| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free eResource: Safety in Coatings Work.

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Car Pigment Back on the Road in Japan

Monday, May 16, 2011

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

Glittering new cars will return to the world’s roads, as Merck has resumed production of the critical pigment additive Xirallic, which is made only at the company’s facility in Japan.

Normal operations at the Xirallic production site in Onahama resumed May 8, the company announced last week. The company also said it would expand production of the additive to a facility in Germany, to avert future supply interruptions.

Japan’s catastrophic tsunami of March 11 severely damaged the plant, 28 miles from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station, and forced the evacuation of employees and area residents. The plant was shut down indefinitely for repairs, interrupting automotive manufacturing worldwide.

Car Makers Impacted

Xirallic is an enhanced aluminum oxide added to pigments and sold to paint companies worldwide. The metallic additive gives a glittering shine to red, black and other paint colors and is made exclusively in the Onahama plant.

 Ford SUV

Tuxedo Black—Henry Ford’s favorite color—will return to Ford products.

The cut-off in Xirallic supplies and other shortages affected manufacturing at Toyota Motors, Chrysler LLC, GM, Ford Motor and other car makers. All told, automakers were expected to lose production of about 600,000 vehicles globally.

Ford cut off orders for vehicles in Tuxedo Black and three variations of red. Chrysler Group LLC restricted orders on vehicles in 10 colors, including two variations of black and three of red.

John Krafcik, head of North America for Hyundai Motor, told Reuters News Service that the company would begin using mineral mica instead of Xirallic paint. And Honda told the news agency that it was looking for a suitable replacement for the paint and to reconfigure its model line with alternative exterior paints.

Repairs Ahead of Schedule

The plant began recovery and repair work on April 4 and completed the work ahead of schedule, Merck said in a statement.

“Merck is continually monitoring all public directives regarding radiation levels in order to ensure the safety of its employees,” the company said in a statement. “The company is also testing the products being shipped from Merck Japan to ensure that they comply fully with all regulations and safety standards.”

Merck said that it had made “exceptional progress” in restoring the plant’s external infrastructure and that the company expected to return to its regular production output in June.

New Facility Planned

Merck also announced that it would establish a second production line for Xirallic effect pigments. That plant, in Germany, will offer additional capacity for Xirallic by the end of 2011, boosting future supply reliability for those products as of 2012. The location of the German plant was not disclosed.

“Our top priority is to ensure as soon as possible an uninterrupted supply of Xirallic pigments to our customers around the world,” said Peter Halas, head of Pigments & Cosmetics for Merck. “The resumption of production in Onahama is a major milestone toward this objective.”

He added: “I would like to thank our employees in Japan for their tremendous efforts and express my appreciation for their outstanding engagement. Xirallic products remain a pillar of our Pigments business. The measures and the progress that we have made in recent weeks underscore this commitment.”

Automakers Reviewing Supply Chain

More than pigments were affected by the quake and tsunami.  Parts shortages halted or impeded production by automakers and suppliers, and many have begun reviewing parts-supply lines, The Detroit News reports.

"Many vehicle manufacturers are taking a close look at single-sourcing scenarios," Michael Robinet, an analyst at forecast firm IHS Automotive, told the newspaper.


Tagged categories: Additives; Automotive coatings; Pigments

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/23/2011, 9:13 AM)

One of the biggest dangers of "just in time" supply chains. What happens when there is a supply disruption? Will that disruption cost you more in both sales and reputation than if you had warehoused material?

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

New resins from BASF will have metals loving water:

Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films

International Paint LLC
Premium Low VOC Polyurethane Finish

AkzoNobel introduces Interthane 990V as a 250 g/l HAPS free polyurethane with outstanding color and gloss retention. 990V is fast curing and applicator friendly.

Wasser High-Tech Coatings Inc.
Wasser Coatings Protect

Wasser Coatings offer a complete range of Moisture Cure Urethane (NEPCOAT approved) systems in addition to Polyurea membranes and linings(NSF).

Carboline Company
Fireproofing Solutions

Pyroclad® X1 Thermo-Lag® Pyrocrete® – protecting against hydrocarbon and jet fires, explosions, and cryogenic spills.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC

A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

Polyval Coatings
Polyflex® Polyurea Linings

Polyflex™ new Polyurea Geotextile Membrane System has been specifically engineered to protect the environment in containment applications.

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings

With 4,000 distribution points and 3,700+ years of experience, Sherwin-Williams delivers the products, support and expertise you need, right where you need it.

Jessup Manufacturing Company
More Traction for Extreme Marine Conditions

Jessup Safety Track® 3800 Military Grade peel-and-stick non-skid tapes and treads provide extra slip resistance for decks. MIL-PRF-24467C Type XI, Black & Gray.

Chicago Corrosion Group
Vendor-neutral corrosion consulting

What you don’t know about painting is costing you a fortune. Call today to see how CCG’s vendor-neutral, owner’s advocacy saves our clients millions.

Midsun Specialty Products
Stopaq 30+ Year Coatings

Use Stopaq corrosion prevention coatings on pipelines, field joints, tank chimes, structural steel and more. Learn more at

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail