Powder Coatings

By Tim Wright, Editor | December 19, 2011

The powder coatings segment continues to grow as paint makers turn to solvent-free formulations.

Stricter environmental regulations in the paint and coatings industry have benefited powder coatings. The technology has gained substantial popularity over the past several years. There are several advantages to the powder coating process, the main one being that it does not require solvents, and only minor amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released during the cure.

The powder coating market presents rapid growth driven by the development of new material, new formulations and advancement of equipment and application processes.

Asia Pacific represents the highest growth region, it being the largest consumer of powder coatings. Industrial uses combined presents the largest application market, while the automotive industry is the most promising one.

Furniture and appliance markets will continue their steady and strong growth. IT and telecom is a new market where applications of powder coatings are being extensively explored.
With the disadvantages being minimized and advantages further strengthened by the development in materials and technologies, powder coatings provide a market with opportunities and potential.

For example, AkzoNobel, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of powder coatings, is driving sustainable automotive topcoat solutions.

Showcased at the Cannes Surcar 2011 Congress, the Citroën DS4 is the first ever passenger vehicle in Europe to be exhibited using matt black textured powder coatings on the car body.

After initial trials with PSA Peugeot Citroën, the parent company of the Citroën DS4, a model was produced using Interpon A 5000. PSA Peugeot Citroën decided to showcase the car and its new coating system in Cannes.

“This is a great step forward for powder coatings in the automotive arena and one we are particularly proud of,” said Marie Cécile Dekker, global automotive marketing manager, AkzoNobel Automotive and Aerospace Coatings (AAC). “Historically powder coatings have been primarily used on the components of the vehicle, including the wheel and trim areas, providing aesthetic value and the high performance attributes required by the auto industry. We are now able to offer exciting new finishes, like the matt black texture, that are innovative and provide a unique and exciting character change that enhances the design features of the auto body. This type of design concept really is pushing the boundaries and inspiring design teams in the automotive world to think unconventionally.”

Powder coatings as a body coating alternative mark the start of a new era for automotive manufacturers who wish to reduce both their carbon footprint and their costs without compromising on technical quality or performance. Powder coatings are offering the automotive industry a sustainable alternative to liquid paints.

AkzoNobel’s powder mono coat system reduces the number of process steps and enables a significant reduction in energy consumption.

“This is not the first time powder coatings have been used as automotive topcoats. We have been coating commercial and passenger vehicles for many years and have made steady advances,” said AkzoNobel AAC’s Kevin Hales. “A lot of hard work has gone into refining the product and application techniques, working closely with PSA Peugeot Citroën to ensure their incredibly high quality demands are met and the coating is suitable for the European passenger vehicle market.”

PSA Peugeot Citroën has considerable experience in powder coating, especially for primer, which has been used at its Mulhouse factory since 2003. “This project was very exciting because it’s not only a practical response to customer expectations for more innovative effects, but also it’s obtained in the most simple way we can imagine, which was to apply a mono coat paint directly on e-coat with a fully automatic process,” said Antoine Vieu, PSA Peugeot Citroën expert for topcoat materials.

PSA Peugeot Citroën not only wanted a powder coating for this significant new finish, they also required a matching finish for the plastic body panels.

“Our challenge was to provide a high quality aesthetic match not only for color but also in surface structure,” said Regis Garcia of AkzoNobel Automotive and Aerospace Coatings. “The Citroën DS4 is evidence that AkzoNobel AAC rose to this challenge.”

Another example of innovative powder technology at work can be seen at San Jose International Airport, which is the first showcase for PPG Industries’ Duranar powder coatings.

The new Terminal B concourse at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in California is the first monumental architectural project constructed with Duranar powder coatings by PPG’s industrial coatings business.

Duranar powder coatings are formulated by PPG to provide the same long-term durability as Duranar liquid coatings, but in an environmentally advanced, ultra-low-VOC powder. They are based on the same polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) technology as liquid Duranar coatings.

Duranar Regal White powder coatings were applied to a series of curved, perforated metal panels that arc over the main Terminal B structure. The coating was specified by Fentress Architects, Denver, Colo. Overly Manufacturing, Greensburg, Pa., was the metal panel manufacturer and Spectrum Metal Finishing, Youngstown, Ohio, was the PPG Certified Applicator. Terminal B covers more than 160,000 square feet and is designed to accommodate up to 8.5 million passengers a year. The project earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Consolidation in the market

There has been a great deal of consolidation over the past several years in the powder coatings market, where the major players own roughly 85 percent of the market share. Most notably AkzoNobel acquired the powder coating activities of Dow Chemical, which Dow gained from its acquisition of Rohm and Haas.

In addition, Becker sold its powder coating business in North America to Sherwin-Williams and its European powder coating business to Inver SpA, while BASF sold its powder business for home appliances, heating and pipe coatings to Arsonsisi SpA.

Valspar Corp. recently bought a Brazilian manufacturer of powder coatings used in appliances, building products, transportation and other general industrial markets. Isocoat Tintas e Vernizes Ltda. serves customers in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. The company, which is located in Araçariguama, state of São Paulo, had 2010 sales of approximately $34 million.

“Isocoat further strengthens Valspar’s presence in the fast-growing coatings markets in Latin America,” said Gary Hendrickson, Valspar president.

During the year Tikkurila completed the selling of its powder coatings business to Teknos Group Oy. Tikkurila divested its industrial powder coatings business, because it is not a part of Tikkurila’s core business. After the transaction, Tikkurila has no powder coatings related operations. The revenue of the sold company was €2.4 million in 2010. Tikkurila is the leading decorative paints company in Russia, where it operates four paint factories after the transaction.
In other news, Australia’s largest paint maker Dulux expanded its presence in the growing Chinese market through a merger between its Chinese operations and Hong Kong-based Camelpaint group. Dulux will own 51 percent of the new company called DGL Camel International.

Camelpaint was established in Hong Kong in 1932, manufacturing a range of coating products in Hong Kong and southern China. Dulux and Camelpaint have been joint venture partners to produce powder coatings used in windowsills and door paints in China since 2004.

Dulux recorded revenue of roughly $700 million last year with more than 90 percent of its business coming from Australia and New Zealand. Remaining sales occur in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and PNG.

In terms of infrastructure expansion, AkzoNobel Powder Coatings has been very active this past year. The firm expanded its facilities at a manufacturing plant in Izmir, Turkey as well as invested in a new powder coating manufacturing plant in Apodaca, Mexico. In addition, AkzoNobel opened a new, dedicated polymer research laboratory facility in Felling, UK. The building houses a polymer laboratory devoted to the development of novel polymers and processing technologies for AkzoNobel Powder Coatings’ Interpon and Resicoat brands, as well as a powder application line.

Antimicrobial technology in powder formulations

In terms of new technology development, one growing area involves the incorporation of antimicrobial technology into new powder coating formulations.

Diamond Vogel launched a premium industrial powder coating with Agion antimicrobial protection. Sciessent, the creator of naturally occurring silver-based antimicrobial brand Agion, partnered with Diamond Vogel to offer the Peridium Powder Coatings line.

The new Peridium line brings the quality and durability that industrial customers have found synonymous with the Vogel name, with the added benefit of Agion antimicrobial product protection.

Agion technology inhibits the growth and propagation of bacteria on the surface of a product, adding an important layer of product protection to equipment and furnishings coated with the new Peridium powder coating line. Diamond Vogel makes coatings specifically formulated to the manufacturing setting and the customers' requirements.

The new Peridium Powder Coatings—including hybrid, polyester and epoxy technologies—with Agion technology is a powder coating made without water or petroleum-based solvents, and is applied electrostatically and cured through a baking process. This performance feature in Peridium powder coatings is exhibited in excellent final hardness and abrasion resistance of the coating, the company said.

Agion antimicrobial solution provides continuous product protection by releasing silver ions to the surface at a steady rate, and is designed to last the useful life of the product. Peridium Powder Coatings with Agion antimicrobial technology are ideal for healthcare furnishings, fitness equipment, furniture fixtures and many other industrial applications.

AkzoNobel Powder Coatings has teamed up with BioCote, an antimicrobial specialist in Europe, to create Interpon AM. Interpon AM is a high quality powder coating product that incorporates BioCote antimicrobial technology to offer coating protection in hygiene sensitive environments.
“AkzoNobel Powder Coatings is a world leader in powder technology, and working with BioCote we are now able to offer a coating product that combines the protective qualities of Interpon Powder Coatings with the antimicrobial properties that BioCote silver ion technology offers,” said Mark Reekie, market segment manager – Europe West AkzoNobel Powder Coatings.  “The possibilities that antimicrobial coatings can deliver are exciting and building hygiene protection into a coating provides a further line of defence in many diverse environments.”

Interpon AM provides benefits not only in traditionally hygiene sensitive areas such as medical and catering industries but also areas where there is a high level of human contact, for example in public transport, leisure facilities and self service technologies.

The antimicrobial technology used in Interpon AM is independently tested and is shown to reduce levels of bacteria and fungi by up to 99.9 percent said the company.

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