Coatings World: What are the biggest market trends in exterior architectural coatings?
Michael Couchie: It has always been a trend, but now more than ever, the need for water-based coatings continues to increase. Especially as the list for restricted solvents and co-solvents continue to grow. In terms of field-applied applications, California is the biggest driver in demand for low or no VOC products for exterior commercial and industrial applications. This is due to strict environmental regulations on VOC content as it relates to water runoff. On the OEM side, water-based products continue to be on the incline as contract coaters and architectural product manufacturers are continuing to move toward solvent-free production facilities and the ability to comply with California’s Proposition 65.
Another trend for niche/high-performance architectural coatings opportunities are coatings that have increased functionalities- such as corrosion protection and resistance to UV degradation causing fading and reduction in gloss. Mold and mildew resistance is another functionality that is trending- this is due to the use of certain biocide additives being restricted due to VOC limitations. The reduction in the number of coalescents used in water-based coatings impedes their ability to mitigate bacterial growth. Coatings formulators have had to find ways to replace these biocides without impacting performance.
Coatings World: What has been the biggest area of growth or change over the last few years?
Couchie: We have seen an influx in coating opportunities for difficult-to-coat plastics, specifically polyolefin-based materials that are becoming more widely used. These materials are used in a variety of applications that demand stain resistance, abrasion and scuff resistance, UV protection, etc but have a very low surface energy which creates a challenge for coating adhesion, especially with water-based chemistries.
Coatings World: What are the areas of anticipated market growth?
Couchie: We anticipate smart coatings to continue to have a presence in a variety of applications. Self-stratifying coatings are one of them- the architectural and automotive market segments are two of the largest growth areas in the paints and coatings industry- these markets demand enhancements to surface specific properties such as dirt resistance, cleanability, hydrophobicity, as well as stain and chemical resistance. Optimizing self-stratifying coatings to form separate layers or components can offer all of these performance characteristics in a single coat system…solving performance AND application challenges…exactly what the industry demands.
Coatings World: What additional insight can APV Engineered Coatings offer about this market? How are you addressing your customers' needs in this area?
Couchie: Our research and technology department is at the heart of APV. The market continues to shift and at a fairly rapid pace on a global scale. For APV, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all product for us. We address our customers’ needs by being at the forefront of brand new technologies and polymers that meet environmental compliance restrictions, the high demands for performance, and exceptional adhesion to a variety of substrates. All of our technologies are custom developed for its intended application.