As a long time leader in concrete coloring agents, Solomon Colors has developed a groundbreaking method for granulating pigment. Through this innovation, the company aims to offer a high-quality granular pigment that can be used in any system, with support and capacity to satisfy high volume demand. The new granular pigment is now in use in block and paver plants around North America.
|Years of process and product testing underlie the ColorFlo SG Granular equipment Solomon Colors has built at its central Illinois flagship.|
Traditionally, concrete masonry producers had the choice of spray-dried, build-up, and compacted granulated pigments. Though using a different granulation process, pigment manufacturers each had the capacity to create a similar final product. The industry first saw spray-dried granules in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The spray dried method utilized powdered pigment and a liquid component that was evaporated and precipitated into granules. Developed later, compacted and build-up pigments use mechanical processing and additives to granulate powdered feed. Since then, granular pigments’ place in the industry has grown significantly to become the dominant mode for manufactured concrete products.
Solomon Colors’ development represents the latest advancement in the space. The company unveiled a new patent-pending pigment granulation method at the beginning of 2019. Through a hybrid approach, pigment is granulated using a chemical additive package in combination with a proprietary mechanical process. The pigment is then dried, graded and packaged for use in zero or conventional slump concrete. Solomon Colors has branded the product ColorFlo SG Granular.
The unique method behind ColorFlo SG Granular creates a product similar to existing materials, yet unique in a few key respects. The process yields a granulated pigment that is resilient during shipping and conveyance, meaning it will not readily dust or produce undesirable fines. However, this same product is shown to fully disperse after mixing, even in low shear applications resulting in complete color development without any special precautions. Benchmarked against premium spray-dried colors during development, ColorFlo SG Granular consistently achieves satisfactory results in the field; notably, it is fully compatible with all known dosing systems in the block and paver industry. ColorFlo SG Granular works equally well with pneumatic, slurry, and belt conveyance. It also has been tested and demonstrated to work well in non-ideal, high slump applications where granules can see dispersion challenges.
Beyond the extensive field trials, the ColorFlo SG Granular pigment is nearing a complete season of full-scale usage in block and paver operations around the country. Major producers, notes Solomon Colors Iron Oxides Category Manager Todd Holyfield, “report excellent results using SG granulated products. Take a look at the firms that have switched from other vendors. These are companies the entire industry recognizes.” A number of large-scale block and paver producers have adopted ColorFlo SG Granular as their primary coloring product with good success, and customer experiences through this first production season bode well for continued adoption of the brand, he adds.
ColorFlo SG Granular pigment users have the same level of support to which ColorFlo liquid accounts are accustomed, Solomon Colors affirms. Service technicians are readily available to assist customers with all types of pigment dosing systems, on location and via hotline, for setup and troubleshooting. Furthermore, lab technicians are on hand for custom blending and color matching services. Even when a product becomes commoditized, a comprehensive level of service and support is not universal among vendors and can make or break the success of an arrangement.
For block and paver producers, acquiring pigment in the necessary quantities with desirable lead times has become a challenge. Ramping up to full production volume in early 2019, Solomon Colors’ new granulation process and advanced facility at Springfield, Ill., headquarters promise to answer this significant issue facing the market. With good granular pigment production capacity in a domestic setting, management notes, Solomon Colors is well positioned to reliably meet demands and fulfill color orders. By shortening supply chains and partnering with dedicated and flexible suppliers, concrete products manufacturers can gain efficiencies and improve their bottom line. — Solomon Colors, Springfield, Ill., 800/624-0261; www.solomoncolors.com