As we progress into 2013, the additives market continues to feel the effects of the struggling economy. Additives play an important role in the paint and coatings industry, and offer a range of purposes including enhanced adhesion of paint, preventing growth of mildew, and improving overall characteristics and properties of paint. However, due to the slow economy and decreased demand, the additives market has suffered this past year.
Ralf Taube, regional marketing manager for architectural coatings at Eastman Chemical Corporation explained, “The worldwide economic situation understandably increases the short-term focus on profitability and market share. At the same time, companies must continue investing in innovation and improved functionality of their products. Many of the attractive opportunities for innovation and growth are driven by compliance to the continued trends towards low odor and improved indoor air quality, while others stem from a desire for product differentiation and enhanced functionality. Eastman Chemical has been proactive in helping our customers meet these needs through the addition of low odor and low emission coalescents, Optifilm enhancer 300 and Optifilm enhancer 400, to our portfolio of coalescents and with our low VOC open time additive, Optifilm additive OT1200. We continue to see strong interest and demand globally for our Optifilm family of compliant products.“
Echoing this sentiment was Sebastien Taillemite, business director, additives, Arkema Coating Resins who said, “The additive market is experiencing a slow down due to lower demand in the coating industry. Depending on the geographies and the end-market, this slow down is more or less pronounced.”
Despite the tough market, especially in Europe, Jeremy Austin, business development manager, Cray Valley Hydrocarbon Specialty Chemicals expressed some positive improvement in North America and Asia.
Ron Levitt, regional sales leader, Shamrock Technologies, found that the additives market remained competitive this year, with the focus on creating products for consumers that were both economical and effective.
“Customer mergers and acquisitions have limited the amount of opportunities available to us so we are charged with developing products that are not only technically superior, but are also economically feasible. We are constantly looking at new raw materials in an effort to improve formulas and bring a higher value to the customer,” he said.
"The additives market has been very dynamic as newer resin systems get implemented at customers to allow them to make low to near zero VOC paints that improve application properties," said Shailesh Shah, global marketing strategy-formulation additives, BASF Corp. "These changes sometimes drive changes in additive technologies as well."
Dale MacDonald, vice president, coatings additives, Ashland Specialty Ingredients added that although the tough economic times continue to have an effect on the additives market, Ashland strives to meet the needs of the customer with constant innovations.
“The markets in China and India continue to show growth albeit at a slower rate; the construction market in North America has started to see a slight improvement, but Europe has been significantly impacted by the overall financial crisis. Ashland has made significant investments in emerging markets of Brazil, China, and India in manufacturing and regional laboratories to support our customers and their growth,” he said.
"The marketplace overall remains competitive, and the advantage has gone to performance suppliers who offer multifunctional additives that perform the job of several products in one," said w. Brian Smith, vice president of Troy Corp. "The benefits of multifunctional additives, such as Troysol ZLAC wetting and flow & leveling additive, are added value, high performance at very low use levels, and reduced product inventory. Offering manufacturers the ability to reduce costs while achieving performance benchmarks is essential."
"The additives market in North America has experienced some improvement; Europe remains relatively flat; and Asia continues to be the growth leader,"added Smith. "Troy is in a strong position to supply these regional markets with the right technologies that offer high levels of performance, environmental responsibility, and cost efficiencies, backed by regional distribution, regulatory assistance, and accessible technical service and support."
According to Toni-Raye Gizzo, marketing manager, Micro Powders Inc., the wax additives market fared especially well.
“In our area of sales of wax additives to the coatings market have exceeded our forecasts for the last two years,” she said. “We have been able to secure a significant amount of new business in waterborne coatings with several new products designed specifically for these challenging applications.”
Raw material prices also tend to affect the additives market, however it seems that there was not too much of an effect in 2012.
“Our raw materials have begun to stabilize after a prolonged period of variability and uncertainty,” explained Jeremy Austin, Cray Valley HSC.
When choosing additives it is important to consider different characteristics to ensure the best performance. Jim Stange, Dow Corning Corporation, explained, “it is important to consider additives that offer good cost in use value propositions. In many cases, formulators may be able to reduce the overall costs as well as formulation complexity by utilizing a silicone additive that can be added at half or even one fourth the level of an organic additive for that same purpose. Even though a silicone additives initial cost may be more, they are often high in actives content and the low usage levels may save costs.”
"We ask formulators to consider not only performance of an additive, which is a must, but also long term sustainability," said Shah. "At BASF, we consider if the additive is not only free of VOC’s, APEO, heavy metals etc. but would allow for reduction complexity, improvement in paint production or enhancement of raw material utilization. Other considerations include how well an additive works with specific binders and pigments."
Rich Letasi, product marketing group, Shamrock Technologies, agreed that performance played a significant role in choosing additives, as well as economic considerations.
“For Shamrock’s type of products, PTFE and specialty waxes, abrasion, rub, mar, scuff, and block resistance along with water repellency are some of the key performance features. Economics also come in to play. The right balance between performance and value must also be considered,” he explained.
Convenience, performance improvement, and assisting the customer in capturing value in the market are of the utmost importance for formulators when choosing an additive. Sustainability also remained a driving force for most customers.
“Low VOC regulations and low odor needs have put more importance on the role of multifunctional additives to improve the performance of today’s water based architectural coatings. Low odor formulations are more important than low VOC in most of the emerging markets,” MacDonald added.
Environmentally friendly options as well as safety are important to the future of the market as well as strong considerations for Troy Company when choosing additives.
“Choosing performance additives that provide ‘green’ characteristics, such as minimized environmental persistence, low toxicity, and safe handling attributes, will pay dividends over time as environmental and safety regulations will become more stringent in the future," said Smith. "Furthermore, choosing multifunctional additives, such as those in Troy’s Z Line of performance additives, will enable formulators to reduce inventory and achieve performance objectives, such as higher gloss and the elimination of surface defects. Cost-in-use is also a major concern in the current market, so opting for an additive that offers maximum performance at very low use levels, such as products in Troy’s Z Line, will save money and add value in the long run."
Expansions in technology for additives in paint and coatings are being developed based on the changing needs and objectives of the market. Shamrock Technologies has focused on special requirements that require a generation of specialty additives.
“The paint and coatings industry requires specialty additives that push the performance requirements beyond traditional definition of coatings: high temperature resistance, long lasting corrosion resistance, smart coatings stimuli responsive. These are no longer Sci-fi topics, they are real business and emerging technologies,” said Alex Radu, product marketing group, Shamrock Technologies.
Dow Corning Corporation is developing additives that can reduce the overall cost and complexity of the formulation based on the demands of the market.
“Many of our additives can be used to replace multiple additives in a formulation,” explained Stange, “For example, our recently launched Dow Corning 205SL Additive offers both slip and leveling properties as well as hand feel and defoaming potential.”
Arkema Coating Resins’ use of organic rheological additives is replacing inorganic agents.
“The main drivers for this technology shift are the better performance in terms of viscosity stability, anti-settling and sag resistance,” said Taillemite. “Furthermore with the current trend to go to higher solids, organic additives should continue to displace bentones which may not work as well with high solid coatings and risk lowering application performance.”
Eastman Chemical Company saw a continued trend towards compliance in terms of the latest technologies for additives. In addition to this, they saw a trend towards low odor and emission, particularly in Asia Pacific and Europe, triggered by certain limitations. This led to the development of an increased interest in their low odor coalescent aid Eastman Optifilm enhancer OE300.
Jeffrey Brown, global marketing manager, Dow Coating Materials, noticed an increased interest in solvent free HEUR (hydrophobically-modified ethylene oxide-based urethanes), which are thickeners that can be used in very low-VOC formulations. Dow Coating Materials have developed several new technologies to support this.
“Dow Coating Materials developed Acid Suppression Technology to enable low –VOC HEUR thickeners without the use of solvents or added surfactants,” said Brown. “Acid Suppression Technology enables HEUR thickeners to be supplied at low viscosity (<2000 cP) and low pH, and uses the higher pH typical in waterborne paints to trigger the thickening mechanism only after the rheology modifier has been added to the paint. The end result is an efficient and easy-to-handle low-VOC HEUR thickener that contains no added solvent or surfactant.”
Micro Powders Inc. predicted an increase in water-based paints, which already account for 80 percent of the architectural coatings market. Waterborne architectural paint that contains the lowest possible VOC content is the new trend in the market, continued Gizzo.
“Micro Powders has devoted considerable resources into developing a series of novel polymeric matting additives with low absorption that allow for easier incorporation. These polymeric types can offer formulation benefits in terms of matting efficiency, rheological stability, smoothness, and wet scrub resistance,” she said.
In addition to this development, there has been an increased interest demand in Micro Powders oxidized and modified polyethylene’s, which offer stability in waterborne coatings and are designed to provide wet scrub resistance and smoothness, can be easily incorporated and provide in-can stability.
Cray Valley HSC aimed to keep up with a changing industry, and regarded pigment substitutions, loading and cost as its most important objectives.
Troy Corporation keeps its focus on ‘going green’, as its latest technologies are multifunctional additives that are VOC and APE free.
“Troy’s development efforts will continue to focus on ‘green’, multifunctional additives with VOC- and APE-free chemistry," said Smith. "New Troy performance additives will also offer robust technology that allows performance advantages in a wide variety of application processes and expanding end-use areas. An example is Troysol 382, a new multifunctional, silicone-free wetting additive that improves application properties in high speed processes, such as those used in the production of coatings, inks, and adhesives.Troy additives will continue to enable manufacturers to achieve performance objectives while lowering cost-in-use and meeting or exceeding ‘green’ standards. Troy is continually developing new technologies that will help our customers to lead in their respective markets."
New Additives Launched in 2012
2012 brought many new additives to the coatings market.
Troy recently launched Troysol 382, a multifunctional, silicone-free wetting additive that promotes strong dynamic surface tension reduction in aqueous systems, resulting in excellent wetting and application characteristics. The use of Troysol 382 also promotes foam reduction and the elimination of surface defects, such as cratering, crawling, and fisheyes. The new performance wetting additive offers coatings, inks, and adhesives formulators the ability to improve high speed application properties and gives them the flexibility to incorporate the product at any stage of the production process.
A recent addition to Troy’s Z Line of performance additives is Troysol Z372, a high performance universal mar and slip additive that also offers defoaming capability. Engineered for solvent, solvent-free, and aqueous systems, Z372 improves resistance properties, gloss, and surface appearance in most systems. Z372 is well-suited for coatings and related products in which surface slip and/or resistance properties, such as block, stain, or scrub resistance, are required. Like all Troy Z Line performance additives, Z372 is a zero VOC, HAPS-free, APE-free product formulated with renewable resources.
Dow Corning launched several additives programs this past year, including The Dow Corning 100F Additive, a flurosilicone antifoam for high solids formulations in both solventborne and UV Coatings. Dow also released a family of superwetters including The Dow Corning 500W, Dow Corning 501W, Dow Corning 502W and Dow Corning 67.
Dow Coating Materials released their Acrysol RM-995 Rheology Modifier this year, which is a second generation, low-VOC HEUR based on Acid Suppression Technology that offers the features and benefits of traditional HEUR chemistry plus a balance of sag resistance and flow, and increased resistance to viscosity loss with colorant addition.
According to Jeffrey Brown of Dow Coating Materials, their plan to launch a new zero-VOC capable KU builder based on Acid Suppression Technology is underway for early 2013.
Some of BASF's latest technological advances include VOC-free and odor-free defoamers, pigment dispersants for water-based paints based on controlled free-radical (CFRP) block-copolymer technology, VOC-free and very high efficiency associative rheology modifiers and renewable based very low VOC coalescence.
BASF recently launched six different additives. FoamStar ED 2523: A new polymer emulsion based defoamer with broad applicability in decorative paints from high to mid-PVC range. It is VOC and odor-free and can replace multiple defoamers for a customer. Efka 2010: A new silicone-free defoamer for solvent-based clear coats for wood and other substrates where it achieves a difficult combination of defoaming with excellent clarity and gloss. Dispex® Ultra PX 4575: A new CFRP technology based dispersant for waterbased industrial paints with excellent performance with inorganic and transparent pigments and complements EFKA 4585 to create low viscosity, high color strength, resin-free pigment concentrates. Efka 7701, Efka 7731 and Efka 7732: Three new 100% active dispersants based CFRP and block copolymer technology for exceptional performance in dispersing pigments for solvent-based and radiation curable ink-jet inks.
Micro Powders Inc. announced three new products this year, including AquaMatte 31, a high density oxidized polyolefin designed to impart uniform gloss reduction and burnish resistance to waterborne paint and coatings; Microspersion 31AQ-50, a 50% solids aqueous dispersion of micronized high density polylefin wax that provides uniform matte effect in waterborne printing inks, paints and coatings; and PropylMatte 450, an economical low density micronized polypropylene wax designed to provide consistent matting effect in all types of paint and coatings.
Shamrock Technologies launched three new products recently, Black Sheep SST3PS, Black Sheep SST3PT, and AquaFLON 91.
“The Black Sheep series of micronized PTFE provides the same performance of our SST3 at great cost reduction. These recycled, pigmented products can be used in printing inks, coatings as well as lubricants. AquaFLON 91 is a 60% water dispersion of a specially engineered pigmented PTFE. AquaFLON 91 offers maximum abrasion resistance and is ideal for dark and black-pigmented inks and coatings,” said Roy Pe, product marketing group.
Cray Valley recently launched Crayvallac LV, a rheolofical additive for solvent-free epoxy and polyurethane coatings. Crayvallac LV is designed for demanding protective and marine paints, and can be used in very high solid coatings.
Another product released by Arkema this year was the Crayvallac Flow-450, which is a non-silicone based leveling agent for wood, plastic, and metal coatings. Crayvallac Flow-450 contains defoaming properties and is easily compatible in many systems. Arkema’s subsidiary Coatex also released Bumper Technology, a new proprietary dispersing technology platform to assist formulators in reducing titanium dioxide level in coatings.
Jeremy Austin of Cray Valley HSC announced plans for 2013.“We are bringing online a hydrogenated hydrocarbon resin plant to complement our existing HCR portfolio,” Austin said.
Ashland Specialty Ingredients plans to launch Natrosol Performax, patent pending, as part of their line of Natrosol hydroxyethylcellulose.
“Natrosol Performax comprises a range of hydroxyethylcellulose thickeners that delivers unprecedented process flexibility and quality control to paint manufacturers, said MacDonald.
“The patented technology triggers rapid and complete dispersion in any water-based medium, even under low shear conditions. This allows manufacturers to add HEC in dry form at any point of the manufacturing process, eliminating extra process steps like the preparation of pre-slurries or dissolutions of HEC, saving operational costs. The end result is a faster, more efficient, less costly production process – and better paint quality.”
Mergers and Joint Ventures
Coatex, a subsidiary of Arkema, acquired an acrylic additives and emulsions production site from the Brazilian company Resicryl this year, explained Amber Goodyear, Marketing Manager, Coatex. The aim is to develop the site to manufacture the full range of Arkema’s rheology additives and waterborne emulsions for the mineral industry, paper, construction, water treatment, paint and adhesives, and cosmetics markets.
Another merger that happened in 2012 came with the announcement of Eastman Chemical Company completing its acquisition of Solutia Inc. Ralf Taube, Eastman Chemical Company explained that the acquisition supports Eastman’s objectives to increase revenue and profit margins by expanding geographically especially in the emerging markets.
Ashland Specialty Ingredients acquired ISP this year as well, bringing together two different suppliers as one company.
“With the addition of ISP, a much broader portfolio of additive technologies exists at Ashland to help our customers win in their markets,” MacDonald said.
2013: Looking ahead
Despite the tough market, the focus continues to be on improving products and new innovation.
“A major innovation focus is on lowering and striving to completely eliminate VOCs and odor in a can of paint. This includes developing additives without added solvents or materials of concern that help paint formulators reach their targets of low, ultra-low, or zero VOC paints that comply with new regulations and increasingly tougher environmental labeling programs,"
said Brown.“New innovations in additives will play a big role in achieving long term VOC and regulatory targets, while at the same time maintaining or improving the application, appearance, and film performance of paints.”