Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. The coating is typically applied electrostatically and is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a “skin”. The powder may be a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. It is usually used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Powder coating is mainly used for coating of metals, such as “whiteware”, aluminium extrusions, and automobile and bicycle parts. Newer technologies allow other materials, such as MDF (medium-density fibreboard), to be powder coated using different methods.
AkzoNobel has underscored its ambition to double revenue in China within the next five years by opening its sixth powder coatings facility in the country. The plant is located in the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, a major industrial and manufacturing hub in central China.
The new factory will manufacture AkzoNobel Powder Coatings’ flagship Interpon range of products and joins the business’ five existing sites in Shenzhen, Langfang, Ningbo, Suzhou and Chengdu.
“China is fundamental to our new sustainable growth strategy and this sixth plant is the latest in a series of new facilities AkzoNobel has inaugurated in the region,” said Leif Darner, the board member responsible for the company’s performance coatings activities. “Our ambitions for China are clear and we are committed to achieving them.”
The Wuhan facility’s current production capacity is 4,000 tons per year and can be further expanded. The additional capacity boosts AkzoNobel’s ability to meet growing demand in what is one of the largest powder coatings markets in the world.
China has the fastest growth rate in the world in terms of powder coatings demand. “This demand is being driven by a number of factors, especially the rapid pace of urbanization and the associated growth of the housing, construction and automotive sectors,” said Rob Molenaar, managing director of AkzoNobel Powder Coatings. “By taking advantage of these trends, our own activities have achieved strong growth in recent years.
“We expect these trends to continue. So by opening our sixth plant, not only are we boosting our ability to meet market needs, but we are also establishing a strong geographic spread, with Wuhan being ideally placed to cater for customers in the central China area,” Molenaar said.
Powder coatings are solvent-free and Interpon is widely used in the appliance, architectural, automotive, furniture, general industry and IT sectors.
AkzoNobel currently employs around 6,500 people in China, with the country hosting 11 percent of the company’s research, development and innovation resources. Revenue for 2009 totaled $1.5 billion. The company’s focus on China was further strengthened last month when AkzoNobel officially inaugurated its new €275 million multi-site in Ningbo.
In terms of new product development, AkzoNobel has launched a sparkling metallic architectural product—Interpon D Brilliance. It is a single coat high quality metallic appearance coating which is also AAMA, Qualicoat, GSB and GB compliant.
Part of the global Interpon D1000 range, Interpon D Brilliance offers a greener option for creating a metallic effect in coatings, while still maintaining high quality performance and color options.
“Up to now, a bright metallic finish for architecture was only achievable through either liquid paints (PVDF) or a two coat powder system consisting of a metallic base coat and a protective clear coat over the top,” said Jean-Paul Moonen, AkzoNobel Powder Coatings architectural marketing director. “Single coat metallic powders were based on mica pigments, which do not have the same brightness.”
Interpon D Brilliance now provides a single coat bright metallic, which is both more efficient than the existing two-coat powder alternative and brighter than the single coat powder alternative, as well as being greener than the liquid paint option.
Equally important, according to Moonen, is that customers can relax in the knowledge that due to a unique manufacturing process, Interpon D Brilliance offers the same levels of weatherability and performance as D1000 without an additional protective clear coat.
“The powder can also be reclaimed without color change or a change in application,” Moonen said. “What’s more, our customers are globally active and want consistency and a product they can trust. Interpon D Brilliance offers just that.”
Jotun targets Furniture market
Jotun Powder Coatings, one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of powder coatings has launched globally its first furniture powder coatings range—Era-Coat MDF.
The company’s new umbrella brand of powder coatings for heat-sensitive substrates such as MDF is especially created for designers and furniture makers. While offering complete freedom of design to coat even the most intricate furniture, Era-Coat MDF also provides a more cost-effective and eco-friendly coating solution.
The new range is based on the latest MDF color trends, which includes Era-Coat MDF Primo, a uniquely engineered primer and a topcoat Era-Coat MDF 32T, available in 20 trendy colors and textures.
Formulated to ensure a seamless coated surface, Era-Coat MDF products can coat both the front and back of the MDF board at once, and leaves it reclaimable, safe, resistant to scratches, water, stains and impact.
Adaptable enough to bring to life any design concept, Era-Coat MDF is ideal for a host of areas including office furniture, retail displays and shelving, flat-pack furniture, doors and countertops, kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes.
In line with Jotun Powder Coatings’ commitment to minimizing any environmental damage, Era-Coat MDF does not contain solvents nor release any volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
“We have developed a furniture powder coatings solution that constitutes a strong alternative to established MDF finishing technologies, and with the quality, durability and simplicity that make it far superior to other systems,” said Olaf Conreur, divisional industrial product manager, Jotun Powder Coatings.
“The Era-Coat MDF range opens new horizons for the furniture industry in terms of design and creativity,” said Conreur. “We have a strong philosophy to provide freedom of design as testament to Jotun’s leadership in the powder coatings industry and we also ensure that the environmental benefits we offer will make our products become more widely used in the furniture market.”
Allowing the most benefit to industrial designers, Era-Coat MDF offers almost unlimited design opportunities, with properties that allows it to work for pieces of any shape as well as rounded corners and contoured edges.
Complimenting the Era-Coat MDF 32T, the Era-Coat MDF Primo is a basecoat that gives excellent adhesion and sealing properties to the MDF board. When used in combination with Era-Coat MDF 32T as a top coat, and following strict quality and process control procedures, Era-Coat MDF Primo extends the use of MDF powder coatings to a larger range of high end products within the furniture industry.
“With the launch of Era-Coat MDF, we are empowering designers to design, color and coat MDF to the highest standards,” said Conreur. “The unveiling of this new range underlines our continuous efforts to introduce technologically-advanced coatings that answers the specific challenges faced by the furniture and other related industries.”
Founded in 1926 in Norway, Jotun is one of the world’s leading paint and coating manufacturers. Today, Jotun’s diverse product range includes decorative, protective, marine, floor/concrete protection, powder coatings and intumescent coatings.
New Powder Coating Process Developed
A new powder coating process has been discovered that could help companies in the sector to save costs. According to Plastics News, a scientist from Australia has found a way for powder coatings to stick to plastics and composites without the need for a wet paint finish on heat-sensitive substances. The process is also said to be zero-waste and removes the impact of solvent emissions that comes with wet-paint coatings.
Voytek Gutowski, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, a government research agency, expects the process to be used in automotive, aviation, furniture and building product-manufacturing industries. The zero-waste process works by coating plastic components with a layer of molecules that provide conductivity to surfaces and allow powder coatings to stick before they are cured for a smooth finish. The technology is already in pre-production trials at several commercial ventures in Australia and internationally.
Tetrachim became the distributor of Arkema’s Kynar ADX powder coating product range. Kynar ADX powder coating is a primerless fluoropolymer coating with resistance to corrosive and abrasive media. Tetrachim was selected for the quality of its sales network and for its expertise in the distribution of high-tech coatings to surface treatment processors, Arkema said. Kynar PVDF has been produced for more than 40 years and is used in major industry such as construction, chemicals, oil and gas production, microelectronics and automotive. More recently Kynar PVDF has been used for green applications such as solar photovoltaic panels, electric rechargeable batteries and water filtration.
Powder Coatings Market Evolves
AkzoNobel and Jotun, two leaders in the global powder coatings market, continue to develop cutting edge technology and expand their global footprints.
By Tim Wright
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