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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 9

I Introduction

II The Australian Chemical Industry

III Pharmaceuticals

IV Chemists In Other Industries

V The Dawn Of Modern Chemical Industry - High Pressure Synthesis

VI The Growth Of Synthetic Chemicals - Concentration, Rationalisation And International Links

VII Australian Industrial Chemical Research Laboratories

VIII The Plastics Industry

IX The Paint Industry
i The pioneers
ii The early years - home- and trade-made paints
iii Industrial manufacture
iv Some important developments in the 1920s and 30s
v Rapid growth in the 1950s and 60s
vi Some Australian inventions
vii Recent trends
viii Pigments manufacture
ix Trends in the chemical industry in the 1980s

X Acknowledgements



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Pigments manufacture

Some monomers and speciality pigments are very scale sensitive, hence they were not produced in Australia and are likely to be imported in the future, too. Others were made here. Thus zinc oxide (Durham Chemicals); lead chrome (Taubmans and Dulux); clays and titanium dioxide were and are still manufactured in Australia, the latter by Tioxide, Australia, and Laporte, Australia.

The earliest pigments produced locally by Charles Atkins Pty. Ltd., near Melbourne, were probably toluidine scarlets and Hansa yellows. The range of pigments was expanded by Smith Reichhold Colours Pty. Ltd. at Botany, utilising the technology of S. H. Smith of the UK and the Reichhold Chemical Company of the USA to manufacture toluidine scarlets, Hansa yellows, the ink pigments benzidene yellows, 2-B and 4-B toners and some lake red C toners. Local production was further increased when in 1961 ICI Australia[144] commissioned a pigment plant at Laverton, adding the complete range of alpha-form and beta-phthalocyanine blues, halogenated phthalocyanine greens, naphthol reds, azo greens and lithol toners.

Early pigment manufacture had been largely empirical, but when the above plants were constructed, recent advances were incorporated in all three plants. The ICI Laverton plant took a new finishing process directly from the laboratory to full plant scale. The process had been developed in Australia, proved a complete success and was eventually also applied overseas. A joint company, Pigments Manufacturers of Australia was then formed in 1970 by ICI Australia and BASF Australia; it incorporated both parent companies' and the locally developed know-how.

Most solvents used in the paint industry are also produced in Australia as are the most important plasticisers and their intermediates; they are part of the chemical industry (see pp 714-6).

To anyone but a paint chemist a survey of the development of the industry in Australia, inseparable as it is from the enumeration of a rapid succession of polymeric systems, must be a tour de force. Yet, it is illustrative to the generalist, too. It demonstrates the complexity of a constant flow of know-how, based essentially on international technology, with which local industry, in effect only a small band of technologists and scientists, had to cope if they wished to remain competitive. The Australian paint industry obviously did not have the option to generate all the know-how required. The skill resided in evaluation of the trends which mattered, as e.g. in the early adoption of acrylics technology, in rapid adaption and, most importantly, in grafting one's own research results onto international know-how and then exploiting it, both here and overseas. This complexity and the necessary speed of reaction to world trends also demonstrate the difficulties which academic science encountered in getting involved competitively in these changes.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - B.A.S.F. Australia Ltd; Charles Atkins Pty Ltd; DULUX Australia Ltd; Durham Chemicals; I.C.I. Australia Ltd; Laporte, Australia; Pigments Manufacturers of Australia; Smith Reichhold Colours Pty Ltd; Taubmans Pty Ltd; Tioxide Australia

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 725 - 726, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher