Any tint you’d like

coatings-p34Tinting is the mixture of tint bases and colourants or pastes, however, achieving that colour is a process of stringent controls. We speak to the expert tinting companies behind this technology.

Q: Explain the factors that will influence the success of a tinting system?

Rolfes Colour Pigments (RCP): There are six factors that will influence the consistency and accuracy of a tinting system:

  1. Paint: It is the responsibility of the paint manufacturer to ensure that the strength, tone and filling level of the tint bases are consistent. There are so many factors that that could influence the consistency of a tint base. In an ideal world the paint manufacturer should never change any raw materials in a tint base formulation. The manufacturing conditions should remain the same batch after batch by using the same pot, mixer, mixing speed and mixing time – but that’s in an ideal world.
  2. Colourant: The colourant manufacturer should adhere to the same rules by producing consistent colourants and should also not change raw materials and manufacturing conditions. At Rolfes Colour Pigments we still manufacture the colourants on the same formulations on the same milling machines that it was originally designed on. When we make changes to a product, formulation or milling machine we sell it as a new or different product. We also have very tight tolerances for the shade and strengths of our products.
  3. Tinting machine: The 3rd factor that has an effect on the accuracy of a tinting system is the tinting machine itself. There are many different products on the market and they can all do the job very well. The main issue on a tinting machine is maintenance. It is vital that the machine is well maintained and serviced every six months. The nozzles should be cleaned on a daily basis and all the canisters should be closed or sealed properly. It is impossible for a poorly maintained machine to tint accurately.
  4. Recipe: It is good to have the paint, colourant and machine, but without a recipe it will be very difficult to tint a specific shade. At Rolfes Colour Pigments our staff can provide customised recipes for tinting thousands of different colours. Our laboratory provides ongoing support to all the retails stores that are using our products.
  5. Colour cards: We offer colour chips and fan-decks from NCS. At Rolfes Colour Pigments we print customised names on the colour chips and cut the chips to any size required by the customer. We also offer customised fan-decks. With the latest colour readers on the market we offer a cost effective way to measure a sample and obtain a recipe from the recipe files loaded at the retail stores.
  6. Training: It is good to have all of the above in place, but without the proper training the system will not function properly. At Rolfes Colour Pigments we are always willing to provide training and assistance to ensure the success of your tinting system. We also offer practical colour training to sales, laboratory and tinting staff for paint manufacturers as well as retail stores.

Q: Explain what role colourants and additives play in the colour, durability and resilience in the end product of paint?

Chromaflo: The colourant used will have an effect on the performance of the end product. The pigments and additives used in the manufacturing of colourants are key to ensuring a stable colourant that is both compatible with the base paint and enhances the end product performance. The next stage is the combination of colourants used to produce the colour, these need to be logical and optimal to ensure maximum performance and prevent fading, and of course ensuring colour accuracy.

RCP: The colour pastes (colourants) in any tinting system can directly influence the quality of the tinted paint. It not only influences the shade and tone of the final colour but also the durability in terms of light fastness, weather fastness and alkali resistance to name a few. These three properties in a colourant are directly related to the pigment used in the colourant. The properties from the pigment are determined by the specific chemistry of each pigment. The chemical composition of some pigments like Yellow Iron Oxide ensures excellent light- and weather fastness as well as alkali resistance.

Other pigments such as Diarylide Yellow are chemically completely different and will not have the same durability properties. Unfortunately durable pigments are not available across the entire colour space and the industry is running some risks in painting certain colours for exterior applications.

Q: What differentiates tinting machines in the market?

Chromaflo: Chromaflo work closely with all machine producers, these include Hero, Corob, Fast & Fluid Management and Santint. All machines have their advantages and disadvantages. The two key important factors are ensuring the machines are locally supported and how the tinting software aligns with the machine; Chromaflo Innovatint software can effectively drive all major machine manufacturers’ models.

RCP: There are a number of different types and designs available in the market. The POS colourants manufactured by Rolfes Colour Pigments (Amazon Colours) are compatible and stable in all the different machines. We still prefer the LargoTint software as a POS software, because it is extremely easy to work with and it can operate on all the machines available on the market.

Q: What are the advantages of the technology in tinting machines?

Chromaflo: Machines are essential to tinting; particularly at point-of-sale where weighing in colourants is simply not practical. Automatic machines are highly accurate at dosing low levels of colourant that are needed for colour accuracy particularly when tinting into 1-litre amounts. Manual machines are useful, but are at a far higher risk of human error

RCP: Without a tinting machine, manual or automatic, it will be impossible to tint the colours accurately.

Q: What are the advantages of the technology in your dose-measuring machine?

Lejn: We represent Fast & Fluid Management (FFM) , a market leader with an installed base of more than 200 000 dispensers, mixers and shakers worldwide. FFM is known for its Harbil dispensers, which for decades have been a reliable line of dispensers featuring Piston Pump technology. The advantage of this technology is that it is proven, reliable and precise. Furthermore it is compatible with universal, waterborne and solvent based colourants and it performs in the most severe conditions.

FFM dispensers with Piston Pump Technology provide a low maintenance solution. And, no calibration or recalibration is required. All in all the tinting solution with the lowest TCO in the market.

Q: How important is it for the tinting supplier to work with the paint manufacturer to ensure accuracy?

Chromaflo: It is absolutely crucial that the colourant company and the paint manufacturer work closely together. A significant amount of technical work is needed to ensure compatibility between products and that the strength levels of bases are accurate and well maintained by the paint manufacturer. Without the necessary technical work and controls in place the colours coming out in the end will not be accurate or consistent – ultimately that is the point of a tinting system.

RCP: It is like a marriage. It is vital that both parties work together, have mutual respect and communicate openly.

Q: What new technologies will be entering the local market in 2016?

Chromaflo: Chromaflo is always looking to develop new systems to satisfy and enhance the quality required in the market. Current new system developments will be commercialised in 2016 for industrial and decorative point of sale and decorative in plant tinting.  There are more technically advanced colourants currently available for specialist applications.

RCP: Our VOC free tinting system has been available for almost two years. We will also grow our lead free colourant range to replace lead chrome pigments for the industrial coatings. The lead free pigments are more difficult to process and not all paint manufacturers have the correct equipment. For this reason we will improve and increase our lead free colourant range. Our transparent iron oxide range has also been improved for tinting wood varnishes.

Q: Colourants are a key component of tinting system. How has the colourant market changed?

Chromaflo: The opportunity to produce colours accurately and immediately is something the paint manufacturer is starting to understand more and more outside of point of sale and replicating this in the factory through the use of colourant technology. The benefits include reduced wastage, reduced downtime, a better understanding of costs and essentially creating a more efficient production environment to support growth without the need to invest in large scale plant machinery. The concept of tinting is therefore becoming more wide spread in the production environment.

Lejn: Late 1950s the growing demand for custom colours opened the market for colourant tinting systems. In 1980 we saw the first initiatives to reduce VOCs in colourants leading to APE and VOC free colourants in the 1990s. This created a challenge for paint dispensers as these colourants tend to be more abrasive and long term unstable. Another consequence is nozzle tip drying, which followed issue-free dispensing. New generations of dispensers and improved pumps, nozzle closures, stirrers and controls were introduced in the 2000s.

Colourants composition will continue to change, driven by governmental regulations and customer environmental awareness.  To be able to develop future proof solutions, Fast & Fluid works closely together with the colourant industry.

Q: What new technologies are we seeing in the colourant segment?

Chromaflo: The range of colorants currently available is significant, whilst a tinting system utilises 16 colorants, Chromaflo has several hundred colourants to select from to create unique and optimised systems. Software has improved dramatically over the past decade with current software utilising the Internet to create more benefits to the user and the paint manufacturer. You have the ability to see what is happening in real-time at store level, send and receive second by second updates and as a result ensure any formulation improvements are immediately populated to the market.

Q: What are the key components of colourants and what impact can this have on the final product?

Chromaflo: Colourants are manufactured using pigments, resins and surfactants.  The use of which will determine, colouristic accuracy, colourant performance and the level of environmental friendliness being provided by the colourant.

Q: Are heavy metals still a big part of the colourant manufacturing process?

Chromaflo: Certainly not at Chromaflo Africa, we do not produce any colourants that contain lead, further we have APE free, Low VOC and lower VOC industrial systems.

RCP: It depends what you classify as a heavy metal. Products such as Yellow Oxide contain iron and green colourants contain copper, but the compounds of these heavy metals are not hazardous. Other heavy metals such as lead are classified as hazardous and are not used in the South African decorative market. Lead containing products are still used in industrial applications such as road marking paints. We expect more industrial applications to move away from lead containing products in the next few years.

Q: How do we start removing heavy metals from colourants in the local market?

RCP: One can only remove hazardous heavy metals from a colourant by formulating a new colourant on a completely different pigment. Which means you will end up with a new colourant with different properties. Today, replacing lead is still a huge challenge.

Currently there are no lead free pigments available in the market that has the same price, opacity and durability as the lead chrome pigments used in industrial applications. This means that the colourant manufacturers have to improvise to get as close as possible. At Rolfes Colour Pigments we are constantly investigating ways to improve our lead free range. Unfortunately, most of the time lead free products are more expensive.

Q: How can a paint manufacturer select their ideal tinting system?

Chromaflo: Talk to Chromaflo Technologies Africa, one of the largest colourant companies in the world.

RCP: Proudly South African, Rolfes Colour Pigments has been a leading pigment and colourant producer for many years. We will always provide the technical assistance together with the machine supplier to design the ideal tinting system for all potential customers.

Lejn: There are a number of elements that play a critical role in the selection of the ideal dispenser:

  1. Colorant type:
    a) Universal
    b) Waterborne
    c) Solvent based
  1. Colorant system:
    a) Amount of canisters needed
    b)Size of canisters
  1. Volume (capacity) & frequency (continuity):
    a) The amount of tinted paint in combination the intervals between tinting jobs
  1. Footprint:
    a) The optimal size of the dispenser in relation to the available space at the location
  1. TCO – Maintenance cost:
    a) Minimal amount of mistints
    b) No calibrations or recalibrations
    c) Minimal service and repair cost

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POS Tinting by Lejn

The offering of a tinting system is no longer a point of differentiation, but a requirement to complete the range and remain competitive. With falling margins and shoppers purchasing more on price, the tinting bay still provides the opportunity to make more margins on paint and tie-in a consumer to your store.

Accuracy and repeatability are two of the most sought after characteristics when it comes to point of service (POS) tinting, colouring and dispensing technologies. Whether it’s the tints and colourants that give the paint the exact shade desired, or the equipment that dispenses the paint into the can, paint manufacturers and retailers need to be confident that their customers are walking away with the exact colour they selected. Lejn’s systems are an integral part of its customers’ process and as such the company’s units need to be, above all, accurate, but they must also be reliable to deliver results day in and day out.

Users of POS equipment and technology are looking for durable, user-friendly equipment that offers maximum repeatability and high accuracy of dispensing from companies that offer reliable technical support.

A new development and a concern of users of POS colourants is environmental compliance. Formulators are looking for no-VOC and APE-free colorants, making it more important to have a reliable efficient machine. As colourant lines move toward lower VOC and low or no glycol, drying out of the colorant in the tinting machine is becoming more crucial. The selection of the correct equipment is therefore essential to prevent blockages in pipes and nozzles.

FFM has invested heavily in research and development to ensure optimal performance of its products now and in the future while maintaining the lowest total cost of ownership in the market.


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