Additives Market Review & Forecast

By Tim Wright, Editor | December 23, 2009

The coatings additives market was down in 2009 compared to years past but the handful of key suppliers Coatings World interviewed are optimistic that 2010 will bring slow recovery driven by the Asia-Pacific region.

Additives contribute significantly to coating performance. Besides the three main categories of ingredients-pigment, binder and solvent-paint can have a wide variety of miscellaneous additives, which are usually added in very small amounts and yet give a very significant effect on the product.

Some examples include additives to modify surface tension, improve flow properties, improve the finished appearance, increase wet edge, improve pigment stability, impart antifreeze properties, control foaming, control skinning, etc. Other types of additives include catalysts, thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, texturizers, adhesion promoters, UV stabilizers, flatteners (de-glossing agents), biocides to fight bacterial growth, and the like.

Due to advances in additives technology surface coatings have been substantially improved over the years. A 20-year paint job is now a possibility, not a dream. Five-year and 10-year life is common.

The additives market mirrored the coatings and chemicals markets for 2009 and was weak compared to the highs of 2007 and 2008. "We are seeing a rebound in the markets, particularly in the Asia Pacific region while the U.S. and EU markets will slowly return to normal in 2010," said Robert Miller, product manager, performance additives, Troy Corporation.

Miller said the greatest challenge for additive suppliers during 2010 will be being able to provide products that add to the value of customers' products while meeting the challenges of regulatory restrictions such as REACH, the Biocidal Products Directive and GHS.

In 2009 BYK-Chemie GmbH saw a major decline in business globally in the first half followed by a period of slow recovery during the second half. "The U.S. and the EU markets are still behind 2008," said Frank Dederichs, head of market communications, BYK-Chemie GmbH. "Due to economy stimulation packages and the overall improvement in the local Asian markets-China, India and certain SEA countries-the paint additives market is recovering as well. Forecasting 2010 is still very difficult but the driving force for business will be Asia again.

"Challenges for 2010 will definitely revolve around the increasing cost of raw materials and energy, as well as the strength of the euro," said Dederichs. "Moving forward we see clear signs of recovery in the global coatings market positively affecting the additives business as well. During the recession customers invested their resources to a larger extent into the development of new and improved formulations, which we see as a chance to improve market position through 2010 and beyond."

Keim Additec Surface USA LLC additive sales were relatively off in direct proportion to the water-based paint and coatings markets at large, according to Alan Kalmikoff, president, Keim Additec Surface USA LLC.

"My colleagues advised that Europe was down similarly," Kalmikoff said. "We expect an upturn in 2010 as the markets recover. Globally, Asia will be driving growth. The recession is not as bad there as it is in Europe and the U.S. I recently returned from the CHINACOAT 2009 exposition in Shanghai where our colleagues have posted positive gains for 2009.

"The single greatest challenge for additive suppliers moving forward will be to maintain their position in the market with new and innovative products at a time when there are fewer resources to do such work on the customer side," Kalmikoff said.

Additives Technology Continues to Advance

Thanks to their environmental friendliness, waterborne coatings have already found a substantial market compared to traditional solvents, for example in the wood sector.

This trend is also gaining in importance due to stricter legislation. In the light of generally increasing environmental awareness, the tendency towards stricter international regulation continues with the objective of reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Coating additive suppliers are actively building on this development towards environmentally friendly, solvent-free coatings. Not only do waterborne solutions improve existing applications but new market opportunities are also opened up.

Keim Additec Surface USA continues to be an innovative supplier of water-based surface modification additives to both thin film coatings, industrial, wood and floor coatings.

"In 2010, we will be announcing a new partnership with a major supplier of resins to the floor care industry with new innovative high performance products to enhance clarity, gloss, scuff resistance with APEO and VOC-free properties," said Kalmikoff.

After several years of development, Buhler has just entered the coatings additive market with Oxylink, a new functional additive for waterborne paints and varnishes based on nanoparticle technology. A widely applicable additive, Oxylink is particularly suitable for one-component (1K) formulations and facilitates compliance with future environmental requirements.

Oxylink was developed by Buhler PARTEC, which, as a subsidiary of the Buhler Group, specializes in the relatively new field of nanotechnology, or the processing and refining of nanoparticles (1-100nm) into nanodispersions that are ready to use as additives.

Among its advantages, Oxylink improves MEK rub resistance, blocking and humidity resistance and it reduces drying time. Other important parameters such as gloss are not affected. Oxylink contains tailor-made nanoparticles that improve the coating by direct interaction with the resin. Its effectiveness is determined by the high degree of dispersion of the nanoscaled particles in Oxylink.

Oxylink is based on so-called dispersions of inorganic nanoparticles in water and requires a dosage of only one percent. The additive may be used for clear as well as pigmented formulations. In the interests of maximum flexibility for users, Oxylink is available in three standard categories-Oxylink 3101, 3102 and 3103.

"Oxylink is applicable in clears and pigmented formulations for all substrates and applications including top coat, primer, glossy, satin, air dry, forced dry, architectural and decorative," said Steffen Pilotek, business development director PARTEC, Buhler Inc., USA. "It is a nanoparticle-based additive that has been formulated to performance, which means it is a formulated product rather than just a nanoparticle dispersion.

"Oxylink's main effect is increased and accelerated cross-linking of the resin," Piloteck said. "It accelerates drying without affecting the open time and yields increased resistance in blocking, humidity and solvent-rubs. At the same time, Oxylink doesn't change the in-can stability of the 1K systems and it is easy to handle because it is free of ammonia and mild in pH."

BYK-Chemie GmbH is serving the whole paint and coatings additives market with a broad portfolio of coating additives. "In 2009 we introduced more than 20 new products improving final product performance and processability of paints," said Dederichs. "Latest technologies introduced into the market involve the use of macromer technology. The new surface additive-BYK-3550-combines unique and very often contradictory properties of both silicone additives and acrylates in one material."

Silicone and acrylate additives are typically used in combination in standard coating formulations. Acrylate additives improve the flow and leveling of a coating system while the silicone additives enhance substrate wetting and prevent cratering. The right choice of additive and the right dosage are essential for a well-balanced performance.

The new BYK-3550 additive is a silicone macromer modified polyacrylate which incorporates both acrylate and silicone characteristics in a single additive.

BYK-3550 shows different shaped performances, depending on the nature of the respective system's polarity. In high-polarity coatings, the additive brings about a reduction in surface tension, therefore providing good substrate wetting with no significant reduction of the dry surface energy. Its negligible influence on surface energy, for example, avoids ghosting effects in automotive coatings when recoated and leads to a better adhesion of wrap guard foils and adhesives on finished cars.

The efficient silicone part provides good anti-crater properties without increasing surface slip. The acrylate backbone provides leveling. In non-polar coatings such as alkyd paint, conventional anti-blocking silicone additives often have a negative influence on recoatability. Due to its long acrylate chain, BYK-3550 offers recoatability and leveling in combination with anti-blocking properties.

The main application fields for BYK-3550 are automotive, industrial, wood and architectural coatings.

Troy Corporation has introduced a series of wetting additives under the banner, "Troy is the Key to Green Coatings."

"The products are focused on helping our customer provide 'green products with properties equal to conventional products," said Miller. "These products are all VOC-free (US EPA Method 24), HAPs-, APE-, Phthalate- and heavy metal-free. They are also made using renewable resources where possible."

Troy has recently launched a number of products to market, including Polyphase 2085 for low-VOC solvent-based wood stains and Mergal 753, an advanced, highly concentrated, environmentally friendly, wet-state preservative for paints and coatings that is VOC- and formaldehyde-free.

To differentiate from competition, Troy has also introduced the Home�Shield Performance Mark, which is displayed on products containing Troysan, Polyphase and/or Mergal performance additives and attests that the finished product has passed a specially designed rigorous HomeShield Performance Test and contains Troy's antimicrobial protection.

Additionally, Troy Corporation and an independent laboratory recertify the antimicrobial performance of products displaying the HomeShield performance mark every 12-months.

Evonik Tego Chemie GmbH has recently added several new products to its coating additives portfolio. TEGO Dispers 670 is a high performance wetting and dispersing additive for solventborne and high solids applications. It allows the formulation of organic, inorganic or carbon black pigment dispersions for high end applications such as automotive coatings, industrial 2-pack PU systems or enamels but also ink jet inks requiring superior transparency in combination with high gloss.

The key property of TEGO Dispers 670 is the effective reduction of mill-base viscosities resulting in lower VOCs. High pigment loadings with pigment stabilization can be achieved as well. Low yield points were detected with pigment dispersions based on TEGO Dispers 670 in combination with superior color strength development.

TEGO Dispers 755 W is a high performance wetting and dispersing additive for waterborne wood, automotive and industrial coatings as well as for printing ink formulations. The product provides viscosity reduction, weatherability and is compatible with all kinds of aqueous binder formulations. TEGO Dispers 755 W is distinguished by its wetting characteristics with organic, inorganic and carbon black pigments.

Developing Bio-based Additives With Reactive Surfaces

One company making a name for itself in the coatings industry is Reactive Surfaces Ltd. (RSL) of Austin, TX. A research and development company founded in 2002 by chief executive Steve McDaniel, RSL has been developing bioengineered molecules designed to add functionality to coatings and materials. It has extensive patents worldwide covering functional coatings and bio-based active ingredients, most recently in Canada on its self-decontaminating additive technology.

"Through discovery or creation of new enzymes and peptides, Reactive Surfaces has the capability to rapidly develop tailor-made additive candidates that function in a wide variety of surfaces," said McDaniel. "Our development effort is supplemented by an impressive team of external expertise in coatings, polymers and biochemistry at top universities including Texas A&M, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Georgia."

In 2008, RSL and its research partners at Southern Mississippi were awarded the first American Coatings Award for innovative coatings research. At the upcoming 2010 American Coatings Show, RSL will be presenting two papers on its bio-based additives and a pre-show tutorial on biocides.

RSL has not yet brought its products to market, but McDaniel said, "commercialization efforts are to focus on gaining market share in the large, well-established biocide markets."

The company is also pursuing the development of markets for innovative, new bio-based functionalities such as anti-corrosion, anti-viral and anti-fouling additives, according to McDaniel. To date RSL has developed three product lines including:

� ProteCoat, a family of non-toxic and non-polluting biocides. Products include antimicrobial peptides and a newly-developed, anti-algal enzyme/peptide mixture-DeGreen;
� OPDtox, a "green" pesticide and nerve agent neutralizer; and
� DeGreez, an oil-dissolving enzyme that creates self-degreasing surfaces.

"In 2010, Reactive Surfaces will begin testing novel bio-based functionality that will revolutionize anti-fouling coatings, it will conduct proof-of-concept testing for bio-based anti-corrosion additives and will finalize testing to show that its ProteCoat biocides are effective anti-viral additives," said McDaniel. "While Reactive Surfaces will generate revenue in 2010 from OPDtox and DeGreez, successful completion of EPA registration of the ProteCoat product line by the end of 2010 will open the way for initial sales in 2011. In parallel with EPA registration and scale-up activities, Reactive Surfaces will explore strategic partnerships with key customers and major additives suppliers. Revenue is expected to grow rapidly in 2013-2014."