ECKART - Special effects

The ECKART Group is the world-leading manufacturer of metallic inks and effect pigments for the printing industry. Part of ALTANA, a global supplier of special chemical products, the ECKART division is where ALTANA's skills are combined in the production of effect pigments for the coatings, plastics, cosmetics and graphic art industries.

ECKART is active all over the world and employs around 1,800 staff - 1,400 of whom work in Germany. The company's headquarters are located in Güntersthal, near Hartenstein, where a large part of the effect pigment research and development activities are concentrated. ECKART has also established premises in other countries in order to serve regional markets directly. This includes plants the US, China, Switzerland and Finland.

The development of new solutions is also an inherent focus of the company's future strategy. Another aim is to consolidate and expand its global market position, especially in Asia and South America. Through the systematic expansion of the existing product portfolio of metal pigments and inks to include special effect pigments, ECKART is able to offer its clients a comprehensive range of products, based on effect pigments, for a wide variety of applications. The product portfolio spans aluminium, special glass and PVD pigments, metal pigments, gold bronze, iron, stainless steel and zinc pigments, and ready-to-use metallic printing inks.

Common raw materials for the production of effect pigments include metals like aluminium, copper and zinc. Metal effect and special effect pigments in powder, paste and pellet form or concentrates, dispersions and printing inks are used in a wide range of markets, such as the graphic art, paint and plastics industries, as well as for chemical reactions in aerated concrete and the pyrotechnic industry. Another field is the cosmetics sector.

Customers use ECKART products in order to achieve visual effects and special functional applications.

Use in graphic arts production

ECKART products have been a firm feature of the graphics industry for years, and are used to print and finish packaging, labels, magazines, catalogues and other advertising materials. Solutions are available for all printing processes, whether gravure, offset, flexo, screen or digital printing. For shimmering pearlescent effects, glass pigments and synthetic mica-based pigments are ideal. Especially for digital printing, the company has become the world's first supplier to include UV-curable inks in its portfolio alongside solvent-based inks.

Marketed under the name JETFLUID, the metallic inks are suitable for most standard piezo print heads and can be integrated easily into the existing printing process. For this, another colour channel with separate RIP software control is required. The print speed is comparable to other process inks and no special machine or additional circulation system is required.

One of the latest innovations is the UV or LED-curing metallic digital ink JETFLUID UV. This is used in wide-format, flatbed and single-pass label printing. The glass pearlescent pigments in the LUXAN range are also a new development by ECKART. The LUXAN pigments are distinguished by their high transparency and strong luminance.

To demonstrate the options available to brand owners, designers and printers, ECKART has created packaging for a lip balm. The folding carton packaging was printed on a Roland 707 with a chambered doctor blade system. The finish of the 300g cardboard box is particularly impressive. The TerraEffekt pearlescent coating produced by another member of the ALTANA Group, ACTEGA, forms the base. A combination of LUXAN D393 pearlescent pigment and STANDART L900 rich gold bronze powder has been incorporated. The product itself was applied via a sheet-fed offset printing press. The result is an impressive and lustrous gold colour that can certainly hold its own in comparison with real gold bronzing.

LUXAN pigments are not only available in gold and silver, but also in blue, green and red. ECKART offers LUXAN pigments in four different sizes, from 65 to 450µm. With the innovative LUXAN pigments, the sky is the limit in packaging finishes. ?

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ECKART created the lip balm packaging to showcase its products.
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