More Than Paint

May 15, 2012

On the menu for this month’s feature stories are three vastly different segments of the coatings industry: Marine coatings, color design in the interior deco segment and the small but growing field of solar coatings.

Marine paints cover a broad range of applications and are charged with protecting vessels and structures in harsh and diverse environmental conditions. They must protect and function under aggressive and extreme situations. Think chemical tank linings and offshore oilrigs.

Ships account for the largest market distribution of marine coatings and painting a ship hull in dry dock is a massive undertaking. Basically, anti-fouling paint is applied on a vessel to prevent the accumulation of barnacles, mollusks, seaweed, slime and other drags on a ship’s movement.

Ship owners look to their paint suppliers to cut costs with coatings that provide smoother, slicker vessel bottoms that can slice through the water at a faster speed and slower rate of fuel consumption.

Beyond paint, one of the most important issues in marine coatings is being able to measure the effect of anti-fouling on the performance of the hull and, therefore, on the fuel performance and energy efficiency of the vessel.

Coatings companies are now putting a lot of effort into making it possible to measure with a high degree of accuracy and reliability the effect of a particular coating on the fuel consumption of a particular vessel.

This article explores coatings that offer cleaner, greener, faster boats with more environmentally friendly materials for hulls.

If in marine coatings paint makers are really selling performance, not paint, back on land in the interior architectural coatings segment, color is often the major differentiator and selling point.
As such each year paint firms invest a lot of time and research developing color trend forecasts that go on display to sway DIY consumers at retail.

Benjamin Moore is one of those companies perched at the forefront of color design. To determine color trends, Benjamin Moore’s North American design team meets annually to discuss color forecast and trend research conducted throughout the year. “Our perspectives are individually shaped by social, political, economic shifts and how they may translate to the world of design,” says Benjamin Moore’s senior interior designer, Sonu Mathew.

Each year Benjamin Moore hosts a celebration of color— the HUE Awards—presented for exceptional use of color in architecture and interior design and this year’s winners are a truly distinguished group of design professionals who are all very passionate about the power of color. As Mathew’s says, “Color is the soul of design.”

In this issue for the first time Coatings World has begun to track the niche market for solar coatings, an area that has not popped up much on the radar. Charles Thurston reports on this truly high-tech coatings niche and PPG’s recently launched anti-reflective coating for glass panels used in solar modules, which the company says increases the amount of electricity produced by three to five percent. The company spent nearly four years developing the coatings and also recently formed a Solar Performance Group to focus solely on this burgeoning market.

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