The Basics Behind Fluorescent Pigments

Pigments bring color to our world, whether it is the packaging and publications we buy, the plastics we use, and the paints and coatings we see on cars, homes and much more.

Fluorescent pigments are specialty luminescent colors and found wherever it is especially critical to catch a person’s eye. While we may think of packaging, there are even more critical uses. For example, safety wear for construction workers has to be noticeable to catch the eye of drivers.

We see that fluorescents bring exceptional ‘pop’ to colored applications. Fluorescent pigments and dyes are activated by light, notably UV, which creates colors more brilliant than conventional colors.

That is where Brilliant Group comes in. Brilliant offers a broad range of specialty fluorescent pigments to suit numerous end use applications. Brilliant offers dry pigments, water-based dispersions, fine particle water-based emulsions, paste ink bases, and soluble toners for either water or solvent inks.

Fluorescents come in many different colors, but what differentiates fluorescent pigments are the polymers that are used to manufacture them. In essence, fluorescent pigments are solid state solutions of fluorescent dyes. Without the polymer, the dyes won't fluoresce in many applications.

Brilliant's technology revolves around creating polymers that allow the dyes to remain bright and fluorescent and still function in various applications such as coatings, inks, plastics, etc. The different series are based on a range of different polymers Brilliant created, using different manufacturing techniques, so that they are best suited to a given application and impart properties such as solvent resistance, thermal stability, etc.

Brilliant formulates its fluorescent pigments with a variety of custom-tailored polymers. Formaldehyde is one of the most common components used in the formulation of polymers for fluorescent colors. However, formaldehyde is also a chemical of concern and carries an associated regulatory and labeling burden.

Some of Brilliant’s pigments contain formaldehyde, and some do not, and Brilliant offers a series of non-formaldehyde formulations, such as its various BNF Series for plastics, textiles, plastisols and other applications. The fluorescent emulsions and soluble toners for water inks, as well as the liquid vinyl colorant, are also formaldehyde free.

Ultimately, the chemical nature of the pigment selected depends upon the most important properties in a given end use application. In the case of formaldehyde vs. non-formaldehyde pigments, the former tend to have better solvent resistance and, in some pigment types, better migration resistance. The formaldehyde-based pigments are also typically lower cost. In the end, users select the appropriate pigment based on performance and regulatory requirements specific to their application.

In addition to colored daylight fluorescent pigments, Brilliant makes Invisible Blue in traditional thermoset (formaldehyde-type) dry pigment, offset and UV ink bases, as well as non-formaldehyde dry pigment form. These are commonly used in marking applications where a visible marker is not desired, but a UV-activated marker is.

Specific to ink applications, Brilliant has fluorescent colors for solvent-based flexo, gravure and screen inks; water-based flexo inks; solvent-based inkjet ink and toners; conventional offset inks; and UV inks.

For example, in the case of solvent-based inks, customers will typically use Brilliant’s BSR series thermoset pigments and disperse them into the ink. For water-based inks such as flexo, customers commonly use Brilliant’s BSTW water-soluble toner and actually solubilize the colorant into the ink. In the case of UV-based inks, customers will either use Brilliant’s BIB2 ink base concentrate and dilute with monomers and oligomers, or, they may use BSTS solvent-soluble toner and solubilize it into the ink.

In summary, Brilliant Group offers a broad range of fluorescent products for printing ink applications. Whether you require dry colors for liquid inks or plastisol inks, soluble toners for high strength flexo applications, or paste concentrates for conventional and UV systems, Brilliant has the right fluorescent product for you!

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