2 July 2021

Every year, the ALTANA Innovation Award honors the mostpromising 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.