As competition becomes stiffer and demand for new and improved coatings continues to grow, paint formulators face added pressure to develop quality, cost effective coatings in a timely fashion. Formulating can appear to be going fine, maybe even head of schedule, until a problem such as sagging, yellowing or the dreaded fisheyes is encountered, threatening to delay development.
Before all hope is lost, consider an additive as a potential problem solver. Thickeners, driers, anti-settling agents and surfactants can help solve formulating problems and get paint and coatings products out of the labs and into the marketplace.
According to the Freedonia Group, additives and modifiers accounted for only six percent of total paint and coatings material volume demand in 1999. But they can help solve major performance problems.
"Additives are just a small part of the cost of overall formulation," said Michael Oliveri, Shamrock Technologies' director of marketing, coatings, worldwide. "However, a specialty additive often can provide an invaluable, even essential, performance edge."
Recognizing the need for cost-effective and environmentally friendly coatings formulations, Rohm and Haas has developed two new products to address these performance issues. "We have a new series of rheology modifiers, Design Rheology, targeted at replacing HEC thickeners. These offer lower cost and are liquid additives, avoiding environmental and handling issues with the HEC powders," said Stewart Williams, Rohm and Haas' market manager for Ropaque ultra opaque polymer and acrysol designed rheology thickeners. "We also have Ropaque ultra opaque polymer. This is the most efficient hollow sphere synthetic technology used in coating applications delivering improved hiding at equal cost, or improve cost savings at equal hiding," Mr. Williams added.
By 2004, the Freedonia Group estimates the U.S. market for additives and modifiers used in paint and coatings will be worth $980 million. According to the Cleveland, OH-based market research firm, additives demand will be driven by the continued introduction of value-added additives and modifiers.
"The correct type and level of additive can significantly improve such diverse factors as wetting and adhesion, gloss or matt level and abrasion resistance," said Danielle Moore, business development manager, Industrial Copolymers Limited. "Incozol 2 moisture scavenger will protect a high cost formulation from the very common problem of moisture contamination."
Selecting the right additive can also lower production costs and result in more effective paint formulations.
"More efficient additives are available that give formulators more flexibility in formulations and improved cost performance," said Mark McCusker, business director, trade sales and industrial coatings, Ciba Specialty Chemicals. "These additives can reduce costs through improved overall efficiency consumption, generation of less waste and reduction of investment requirements compared to traditional means. Examples from Ciba's range would be Ciba Tinuvin 928 and Tinuvin 5000 blends."
"It is critical to choose the right additive in a formulation to manufacture in the most cost-effective way," said Andrew Grantham, Avecia's additives marketing manager. "A hyperdispersant can reduce manufacturing costs by enabling more pigments to be dispersed in every single batch of dispersion produced. Reductions in mill time and therefore energy consumption can also be achieved. Additives that require fewer steps to incorporate into the formulation, such as Solthix 250, also help to keep manufacturing costs down."
Additives play a particularly important role in the architectural coatings market. The Freedonia Group reports that this market segment accounts for the majority of demand for additives and modifiers.
"The architectural market segment is particularly sensitive to the value additives bring to their products," said Bob Whiteley, director of sales and marketing, Condea Servo. "When formulating products for the architectural segment, we pay particular attention to optimizing the value of our additives to insure when they are used at the recommended levels, they do not significantly impact the cost."
In the past few years, coatings manufacturers have recognized the need for low-odor architectural coatings. New from Condea Servo is Serad FX-511, a coalescing agent designed for low-odor paint formulations. "This product has higher efficiency, so you can use up to 40% less than conventional coalescing agents, and virtually no odor so they can be used to formulate low-odor and low VOC paints," said Mr. Whiteley. "The big needs for these types of products are the contractor segments for painting schools, hospitals and nursing homes."
Mother Nature's Impact
Today, environmental concerns impact the paint and coatings industry across the board. Benefiting the most from the increased demand for environmentally compliant formulations are producers of water-based and radiation-cured coatings.
"Water-based, radiation-cured and powder coatings will only to continue to succeed and penetrate into the marketplace if they have the performance and cost basis to meet the application's needs," said Bruce Waldman, global segment manager, OSi Specialties, a Crompton business. "Silane crosslinkers, silicone additives and silicone resin modifiers are enabling materials to make this happen."
"Any time there is new market growth, the additives market will respond," said Mr. Oliveri of Shamrock. "The rise in demand for radiation cured coatings has certainly changed our focus at Shamrock and led to the development of our unique emulsion-type technology, marketed under the EverGlide product name."
"The rise in demand for water-based and energy-cured coatings can only stimulate growth in the additive market," said John McAllister, regional sales manager, Micro Powders. "Unlike conventionally cured coatings, these systems require special consideration during manufacture, and even more so during application. Demands on improved color development, film integrity, surface appearance, and application ease represent a greater challenge to the formulator. Micronized wax additives play an important role in these systems by providing the formulator with surface protection tools to help the finished product meet their customers' expectations."
Eastman Chemical Company has introduced CAP UV100, a new cellulose acetate propionate developed for aesthetic and performance requirements of UV coatings. According to the company, CAP UV100 dries quickly like a lacquer, can be buffed and sanded, offers good adhesion and chemical/scratch resistance, forms a strong crosslinked network that improves surface characteristics and adhesion on a variety of substrates and can reduce surface defects such as pinholes, dirt pickup and sagging.
Water-based coatings systems present new formulating challenges to both coatings manufacturers and additives suppliers. "It would be great to see a waterborne system perform like a 2K isocyante system. It must do this, of course, at lower cost," said Dr. Waldman of OSi Specialties. "The proper additives and crosslinkers can go a long way in meeting some of these targets. Our Coatosil 1211 additive allows a waterborne coating to wet like a solventborne coating, solving one of the barriers to replacing solvent paints since they are applied to low energy substrates. Our Coatosil1770 silane tremendously improves the chemical and water resistance of water-based coatings, making them perform more like solvent-based coatings."
"Shifts to these technologies bring their own formulating challenges which additives can help overcome," said Dr. Grantham of Avecia. "In the water-based area we have a range of dispersants that have little or no impact on the coating's water resistance."
Mr. Whiteley of Condea Servo said VOCs are also a concern, even when working with water-based coatings systems. "Not all water-based additives are VOC-free, so there will be pressure to reduce the VOC content of water based additives if they are a major contributor to total VOCs," said Mr. Whiteley. "Condea Servo has developed a line of VOC-free dispersants, thickeners and defoamers for these applications."
Eastman has also introduced CMCAB 641-0.5, a new water dispersible cellulosic for waterborne coatings that provides surface enhancing properties similar to that of solvent-based cellulose acetate butyrate counterparts. Advantages are superior appearance without sagging, faster drying, good flake control and redissolve resistance and excellent adhesion to topcoats, according to the company.
Ciba has also focused on developing new additive solutions for water-based coatings. "For example, our photoinitiator range and our corrosion inhibitors were developed specifically with waterborne coatings in mind and are highly suitable for use in waterborne systems," said Mr. McCusker. "The former Allied Colloid line of binder resins, rheology control agents and dispersants, all based on waterborne acrylic chemistry, also provides an excellent platform from which to build on new chemistries for waterborne coatings."
Yet To Come
As long as formulating problems continue to plague the coatings industry, additives will be in high demand.
Ciba will continue to focus on developing products for water-based and radiation-cured coatings. "We are currently working on additives for combined waterborne and radiation-cured paints with improved durability and scratch resistance," said Mr. McCusker. "Ciba is working to combine our expertise in photoinitiators and powder coatings to develop UV-cured powder coatings for plastics and other heat sensitive substrates. Work continues on applications for light stabilizers, photoinitiators, dispersants and rheology modifiers."
Dr. Grantham said Avecia is focusing on "a very active new product development program in the areas of hyperdispersants and thickeners," with planned introductions of several new products later this year.