Like most markets, the global recession has presented some unique challenges to the coatings industry. “Raw material availability and pricing have been brought to the forefront because of supply and demand issues,” said Ron Levitt, regional sales leader, North America, Shamrock Technologies. “Shamrock is working closely with our customers to help reduce the impact of these shortage situations. 2010 was a nice rebound year for us worldwide, which began toward the end of 2009. We saw strong growth and are anticipating much of the same for 2011 due to our focus on customer needs, the improving economy as well as capitalizing on new opportunities. Customers have been cautiously optimistic about 2011. There is a real ‘we are all in this together’ attitude out there.”
For Dow Coating Materials , 2010 finished strong compared with 2009, primarily due to inventory restocking in the value chain. “Expectations for 2011 are flat compared with 2010, but we are cautiously optimistic for an economic recovery,” said Kendall Justiniano, strategic marketing and product line manager, additives, Dow Coating Materials.
“Additives volume follows formulated paint volume, so we’re generally impacted commensurately from that standpoint,” said Justiniano. “However, customers are looking for both cost reduction and performance differentiation opportunities from their additive suppliers.”
Pricing and Supply Issues
In terms of current challenges in the market, Justiniano said tight supplies of TiO2 continue to be a foremost concern among formulators, so the pressure is on suppliers to find additional supply sources or alternate solutions for hiding.
“Dow’s Ropaque polymers are in high demand as a good option for optimizing and extending the hiding performance of TiO2,” said Justiniano. “In Europe, Dow has launched a series of products designed to reduce TiO2 content in solventborne alkyd gloss and semi-gloss paints by 15 to 30 percent while maintaining or improving gloss and hiding properties and reducing VOC content. This innovative new product line will soon be expanded to other regions worldwide.”
For road applications, Dow is also close to launching a high efficiency, next-generation acrylic binder technology that allows customers to significantly reduce TiO2 content in waterborne traffic paint while offering the same quick-drying, high durability performance required.
Increasing raw material prices and supply shortages are the major challenges for 2011, according to Craig Baudendistel, director of sales, Shamrock Technologies. “Raw material costs continue to increase across the board and in some cases dramatically,” he said. “We also continue to experience raw material supply tightness and shortages for some feed stocks.
“Shamrock implemented price increases in 2010 due to the dramatic escalation of costs we are experiencing,” said Baudendistel. “However we have not been able to pass the full amount of these increases to our customers. We are experiencing margin erosion in some of our product lines.”
Recent regulatory developments are requiring products be compatible with low and zero VOC systems. “ BYK Chemie has been a leading company in the chemical industry, and not just the additives industry, in working with the EU on REACH,” said Bruce Seeber, business line manager, BYK USA. “The challenge for additives manufacturers is to offer products which contain more sustainable raw materials and to help coatings customers meet green regulations like LEED and Green Seal.
“The additives industry as a whole is fully cooperating with other chemical companies to prepare for increasing regulations,” said Seeber. “This means developing products that will formulate with other resins and coatings systems, as well as developing products which lead the way with new technology and chemistries.”
Lower VOC regulations have put more importance on the role of multifunctional additives to improve the performance of today’s coatings, whether for architectural, industrial, automotive, or specialty finishes. “Innovative suppliers will be the big winners as they respond to the market needs for better performance and added value to the coatings producer,” said Peter Sheridan, director, performance additives, Troy Corporation. “Troy recognizes the need to support our customers in registration for REACH, and in response we have supplied all documentation necessary to comply with the mandates. Anticipating and meeting the needs of regulatory challenges is essential to supporting our regional and global customers.”
Regulations are specific to each country, but in general they are following very similar trends globally. “You see different implementation timelines, stronger or less aggressive targets depending on the region, and perhaps weaker enforcement systems in some of the emerging markets,” said Justiniano. “Low odor formulations are more important than low VOC in most of the emerging markets, such as China, Southeast Asia and Brazil. In North America, low VOC content low odor regulations are both creating challenges and opportunities for coatings additive suppliers.
“For example, when the last bit of solvent is removed from a coating formulation, film formation becomes more difficult,” Justiniano explained. “Low VOC paints are more susceptible to freeze/thaw problems, and the additives that can help solve the freeze/thaw challenge can affect the efficiency of rheology modifiers. The sustainability movement is providing us with a host of challenges and opportunities that we’re dedicated to resolving.”
Currently, the coatings industry has been driven by a combination of regulatory restrictions, consumer expectations as well as the emerging markets of environmentally friendly and food contact products, according to Heather Yang, regulatory compliance manager, Shamrock Technologies. “Some regulations, such as the EU’s REACH initiative, have affected the world producers exporting paints and coatings. Large companies set up their own Certification Program as a comprehensive environmental initiative to help their suppliers reduce the environmental impact of both the materials they supply and their own manufacturing operations.”
These new requirements make it necessary for a company to proactively plan all major long-term elements of corporate strategy. “This includes financing, formulation, manufacturing, raw material information collection, product development, marketing and others,” said Yang. “Shamrock has taken the following measures to be compliant with global regulations: actively monitor hazardous substances to ensure global market compliance; ensure adequate infrastructure is in place to deal with classification, labeling and packaging; update substance registration dossiers; and cooperate with others in the supply chain, to make sure the changes are managed smoothly.”
New Additives Technology
One of Dow’s newest products is Acrysol RM-845 Rheology Modifier, a new non-ionic (HEUR) associative thickener for high-performance coating rheology in both interior and exterior latex paints. Based on patented Acid Suppression Technology, Acrysol RM-845 enables production of an associative thickener free of solvents or alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEO), has high Stormer (KU) efficiency, very low odor and a very low VOC profile.
“Acid Suppression Technology will be incorporated into many thickener structures, giving coatings developers the capability to create formulations that comply with VOC and other regulatory requirements, while maintaining cost and product performance,” said Justiniano. “Current rheology modifiers from Dow using this technology include Acrysol RM-895 and RM-845.”
Troy has introduced Troysol ZLAC, a substrate wetting and flow additive that contributes zero VOCs, zero hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and zero alkyl-phenol ethoxylates (APE) to aqueous systems. The product is the latest addition to Troy’s Z-line of ‘green’ performance additives engineered to help manufacturers achieve regulatory compliance and still maintain optimum performance. Troysol ZLAC provides the same benefits and attributes long associated with Troysol LAC wetting additive, but without the VOCs.
“Troy has answered the needs of paint and coatings manufacturers with Troysol ZLAC, and looks forward to enabling inks, adhesives and building materials manufacturers to achieve similar success with the unique multifunctional additive,” said Sheridan.
Troy has also recently introduced Troysol Z370 universal wetting and mar and slip additive, which is a zero-VOC, APE-free multifunctional product.
Shamrock Technologies’ latest product offerings include MicroFLON, NanoFLON and Fluoro-T fluoropolymer additives. Part of Shamrock’s premium line of PTFE products, they are specifically designed for applications where anti-wear and friction modification are essential, according to the company. The MicroFLON prime PTFE grade offers customers a broader range of applications including food contact, and the tight process and particle size control deliver superior dispersion and distribution benefits. NanoFLON prime PTFE grade offers particle sizes as small as 200 nanometers, which provides a break-through in slip, abrasion-resistance and release, according to the company. The Fluoro-T product line offers outstanding coefficient of friction and wear resistance in both nylon and acetal (POM) applications.
Shamrock will be unveiling several new products and technologies in 2011. “These include products to improve slip and abrasion in water-based can coatings, matting agents that offer excellent burnish resistance, additives for solvent-based wire coatings, as well new FDA compliant fluoropolymers,” said Levitt.
The additives industry must not just develop new products but must work with both customers and other raw material suppliers to build the optimum products that meet expanding regional and global regulations, according to Seeber. “This will provide the most value to customers,” he said.
“As more markets are starting to vie for the same raw materials traditionally used for years in the paint and coatings industry, it will become imperative that we look for a broader base of raw materials to improve upon existing and new products,” said Levitt. “The additives industry needs to constantly strive to improve upon existing products and technologies in line with customer needs.”
One trend is the shift to multifunctional additives, which perform the jobs of several additives, in one. “VOC limits are the predominant force causing this shift. Aqueous systems require more additives than solvent systems in order to achieve good product performance,” said Sheridan. “However, some of these additional additives can add VOCs to a system when formulators are struggling to comply with VOC limits. Multifunctional additives answer this challenge, because they reduce the number of additives required to help the aqueous system perform well and still remain compliant. In essence, less is more.”
The global coatings industry needs to embrace the sustainability movement, according to Jusiniano. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to apply our scientific knowledge to help create innovative solutions that are cost effective, high-performance and sustainable,” he said. “All three of those conditions need to be met for us to succeed.
“Science and chemistry have historically been the great enablers for the coatings industry, and there has never been a greater opportunity for us to leverage those disciplines to convert problems and challenges into solutions and opportunities,” Justiniano concluded.
Reactive Surfaces extended protection of its self-decontaminating coating additive compositions worldwide with the grants of patents in Great Britain, Hong Kong, Australia and Canada. The patented compositions comprise enzymatic additives which when admixed into a coating when applied to a substrate result in a highly stable, long-lasting coated surface capable of rapidly and continuously catalyzing the decontamination of organophosphorus neurotoxins, such as pesticides and nerve gases, that come into contact with the surface.
The granted claims vary slightly by country but are generally directed to both permanent and temporary coatings that are liquid, liquefiable or mastic in nature. The coatings comprise a variety of both naturally-occurring and genetically-modified hydrolase enzymes delivered in a dry bacterial cell powder or liquid formulation at loading rates of between approximately 0.001 percent up to approximately 40 percent by weight or volume in coatings applied at five microns thickness and greater. The types of coatings shown to be amenable to functionalization by the claimed additives include a variety of coating types and multicoat systems. Also claimed are methods for self-decontaminating coated surfaces using the claimed coatings and multicoat systems.