pigments can be removed after the desired effect is created to make another effect pigment. Moreover, in most cases the effect pigments utilized are transparent in nature. Effect pigments can be applied on various substrates including kaolin, mica, glass flake and fluorophlogopite among others. For decorative purposes, special effects pigments exhibit three advantages; they are capable of creating an illusion of optical depth, effect pigments can generate startling to subtle angle –depending color effects and these pigments are capable of displaying the natural pearls effect on plastic bottles, buttons and other decorative purposes. A wide range of pigments that generate special effects such as decorative textures or angle dependent color have growing economic importance and are found in various end user applications and industrial products.
Some of the key drivers for the effect pigments market include emerging fashion trends, automotive and the consumer market. In addition, rapid growth in urbanization, the paints and the coatings market and building material and plastic industry have also been boosting the market for effect pigments. The demand for effect pigments is expected to be the highest in developing countries. These effect pigments are mainly used in the automotive industry due to its durable properties and special effects feature. The market for automotives in developing countries along with the plastic, paint and coatings industry is growing at a rapid pace especially in emerging economies like India and China and hence the demand for effect pigments is anticipated to be high in these countries. The main setbacks of the effect pigment industry are coping with continuous globalization, markets that are mature in a few applications and regions and the excess production of commodity pigments. The adverse environmental effects effect pigments cause can be a restrain for its market especially in Europe. However due to the lack of stringent regulations in Asia Pacific countries especially in countries like India and China, effect pigments are used produced and used on a large scale.
The most widely used pigments are manufactured from titanium, platinum, silver etc... The largest manufactures of effect pigments is China, followed by North America and finally Europe. Demand for effect pigments is seen to be declining in western countries while demand in Asian countries is increasing especially in China. The effect pigment market is mature in Japan and is not likely to increase by a huge margin over the next few years. However, the consumption of effect pigments is expected to grow significantly in India and China in the near future.
Some of the key companies that manufacture effect pigments include BASF SE, Bayer AG, Atlanta and Siberline Manufacturing Co., Inc. among other companies.
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