WESEL, Germany – 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 capor 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 inter-coat adhesion and anti-flocculation 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,” explained 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.

Learn more about ALTANA at www.altana.com.