, No. 3 on Coatings World's 2020 Top Companies list, opened a new research center in Como, Italy, that will develop pioneering products for the rapidly growing area of powder on wood.
The new R&D facility – which features an application lab, process lab, and analytical and testing lab – is dedicated to delivering low cure powder coatings for use on heat-sensitive substrates (such as MDF, plywood, thermoplastics and composites).
Its inauguration follows the recent acquisition of Stahl’s powder coatings activities, which gave AkzoNobel access to a broad range of solutions, including unique UV technology.
The Como center will now focus on developing an expanding portfolio of low cure solutions, including low bake, UV and ultra-low bake (ULB) powder technologies. This will enable customers to use less energy during production, gain process speed and boost their sustainability profile.
“We’re excited to build on our global leadership position and enter new markets while bringing more surfaces to life for our customers,” said Daniela Vlad, director of AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings business. “In addition to strengthening our position as a technology leader, the new facility will also help to accelerate our speed to market so we can reach our customers even faster.”
She added that this is only the first phase of the company’s expansion into powder on wood, with plans in place to open additional R&D centers in Asia and North America.
“The dedicated know-how we have in the new R&D center will enable us to develop a broad range of innovative new surface solutions, particularly for our wood coatings customers," Vlad said. “Having recently expanded our Como site, it means we can now accommodate a European manufacturing facility for powder on wood and the new R&D center at the same location, which will speed up the service capability we offer to customers in this segment.”
The Como site is AkzoNobel’s biggest plant in Europe for producing powder coatings. As well as increasing capacity, the recent €20 million expansion also sharpened the company’s focus on sustainable manufacturing.