R&D Lab Focus: Equipment, Computer Tools & Technology

By Kerry Pianoforte | July 14, 2008

Suppliers to the paint and coatings market utilize the latest methodologies to develop cutting edge products.

Suppliers to the paint and coatings market have two choices when it comes to product development: innovate or stagnate. R&D labs provide the impetus for innovative products and as such companies are investing heavily in the latest technology and equipment, from utilizing high throughput screening methodologies to purchasing the latest testing equipment.

Eliokem believes that R&D is vitally important to its company. "We have invested in expanding our lab equipment which gives us increased ability to develop new technology," said Richard Flecksteiner, product and process development engineer, Eliokem. "Eliokem has also purchased test equipment for testing elongation and tensile strength over an entire temperature range from less than 0˚C up to 150˚C. In addition, we recently updated equipment with the purchase of new particle size test equipment. The key area we are currently focused on are the lower VOC regulations."

Research and development is also a priority at Rohm and Haas. "Technical differentiation and achieving sustainable solutions through innovation for the future are an integral part of our overall business strategy," said Andrew Trapani, technical director, EMEA, paint and coatings materials, Rohm and Haas.

Rohm and Haas has brought water-based acrylic chemistry to the market and continues to be dedicated to innovation and sustainability, according to Trapani. "We are proud of our history of innovation in high-performance waterborne technologies and our water-based chemistry is used in a myriad of industries across the globe," he said. "In 2007 and again in 2008, nearly half of the company's R&D budget has been devoted to sustainability efforts."

"Our research interests over the past several years have focused on improving the performance of waterborne paints while at the same time improving the sustainability of the industry," added Timothy Wood, global technology director, industrial and construction, paint and coatings materials, Rohm and Haas. "This has led to several new products that contain our Avanse technology, which allows for controlled pigment/particle interactions at the microscopic-level and lead to lower binder and pigment usage without lowering the quality of the paint film."

Dow Biocides has recently begun using Taunovate high throughput testing methods to test and improve large amounts of biocide blends in a short period of time.
Dow Biocides recently upgraded its R&D labs in Buffalo Grove, IL; Horgen, Switzerland; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Singapore, China. The company has also opened new labs in Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; and Dubai, U.A.E. These labs have all initiated Taunovate high throughput testing methods. "We now have seven labs all focused on customer service," said Richard Strittmatter, global R&D leader, Dow Biocides. "One of they key reasons was the high throughput technology we developed in Buffalo Grove. High throughput is a key capability for the paint and coatings industry, which allows us to generate data at one-hundred fold. At the end of a typical 28-day test we have far more information and reliable data and by doing that we can optimize the biocide and make recommendations for the best biocide system for in-can preservation."

Using high throughput techniques, Dow Biocides has developed a new low VOC version of BIT. Canguard Ultra BIT 20 DPG is a broad spectrum biocide that does not contain or release formaldehyde and� is useful for the protection of industrial water-based products against bacteria, yeasts and fungi and offers a number of benefits, including improved color, lower viscosity at low temperatures, and a slightly higher active percentage.

Eliokem's R&D department has set up a new process of manufacturing emulsifier free-controlled nanolatex made by controlled radical polymerization (CRP) in a single reactor using only commercially available reactants.
Eliokem's R&D department has set up a new process of manufacturing emulsifier free-controlled nanolatex made by controlled radical polymerization (CRP) in a single reactor using only commercially available reactants. The CRP technique allows the control of polymer composition, enabling new structures, such as block copolymers, new architectures and the control over functions, giving new properties obtained from the same raw materials that are used in conventional radical polymerization.

Eliokem's researchers have also developed a process which avoids the destabilization of the latex during reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) radical polymerization in emulsion. The new technology uses a single reactor strategy, with only commercially available raw materials, to produce a surfactant-free nanolatex containing only controlled polymer. This controlled seed can be used for further syntheses to manufacture emulsions made of controlled polymer under RAFT control.

According to Eliokem, the new process can be considered a tool of the future to produce new materials with nanotechnologies by making use of the "bottom up" approach such as auto structuring of controlled polymer structures.

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