Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Roland Heinze took the time to answer some specific questions for Coatings World.
What factors are driving demand for marine coatings?
Heinze: Since marine coatings include those used for oil and gas tankers and vessels, the strongest driver of growth in North America and Europe is the offshore oil and gas industry. Marine coatings are used on liquid natural gas carriers and a number of other transport ships that have to house volatile crude oils and other resources in chemically-resistant silos. These substances become more corrosive because they are being extracted from deeper wells, which increase the performance requirements of the coatings that are used.
World trade also continues to develop as a result of globalization, which has contributed to increased shipbuilding activity in parts of Eastern Europe. Regulatory agencies are putting more pressure on asset owners to use high-value, eco-friendly coatings, which impacts the R&D focus in terms of reducing solvent content and eliminating use of materials that may lead to contamination of ecosystems.
The higher price of oil increases shipping costs and puts emphasis on fuel reduction. For example, Hempel’s HEMPASIL X3 uses a unique hydrogel technology and a pure silicone composition to set itself apart from conventional antifouling coatings. The coating’s non-stick properties prevent fouling of the hull at lower speeds of eight knots, as opposed to 10 to 12 knots which reduces drag, improves fuel efficiency, and cuts costs.
Hempel has also introduced SeaTrend for marine applications- an onboard software reporting tool that provides operational data, promoting maximization of fuel savings and optimization of overall efficiency. This program monitors the in-service performance of hull coatings and is a significant improvement in electronic data collection technology, highlighting the industry convergence between automated and material solutions.
CW: What specific types of resins are being used?
Heinze: Specific types of resins that are being used are anticorrosive coatings consisting of epoxies, polyurethanes, inorganic zinc primers, alkyds, and others. Some others are antifouling and foul-release coatings, which are largely made from acrylates and silicone/flouroresin-based resin systems.
CW: What companies are they key players in the market?
Heinze: AkzoNobel, PPG, Jotun and Hempel, in both North America and Europe, are some of the main final coating formulators that are considered to be the key players in the marine coatings market.