Organic color pigments are materials which alter the color of transmitted or reflected light due to wavelength absorption. The process differs from phosphorescence, fluorescence and other types of luminescence, in which a material emits light. These pigments are used for the production of printing inks and are derived from the derivatives of coal tars, hence generally referred to as “Coal Tar Colors”, as compared to inorganic color pigments which are produced from mineral sources.
Unlike inorganic color pigments, organic color pigments are described chemically by their complex ring structures. On the basis of their class, organic color pigments are segmented into azo pigments, high performance pigments, and phthalocyanines among others, where azo pigments dominate the industry. However, azo pigments along with phthalocyanines are also known by their limited profit margins due to strong competition from lower priced imports, while other pigments such as high performance pigments are known for having higher profit margins.
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On the basis of applications, organic color pigments are widely used in plastics, textiles, coatings and printing inks among others, where printing ink leads the industry. In addition to these, organic color pigments are also used in the automotive industry. After the global economic slowdown in 2009, the global market for automotives started to rise again, which has also been a prominent factors for the growing demand for organic color pigments.
The global market for organic color pigments has been witnessing a noticeable increase due to growth of its application industries. The overall global industry for pigments manufactures significant amount of extender, colorant, and functional pigments for wide range of consumer and industrial applications.
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The relocation of the pigments market towards emerging economies such as Asia Pacific, particularly India and China has been a major trend observed in the industry. Since the past few decades, production of these pigments has rapidly increased in India and China with the latter becoming the largest manufacturer of organic color pigments, particularly for commodity pigments.
However, the production scenario in emerging regions and economies such as United States, Europe and Japan is expected to be on a downward trend due to certain factors such as globalization of the market as well as reduction in profit margins resulting in plant restructurings and shutdowns. Moreover, as more finished pigments are being imported from China, market trends such as imports of unfinished pigments to Japan, Europe and North America for finishing is expected to fall down over the next few years.
Emerging economies such as China serves as the leading supplier of yellow and red azo pigments as well as their intermediates, while India is the leading manufacturer of green and blue phthalocyanine pigments and their intermediates. Over the years, the ink industries in Europe and North America have become largely dependent on raw materials and pigments from suppliers in Asia Pacific. In addition, prices of certain pigments have risen sharply due to several disruptions in the supply chain management of the raw materials.
The fluctuation in the supply of the raw materials is likely to continue further as environmental practices of manufacturers in emerging economies such as India are expected to come under observation of various governmental bodies. This could lead to the closure of certain small and medium scale and non-complying manufacturers.
Akzo Nobel N.V., Aarbor International Corporation, BASF SE, Pidilite Industries Limited and Toyo Color are some of the key manufacturers of organic color pigments present in the industry.
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