Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, has invested $5 million in a new pilot reactor that has begun operations to support coatings polymer research and scale-up activities at its Coatings Technology Center (CTC) in Wilmington, DE. The reactor system is coupled with a complete process automation and control system to enable precise control of ingredient amounts and critical process conditions such as temperature and pressure. The expansion will enhance product development capabilities and accelerate the manufacture and introduction of the next generation of polymers that offer improved performance properties to meet customer expectations. The polymers produced from the pilot reactor can be used for both traditional solvent based and more environmental friendly water based coating products.
“Coatings are about appearance and performance,” said Axalta Chairman and CEO Charles Shaver. “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best possible coatings, ones that will cure faster, adhere better, offer the latest colors and be more durable than any others on the market.”
The new pilot reactor is a key component in the advancement of a variety of polymer technologies to support innovative coating development. Formulations that work in a laboratory environment may not necessarily transfer consistently to full scale production. The pilot reactor, also known as a semi-works facility, is a small scale manufacturing system that allows new polymer formulations to be produced in a way that fully mimics full scale production. Improved first pass production capability means increased product speed to market for our customers.
“Our reactor in Wilmington will enable us to manufacture and test new polymer concepts quickly with lower cycle times and bring them to market faster than before,” said Panos Kordomenos, senior vice president for research and development at Axalta.
The CTC is Axalta’s global center for research and development, including the work performed by its specialized polymer technology team. The new facility will complement existing Axalta polymer research capabilities in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, providing state-of-the-art polymer production scale-up resources that will enable the development of future polymer technologies for customers around the world.