CW: Over the last few years environmental regulations have created a demand for low and zero-VOC products. How important is it for your company to offer these types of products?
Barrios: Oxiteno is a leader in surfactant production in the Americas and is always alert to coatings industry trends and needs. There is greater demand for better quality products, with superior performance - that is, which are more durable, more resistant to weathering conditions, offer better spreading rate and are easy to apply. At the same time, we also see a growing concern for the environmental impact and the demand for regulations to reduce VOCs.
Our technologies help coatings manufacturers to face the challenge of allowing their formulations to comply with regulations, without losing durability and other properties that are important throughout the product's life, such as color, brightness and water resistance. We invest in improving quality and delivering a product that outperforms the end consumers’ expectations.
CW: What specific low and zero-VOC coatings products does your company offer?
Barrios: Oxiteno professionals are experts in chemistry and they understand the coatings market’s unmet needs to develop high-value innovation. This enables the company to develop solutions that serve our customers’ challenges for different coatings applications. Innovation permeates every area of the company, going beyond the scope of product and service development. We work to deliver high-performance, flexible, fast-implementation alternatives for the market that have lower social and environmental impacts and are in tune with macro trends.
VOC reduction in formulations has been one of the guidelines in product development for different applications in coatings. Oxiteno’s technologies enable the development of low-VOC outdoor paints with higher dirt pick-up resistance, improved latex film formation and reduced surfactant leaching from paints. Our product lines in coalescents and emulsifiers, ULTRAFILM® 5000 and OXIMULSION® 9000, are part of these new technologies, being able to deliver superior performance while meeting environmental demands.
ULTRAFILM® 5000 allows formulation of latex paints with reduced VOC without compromising dirty pick up resistance while increasing water resistance and reducing pigment leaching.
Furthermore the OXIMULSION® 9000 series are used in the emulsification of alkyd resins to be used in near zero VOC enamels and primers.
CW: When formulating zero and low VOC coatings what are some of the challenges? What types of additives need to be used to achieve zero and low VOC and at the same time meet performance requirements?
Barrios: In latex-based waterborne paints, one way to reduce VOC is to use coalescents with higher boiling points. However, by evaporating more slowly, it is known that these agents can result in paint with low hardness. This permanent decrease in hardness of paint films considerably increases their tackiness, favoring adhesion between painted surfaces and adhesion of dirt on painted surfaces, decreasing their resistance to blocking and dirt pick-up. These two unwanted consequences decrease the performance and durability of paints, resulting in a demand for low VOC agents capable of yielding paints with high blocking and dirt pick-up resistance.
To meet these challenges, Oxiteno has developed new technologies that enable the formulation of low-VOC outdoor paints with higher dirt pick-up resistance, improved latex film formation and reduced surfactant leaching from paints, its ULTRAFILM® 5000 new low VOC coalescing agent.
CW: In what application areas are low and zero-VOC products most sought after? (residential, schools, hospitals, etc).
Barrios: Oxiteno’s unique portfolio offers technologies in different applications for resins, latex, architectural and industrial markets. The reduction of VOCs in formulations has been one of the guidelines for the company's R&D team in the development of products for different applications in coatings.
The highest demand for low and zero-VOC products continues to be in the residential architectural paint market, especially for exterior applications. This is mainly due to lack of performance (e.g. dirty pick resistance and pigment leaching) of near-zero VOC formulations.
CW: Recent product innovations include odor-reducing coatings to address indoor air pollution. Where are you focusing your R&D efforts in terms of these types of technologies?
Barrios: Oxiteno uses its in-depth technical expertise, unique portfolio combination and customer partnerships to be a solution provider for coatings. Its specialists understand the market’s unmet needs to develop high-value innovation and deliver solutions for VOC reduction, enhance performance and energy efficiency to evolve coatings systems.
Our solutions have attributes aligned with sustainability measures, such as being low odor, low VOC, low toxicity, APE- free (ethoxylated alkylphenol free products) and HSE* friendly. We work to provide the market with high-performance, flexible, rapidly deployed alternatives that have a lower environmental impact and are in tune with trends.
*HSE - Health, Safety and Environment