PPG Industries' protective and marine coatings business is taking the lead in future-proof marine coatings with a range of copper-free antifoulings. PPG is the first coatings manufacturer to successfully develop and market a range of copper-free antifoulings for commercial vessels to help customers stay ahead of future regulations. The unique SIGMA NEXEON™ coatings range was developed based on extensive research and testing at PPG’s own facilities and third-party studies. Sijmen Visser, PPG global marketing manager, marine, protective and marine coatings, said, “At PPG, we are constantly looking for ways to anticipate and evaluate the impact of future trends and legislation. Regulations around the use of copper in antifoulings are the ones to watch, and as a result we have decided to offer now the option to our customers to prepare for this future scenario.” The SIGMA NEXEON range provides a complete copper-free antifouling solution. The SIGMA NEXEON 710 product is the antifouling solution for operational vessels and can be applied during construction and dry docking. For new-builds where outfitting takes longer than six months, SIGMA NEXEON 750 high-activity copper-free topcoat antifouling is specified. Both products combine unique self-polishing zinc-acrylate binder technology with high performance to help protect ships during the new-building process and while in service. A distinctive benefit of SIGMA NEXEON copper-free antifouling is its property of "smoothness from start." Because of the absence of copper, the leveling and smoothness right after application is significantly improved, delivering better fuel efficiency from the start. Third-party testing with leading universities and test institutes in Korea and Japan has confirmed the properties and performance of SIGMA NEXEON antifoulings. From these studies, PPG has classified SIGMA NEXEON products as "low friction antifouling." Another benefit of SIGMA NEXEON copper-free antifouling is the cosmetic appearance, with no so-called "whitening" effect because there is no copper in the coating. Visser said that for prolonged outfitting periods, common for new-building drill ships and offshore structures, and also for shorter outfitting periods of general commercial ships, "There is an increasing demand for vessels to look good at delivery both above and below the water line. SIGMA NEXEON 710 and 750 [antifoulings] are ideal as initial and finishing coats to keep vessel hulls clean under water whilst providing a brand-new cosmetic finish above the water line.” The SIGMA NEXEON antifouling range was recently applied to the underwater hulls of four new-build drill ships, NORBE VIII, NORBE IX, NORBE X and NORBE XI, in operation offshore Brazil for Odebrecht Oil & Gas Limited. Odebrecht wanted to keep the hulls clean from fouling and free from discoloration while stationary in seawater to minimize cleaning costs before delivery to the field. Following successful completion of the project, OOG awarded PPG a certificate of appreciation for its commitment to safety, outstanding coating quality and excellent performance.