Ask anyone in the coatings business what keeps them awake at night, and you'll likely hear rising raw material costs and availability. Resin suppliers, especially, are in the thick of it, working hard to balance customer demands with their own rising costs and supply issues.
"The biggest concern right now facing resin manufacturers is raw materials," said Cliff Tishler, VP sales and market development, Soluol. "Nearly all raw materials have increased significantly, some as much as 90% during the past 18 months. To make matters worse, some raw materials are on allocation and not available in the quantities needed."
Wagner Silvestre, global business director, urethane chemicals, Crompton Corp., echoed that concern. "The issue is not only raw material price increases, but raw material availability," he said, noting the high price and tight supply of MDI.
"The most obvious concern is related to managing the raw material cost environment," added Curtis D. Junge, epoxy additives North American market manager, Air Products. "In the past six to nine months, raw material increases have impacted all sections of the value chain."
Deborah Hensley, global business manager for resins at Noveon, Inc., pointed to the triple-threat facing the resins market: "unprecedented supply and demand imbalance, limited raw material availability and high costs."
According to Hensley, the propylene chain poses the most challenges because higher value end-uses are competing for supply. "While this potentially is a positive in that it could drive some innovation, it certainly makes things tight for the specialty chemicals sector. It requires us to be extra-diligent in our communications with our suppliers and customers to anticipate supply needs and set expectations," she added.
While always important, keeping communications lines open with customers has become even more imperative. As the marketplace continues to evolve, coatings manufacturers are demanding more from their resin technology, including higher performance, multi-functionality and environmental compliance, as well as more from their suppliers in terms of shorter lead times and new ways to lower total costs.
"Our customers are looking at ways to decrease applied cost and increase coating durability or extend the coatings lifetime," said Scott Borst, business team leader, building and coatings, Wacker Chemical Corp.
"Coating customers are looking for innovation, product performance, environmental compliance, added value, delivery and technical support," said Wim Vanderghinste, market manager-industrial coatings, at Cytec Surface Specialties. According to Vanderghinste, Cytec is meeting customer needs by providing a "broader and deeper portfolio of advanced and environmentally-friendly technologies, delivered cost-competitively" and backed by strong tech support.
Just-in-time manufacturing and tight management of inventory is another critical issue.
"Coatings customers are demanding shorter lead times and more inventory on hand. They want to minimize their inventory levels and be able to react to their customers more quickly," said Tishler. "We continue to work on improving our manufacturing processes to shorten the time from the reactor to the container."
On the applications side, coatings customers have a long wish list, and for many manufacturers, a main area of concern remains VOCs. Suppliers are developing a number of solutions for coatings manufacturers facing tougher compliance mandates, especially in architectural and wood coating applications.
"Reducing VOC levels is an area of focus and something that, in part, is driving our product development," said Hensley. Noveon has developed several new resin technologies that enable paint manufacturers to produce low- or zero-VOC formulations, including Sancure 20041. A waterborne polyure-thane dispersion, it minimizes VOCs while providing durability and protection in coatings for clear wood finishes in residential or commercial floor applications. Based on patented Noveon technology, Sancure 20041 is made without the use of N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP).
Noveon's Carboset line also offers lower and zero-VOC options. Carboset 505 resin is a solvent-free, water-based acrylic polymer that produces virtually zero-VOC stains when blended with solvent-free pigment dispersions, while Carboset 7722 and 7733 acrylic copolymer emulsions can be used to formulate low-VOC interior and exterior trim paint.
For coatings manufacturers working with coatings for industrial use, as well as for plastics, finding the right chemistry is a must. Formulators need to weigh all their options when they look to lower VOCs in applications where performance can't be compromised.
"The industry solution is not solely water-borne technology," said Borst of Wacker Chemical Corp., which has developed a high-performance product line focused on reducing VOC and increasing the durability of two-component technologies. Wacker's SILRES HP 2000 is formulated to increase UV protection for protective and industrial coatings and is well-suited as a cross- linker in epoxy coatings, and as a two component system is ideal for either spray or roller application. Its improved resistance to cracking, color fade and high gloss retention protect the appearance and durability of coatings for chemical transport systems, oil drilling platforms and secondary containment structures, according to Wacker.
Sartomer is offering CN2301, a new hyper-branched polyester acrylate oligomer designed for low viscosity and high acrylate functionality. Sartomer contends that its low shrinkage makes it perfect for scratch-resistant plastics coatings that require excellent adhesion.
Customers are also demanding multi-functional products, "such as a product that meets FDA compliance and also delivers improvement in some performance area, such as improved blush resistance or improved chemical resistance," said Junge of Air Products.
Unable to absorb skyrocketing costs, resin suppliers have been issuing price increases since last year, and little relief is forecast for the immediate future, especially as oil prices continue to hit record highs. Still, leading resin suppliers are digging in, working on new technologies and looking for new ways to deliver value.
"We have recently increased prices, however, we have also focused on the value our materials and services are providing to customers. Reduction of internal production costs is also critical to our customers for meeting their profitability goals," said Borst of Wacker.
Noveon is working on polymers that provide paint suppliers with more flexibility, such as one-component systems that provide two-component performance, and polymers that can be used in a variety of end uses, which helps paint formulators reduce inventory.
Cytec is focusing efforts on the "next generation" of UV curable waterborne resins for wood and plastic substrates, new UV/EB applications such as coil coatings and automotive refinish and low VOC/high-solids resins for architectural coating applications.
According to Silvestre, suppliers need to work even more closely with their customers. "Companies are always looking for better specifications to replace solvent-based products," he said. "In beginning it was easier. Now, environmental issues are more complex. We are working in partnership with our customers, making fine adjustments to their products." Along with its current roster of water-based urethane solutions, Crompton is working on mixes with acrylics and grades with lower hardness, according to Silvestre.
Overall, 2005 will be a tough year as paint companies and their suppliers try to maintain profitability.
"Over the next year, we'll see resins producers and coatings producers continuing to work hard keeping up with the raw materials situation. This will likely continue through all of next year," said Hensley of Noveon. "The good news is that demand has remained strong and in the long run, high material costs may actually make the industry healthier as reinvestment economics are attained throughout the supply chain."
Furthermore, Hensley pointed to another positive. "One interesting dynamic we've observed is that coatings producers are passing along price increases to mass market retailers-the same mass market retailers that used to wield all the power and keep prices down," she said. "Today's market dictates that producers can't always afford to supply them if the mass market retailers don't agree to shoulder some of the burden for some of these cost increases."
|Ancamide 2634||Based on a unique Air Products proprietary technology and is a building block product. It is a modified polyamide-curing agent designed for use in two component solventborne epoxy coatings. It offers a faster dry and better low temperature cure than conventional polyamides with high blush resistance, good adhesion and flexibility.|
|Hybridur 870||A urethane-acrylic hybrid dispersion based on patented technology for use in one-component high performance coatings. Features include fast dry capability, superior weatherability, good hardness and toughness balance, superior chemical resistance, and excellent adhesion to a wide variety of substrates.|
|BASF Corporation, Performance Chemicals for Coatings
|Laromer PO 9026 V||Laromer PO 9026 V increases the resistance to scratching by steel wool or Scotch-Brite applications.
This is important in wear-resistant coatings, e.g., flooring, metal coatings and graphic arts applications.
Applications: industrial, wood, graphic arts.
|Cytec Surface Specialties
|Ucecoat 7849||A UV curable aliphatic polyurethane dispersion for wood topcoats that are tack-free before UV curing, after water evaporation. Provides good stain resistance, hardness and adhesion to wood, plus high flexibility. Designed for low VOC coatings for wood topcoats on kitchen cabinets, furniture and flooring. Applications: wood.|
|Resydrol VAF 6111 w/60WA||A high solids, low VOC core-shell alkyd emulsion that provides superior flow , leveling and high gloss capabilities. Ideally suited for trim enamels and primers formulated at VOC less than 50 g/L. Applications: wood.|
|Joncryl 1992||Joncryl 1992 is being introduced to the wood coatings market as an alternative to the higher cost self crosslinking technologies. Joncryl 1992 offers excellent chemical resistance similar to the self crosslinking technology. Applications: wood.|
|Carboset PC-21 is a self-crosslinking waterborne acrylic emulsion for high performance coatings for interior auto plastics and consumer electronic equipment. It has excellent compatibility with difficult-to-disperse metallic pigment and demonstrates superior resistance to hand creams, lotions, insect repellants, surface cleaners and protectants. It also exhibits low-temperature flexibility and excellent UV durability. Applications: automotive.|
|Sancure 20041||Sancure 20041 is a zero-NMP waterborne polyurethane dispersion (PUD) for high performance clear wood floor coatings. It minimizes VOCs and provides superior durability, chemical resistance and wear resistance. Sancure 20041 resists marring and scuffing, and has excellent UV light stability to prevent yellowing of wood surfaces. It also enhances adhesion to substrates. Applications: wood.|
|Rohm and Haas Company
|Paraloid AU-2100||Paraloid AU-2100 acrylic polyol has the lowest VOC potential without the use of VOC exempt solvents or reactive diluents. The high gloss capability, excellent chemical resistance and fine balance of properties make it an excellent choice for high-performance coatings. Applications: marine, industrial, wood.|
|CN2301||CN2301 is a hyperbranched polyester acrylate oligomer designed for low viscosity and high acrylate functionality. Its low shrinkage makes it perfect for scratch-resistant plastics coatings that require excellent adhesion. It offers the fastest cure and the best scratch/scuff resistance of Sartomer's polyester acrylates. Applications: plastics and metal.|
|CN2302||CN2302 offers the lowest viscosity of Sartomer's hyperbranched polyester acrylate oligomers, along with fast surface cure and high functionality. It imparts performance properties such as adhesion, chemical resistance, hardness, low shrinkage and water resistance to metal and plastics coatings, electronics, inks.|
W. Warwick, RI
|Solucote 1311||Self-crosslinking, aliphatic water-based polyurethane dispersion for single package wood coatings. Reduced yellowing, mar resistant; low VOC; good flexibility and chemical resistance; architectural,industrial, flooring, furniture; supplied with the right amount of drier-one package. Applications: wood.|
|Solutech 103-171||Solvent-free general purpose polyurethane dispersion combining durability of urethane with cost effectiveness of acrylic to produce a tough polymer with excellent hardness and resistance properties.|
|Wacker Chemical Corp.
|SILRES HP 2000||SILRES HP 2000 is formulated to increase UV protection for protective and industrial coatings. It is well suited as a cross linker in epoxy coatings, and as a two component system is ideal for either spray or roller application. Its improved resistance to cracking, color fade and high gloss retention protect the appearance and durability of coatings for chemical transport systems, oil drilling platforms and secondary containment structures. Applications: industrial.|
Here is a quick look at more resins available to paint and
|Laromer LR 9005||Laromer LR 9005, from BASF, is a physically drying water-based UV resin that can be handled before curing. This allows other process steps to be completed before curing. This product has high scratch resistance and excellent chemical resistance. These properties make it ideal for use in wood, metal and plastic coatings.|
|Pliolite||Pliolite - Responding to the increasingly rigorous regulatory demands to lower VOC's, Eliokem has developed a range of high solid resins that are soluble in exempt and low KB value solvents. The unique design of the polymers allows formulators to maintain lower viscosity than traditional high solids solution polymers formulated with the same amount of solvent.|
|Joncryl acrylic polyols||As the VOC regulations continue to be reduced, more formulators are turning to exempt solvents to meet these requirements Johnson Polymer offers a full line of Joncryl acrylic polyols cut in acetone, oxsol and just recently de-listed t-butyl a acetate.|
|UROTUF F81-M-80||UROTUF F81-M-80 is a low-viscosity, sunflower-oil-based polyurethane used as a reactive diluent in low-VOC varnishes. It is an ideal viscosity modifier for 350 and 450 g/l floor varnishes and features high supplied solids, fast viscosity reduction, positive dry and reduced yellowing.|
|Beckosol 12-035-E1||Beckosol 12-035-E1 is a short-oil coconut alkyd supplied at 50% NV in PTCBF (Oxsol 100). This product is the same polymer as Reichhold's popular workhorse resin, Beckosol 12-035, but is now supplied in a low-VOC exempt solvent. It features good color retention and cold check resistance in nitrocellulose lacquer formulations and good pot life and cure speed in conversion varnishes.|
Rohm and Haas
|Rhoplex HG-700||Rhoplex HG-700 is an aqueous all acrylic binder for interior and exterior VOC compliant, gloss and semi-gloss enamels. Ambient crosslinking technology improves performance versus conventional latex polymers. Gloss enamels based on this binder have excellent adhesion, block and stain resistance.|
|Poly bd 2035 TPU||Sartomer Company has introduced the first commercially available thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) resin based on unique polybutadiene polyols. This new resin, Poly bd 2035 TPU, is designed to enhance the performance of films, adhesives, sealants, coatings, and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) when compared to conventional TPUs based on polyether or polyester polyols. Poly bd 2035 is also an excellent candidate for polymer modification of traditional polyolefin and engineering polymers for enhanced properties.|
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