Pearlescent pigments are fluorescent or phosphorescent-based pigments, also known as shine pigments. The basic difference between a pigment and dye is that a pigment is insoluble in water and most solvents, while dyes are soluble in liquids. Pigment coated surfaces are more resistant than dye coated surfaces. Pearlescent pigments exhibit pearl like shine when applied on surfaces and coated with metallic oxide or mica. These pigments have a transparent appearance and higher refractive coefficient. Inherent properties of these pigments include high resistance to acid, temperature and ultraviolet radiations. Unique properties of these materials make them suitable for use across a wide array of applications. Addition of pearlescent pigment in any colour produces different visual effects or metallic shade finish, which makes them highly preferable in the coatings industry.
Pearlescent pigments are not harmful to humans as compared to other pigments and hence can be used in food packaging applications. Advancements in research and development to widen the scope of application of these pigments in manufacturing sector. Pearlescent pigments find applications in the automotive, prints, plastics and industrial coatings industries. Packaging automotive sectors are other key end-use market for pearlescent pigments. In developed economies such as the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.K., the pearlescent pigment market is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR of around 7% to 9%. However, with growth in the automotive and FMCG sector in Asia-Pacific, the pearlescent pigments market is expected to grow above the global average CAGR and reach double-digit figures. Emerging markets such as India are likely to remain the epicentre of growth for pearlescent coating. There are over 2000 players operating in the US $ 1.5 billion Indian paint and coatings market. India manufactures approximately five million vehicle units annually. The Indian auto market reported a growth of 16% to 18% at a time when the global automobile industry witnessed a slowdown. India along with other emerging markets such as China and Brazil to witness strong demand for pearlescent coatings.
Packaging is considered an important element of a product as it effectively aids and influences buying tendencies in customers these days. Asia accounts for 36% of the global packaging market, half of which is within the purview of the food industry. Global food retail sales are expected to move above US $ 4 trillion in 2015. Asia-Pacific is the largest consumer in the food industry and this is expected to witness an upward trend. Increasing globalization and changing reforms have been the prime trend influencing the pigments market, with the epicentre of the paint manufacturing and coatings industry shifting to the cost-efficient Asian markets.
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Some market players are BASF SE, Cristal, Brenntag Specialties, Inc., Huaian Concord Industrial Product Co., Ltd., Spectra Colours Ltd., Merck Performance Materials, Lansco Colors, Sun Chemical and other chemicals and paint manufacturing companies. These companies are adopting practices that will reduce energy consumption in pigment manufacturing process. In addition, multinational pigment producers are also opting for environment friendly pigments production. One of such measure is minimizing the use of water. A huge amount of water is wasted in the production process of pigments, which these companies are trying to curb and engage in novel, sustainable as well as safe methods for creating pearl effects in pigments.
Pearlescent pigments enhance the aesthetics of objects, components, packaging or surfaces, making them widely preferable products. These pigments deliver distinctive value to customers and defines uniqueness. These factors cumulatively are anticipated to drive the demand for pearlescent pigment in the global market.
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