Resins Update 2002

By Kerry Pianoforte | August 9, 2005

Although the resins market was challenging in 2001, suppliers are optimistic that a recovery is in sight for 2002.

While the market for resins proved to be a challenging one in 2001, many resin suppliers are optimistic there will be a recovery in 2002.

"Generally, the second half of 2001 and the first half of 2002 was and will be challenging for resin suppliers," said Greg Ross, industry manager, Johnson Polymer. "Starting with the second half of 2002, we expect the market to improve and to see a return to 2000-like growth."

According to data from the Freedonia Group, demand for resins used in paint and coatings in the U.S. is forecast to rise just under four percent per year to reach 4.4 billion pounds in 2004, with market value projected to increase 6.6% to $4 billion over the same period.

An Essential Ingredient
Resins play an integral role in paint and coatings formulations. "From our perspective, the resin is the primary building block on which the chemist develops his formula," said Jim Yosh, business manager NAFTA region, Degussa (Tego). "Most of the desired paint properties are a function of the resin, so the proper resin choice is critical."

Because resins have such a direct effect on the finished coating, formulators must carefully consider their resin choices. "You should begin thinking about resin selection up front because it has such an effect on the properties of the finished coating," said Deborah Smith, senior application chemist, UV/EB adhesives, Sartomer. "The first step is to determine what you're looking for: Do you want high gloss? Increased flexibility? Then look at the resins that will get you there."

The Environmental Push
As increasingly strict environmental regulations put greater pressure on paint companies to develop environmentally-friendly products, suppliers are meeting these challenges with a host of new resins, many of which are suited specifically for zero and low-VOC waterborne and UV-cure systems.

"The rise in waterborne and other environmentally-friendly coatings creates opportunities for resin suppliers who manufacture environmentally-friendly products," said Gail Pollano, coatings marketing manager for NeoResins in the U.S. "With lower VOC requirements, and for markets traditionally served with solvent-based coatings, there is market share to be had. In addition, these environmentally-friendly resins are meeting or exceeding requirements in these markets."

Of course suppliers feel that the rise in demand for waterborne resins will be favorable for the industry and their bottom line. "It will definitely have a positive impact on resin suppliers as many of us have devoted a large amount of time and resources over the years to developing water-based lower VOC products that perform like conventional technologies," said Jennifer Poore, marketing communications, global coatings and performance resins, Reichhold, Inc. "Once the end-use market fully adopts environmentally-friendly coatings, we'll begin to recognize the return on our investment."

"A lot of formulators are making the move from traditional, solvent-based coatings to rad-cure coatings out of a sense of environmental responsibility," said Ms. Smith. "Many more are making the switch to comply with increasingly stringent regulations. Both situations are contributing to impressive market growth."

  The Landmark Tower in Yokohama City, Japan is coated with a Lumiflon-based architectural coating. One of the main benefits of Lumiflon is that it extends the life of a coating by boosting its weatherability, often by as much as five years, according to the company. Asahi Glass Company Ltd. of Japan developed the Lumiflon brand and markets it in the U.S. through AGA Chemical.

New Products
Resin suppliers continue to introduce new products geared towards rad-cure and waterborne technology. Sartomer has introduced CN2256, a new polyester acrylate oligomer that enables formulators to triple the adhesion of UV/EB-cure pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs).

Due to its high molecular weight, CN2256 delivers exceptional adhesion to a variety of substrates including PET, polyolefins, foils and paperboards, according to the company. Additionally, CN2256 offers in-creased flexibility and water solubility for the formulation of water-soluble adhesives.

Sartomer Company also introduced SMA 1000MA, a water-based dispersing resin for metallic pigment applications. The new resin enables manufacturers to disperse metallic pigments in a pH neutral system, eliminating the tarnish associated with bronze and copper dispersions and producing a pigment with true metallic color.

SMA 1000MA is designed as an alternative to polymers that are only water soluble in high pH, alkaline solutions. "Due to their high pH levels, these solutions tend to react negatively with metallic pigments� resulting in tarnish and less than ideal colors," said John Schmidhauser, specialty polymers technical manager for Sartomer. "The quality difference between an ink, paint or coating that has been formulated with AMS 1000MA and one that has been formulated with the standard material is quite impressive."

In addition to metallic pigment dispersions, SMA 1000MA also provides a neutral pH option for existing SMA applications, such as organic pigment dispersions and overprint varnish emulsions, according to Sartomer.

Reichhold has introduced two new products for architectural coatings applications, Synthemul 40-418 and Duravace FT-320. Synthemul 40-418 is a 100% acrylic latex designed for interior and exterior semi-gloss trim and wall coverings. It offers good block resistance and wet adhesion as well as very good stain resistance, according to Ms. Poore.

Reichhold's Duravace FT-320 is a second generation, high-performance, zero-VOC VAE that is ideal for interior flats and satins as well as exterior cementitous coatings. It offers good exterior durability, excellent alkali resistance, superior scrub resistance and freeze-thaw stability.

Many of the new products launched by resin suppliers feature low or zero-VOC. Cognis has released new epoxy curing agents and polyols that feature reduced VOC, improved chemical resistance, lower cost and faster cure, according to the company. The Versamid LV Series of polyamide curing agents are novel low viscosity versions of standard Versamids polyamides that exhibit the same corrosion protection, adhesion, pigment wetting characteristic and flexibility and resilience, according to Cognis. The new acrylic polyols are TSAX 13-985, TSAX 13-990 and TSAX 14-212. TSAX 14-212 features a 2.1 lb/gal VOC capability and can be used in industrial maintenance uses.

Rohm and Haas has introduced a new waterborne resin that provides wide formulating latitude and is designed to be used in high-gloss and high distinctiveness of image (DOI) coatings for metal substrates. New acrylic/styrene copolymer Rhoplex WL-100 waterborne resin is well suited for applications where an attractive appearance and corrosion protection are important considerations.

Rohm and Haas has also launched Rhoplex SG-30 150 g/l VOC semi-gloss binder, Rhoplex EC-3814 elastomeric binder and RoShield 1024 emulsion polymer.

Rhoplex SG-30 100% acrylic emulsion is designed to meet the needs of new regulations for 150 g/l VOC semigloss interior and exterior architectural paints. It provides paint manufacturers an opportunity to formulate at lower VOC while maintaining key properties of conventional (250 g/l VOC) semigloss architectural paints. Rhoplex EC-3814 100% acrylic polymer emulsion is Rohm and Haas Company's newest development in acrylic polymer technology for elastomeric wall coatings. Like other elastomeric wall coating binders from Rohm and Haas, this latest acrylic polymer provides coatings with an excellent balance of elongation, tensile strength and dirt pick-up resistance over a wide temperature range, according to the company. Rhoplex EC-3814 retains this balance of properties over formulation ranges not previously attainable for elastomeric wall coatings, said Rusty Johnson, marketing manager architectural coatings and binders, Rohm and Haas.

Johnson Polymer has released a new line of polyurethane dispersions that meet the lower VOC requirements. "In the last six months, we introduced a complete new line of polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) and acrylic-urethane hybrids" said Mr. Ross. The line includes Joncryl U4100, Joncryl U6010 and Joncryl U6070. We also introduced Joncryl 1980, a 1K self-crosslinking acrylic emulsion that meets the new lower VOC requirements in California."

In addition, the company introduced, Joncryl 909 and Joncryl 942, two new high-solids acrylicpolyols for 2K polyuerathane systems. Joncryl 909 and Joncryl 942 are designed for lower VOC and fast hardness development, according to Mr. Ross.

For the industrial waterborne segment, Johnson Polymer has added Joncryl 1550, an air drying corrosion resistant emulsion intended for light/medium duty primer applications, and Joncryl 1540 a hydroxy-functional emulsion designed for lower temperature and/or shorter cure times when combined with melamines.

Tego, which considers itself a niche player in the resin market, has added a new silicone-epoxy hybrid. Silikoftal ED is a two component ambient cured system ideal for outdoor applications that require superior protection, like bridges, storage tank exteriors and offshore platforms, said Mr. Yosh. "It is TSCA- pending, and we expect a high level of interest when the registration process is completed this spring," he added.

UCB recently added Ebecryl 6802, a urethane acrylate, to its product portfolio. Its flexibility makes it ideal for use as an intermediate coat in multi-layer coating systems, according to the company.

Lyondell's latest offering is Acryflow P120, a high-performance, zero-VOC acrylic polyol for the transportation, general metal and industrial maintenance markets. P120 is compatible with a variety of acrylic and polyester resins.

BASF has introduced a number of products under the Acronal banner. Acronal Optive 110 is an all acrylic resin for semi-gloss paints with enhanced block resistance at 150 g/l VOC; Acronal Optive 230 is a high solids all acrylic resin designed for low VOC interior/exterior flat paints; and Acronal Optive 310 is a new acrylic latex polymer for high gloss wall and trim paints.

Dow Chemical Corporation has developed an epoxy resin for powder coatings. D.E.R. 6615 is a solid epoxy resin that can be used in powder coatings for a range of applications and is particularly suited for heat-sensitive substrates such as wood or plastic. Dow Chemical also offers D.E.R. 8230W5 epoxy resin, a silicone flow agent masterbatch for clear powder coatings. This resin is recommended for indoor application where corrosion, chemical, mar and scratch resistance are required.

  Stricter environmental regulations will result in an increase in water-based, lower VOC resins for the marine coatings segment.

What the Future Holds
As is apparent by the number of new introductions, many resin companies are focusing their R&D efforts on environmentally-friendly systems and it seems safe to assume that this trend will continue to drive research in resins development.

"We are currently working on high-performance water-based acrylics for low-VOC industrial coatings," said Ms. Poore. "We expect (it) to be available sometime in the third quarter."

While suppliers work on environmental issues, each is aware customers also want performance and they are concerned about cost as well. "We continue to focus on issues such as cost, performance, VOC and ease of use," said James Aloye, market manager, coatings resins, Cognis Coatings & Inks. "These factors drive our customers who in turn drive our R&D."

Key areas Johnson Polymer is working on are improved resistance properties, faster drying characteristics, lower VOC and improved cost-in-use characteristics. "We are working on developments to strengthen our product line in water-based, high-solids polyols and powder coating resins," said Mr. Ross. Mr. Ross added that delivering what the customer needs is of utmost importance.

That same mantra is followed at Sartomer. "Products must not only meet environmental regulations, they must perform in certain ways to meet the customers specific needs," said Ms. Smith. "We pride ourselves on working with customers to develop tailor-made blends that meet their specific needs. This is an ongoing effort, demanding that we work continually to bring new products to market."

NeoResins is also focusing on developing innovative products for the coatings, graphic arts and adhesives markets, according to Ms. Pollano. "Our focus technologies in these areas are waterborne emulsion and urethane technology, waterborne radiation curable resins, hybrid and self-crosslinking technologies. We continue to anticipate commercial availability for several new product introductions on a yearly basis," she said.

"Constant improvements in the performance of environmentally-friendly resins will continue to occur in the coming years with the aim of meeting regulatory guidelines as well as market opportunities," said Ms. Pollano, who recognized the tough competition among resin suppliers selling to the paint market. "Our industry is globalizing, the competition is globalizing, and many types of technologies are now competing for similar pieces of business."

Additional products from these companies and others are listed in the Resins Guide which begins on page 54 in the print version.

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