Axalta has seen increases in powder coating consumption in the emerging markets where local governments have implemented newer regulations to curb VOC emissions. “Obviously, we are actively pursuing new opportunities with customers who are affected by the new environmental guidelines and therefore want to utilize powder in both existing and new facilities,” said Bill Sante, global director, marketing and business development, powder coatings at Axalta Coating Systems. “Axalta estimates that the market for powder in 2014 will yield mid-single digit growth over 2013. We saw continued improvement in almost all of the end-use segments as many industries that use powder coatings continue to produce year-over-year growth.”
VOC regulations remain a key driver for the powder coatings market. “Environmental regulations continue to drive change in industrial coatings formulations, particularly the requirement for solvents with lower or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” said Steve Kiefer, powder coatings business director, North America, AkzoNobel. “Because powder coatings do not contain any solvents, they are by definition the most environmentally compliant and sustainable industrial finishes, and we continue to see a switch from liquid coatings to powder. As well as offering environmental benefits, powder coatings also typically have a lower applied cost as well as an improved performance profile compared to liquid coatings. Powder coatings can also substitute other processes that may involve the use of substances of concern. For example, our new Interpon Cr powder coating is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative for chrome plating.”
“Continued pressure with VOC regulations will benefit the market,” said Joe Laehu, Valspar global industrial segment director. “Most environmental regulations requirements have already occurred. Continued innovation with powder coatings will expand those market participation opportunities.”
“Stricter environmental regulations have most definitely benefited the powder coatings market,” said Ron McMahon, global market director, powder coatings, Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes Group. “In North America, finishers that may have reached their overall operational VOC limits using liquid coatings have found that powder is a great alternative to ensure they remain in compliance with a part of their environmental regulations. In global markets such as China and the remaining APAC countries and Eastern Europe – where environmental regulations are becoming more stringent – powder is being selected as the finish of choice as new lines are set up. The environmental benefits include zero to very low VOCs; reclamation and reuse of overspray; and waste that is generally considered non-hazardous.”
McMahon reported positive growth in 2014 for powder coatings. “As an industry, the rate of growth for powder globally has been seven to eight percent for the market overall,” he added. “By 2018, it is expected that growth will be over eight percent.”
Asia still remains the fastest growing region. “Because the U.S. and European markets are more mature, major opportunities to expand the overall powder market are limited,” said Laehu. “However, with the new powder technologies being developed, there will be opportunities to use powder in ways that have not been possible in the past. For example, Valspar Valde EFC is a technology that allows powder to cure faster and at lower temperatures than traditional powder solutions. This low-cure technology breakthrough makes it possible to coat large, non-uniform shapes with powder that would traditionally be limited to liquid coatings technology. Because of this, manufacturers will benefit from the traditional benefits of powder technology, like low-VOC formulations and durable protection, as well as more efficient operations.”
Axalta sees the emerging markets as offering the best opportunity for growth. “More specifically, according to many economic metrics, countries in Asia, such as China, India and pockets of ASEAN, are generating impressive economic growth,” said Sante. “For this reason, for example, we recently invested to expand production capacity at two of our powder coating plants in China that are part of the Axalta Huajia joint venture.”
Axalta’s newest powder coatings include three new products. Abcite thermoplastic powder coating is formulated for toughness, durability and outstanding corrosion protection, without the need of a primer. “Abcite’s properties are derived from engineered polyolefin-based polymers combining toughness, excellent adhesion to substrates and resistance to shock,” said Sante. “Unlike thermosetting powder settings, Abcite simply melts onto a pre-heated surface. When cooled, adhesion, appearance and physical properties are established without the need for curing.”
Alesta ZeroZinc is Axalta’s latest next generation of zinc free anticorrosion primers. The ZeroZinc family includes a “Steel Primer” for ferrous substrates, an “Edge Primer” for steel and aluminum substrates with sharp edges and an “Antigassing Primer,” which offers a tailored solution for degassing substrates.
Nap-Gard High Tg 7-2555 is a next generation product which can withstand continuous operating temperatures of 155°C (311°F). “It is a thermosetting epoxy powder designed for use as a corrosion barrier coating for underground and sub-sea pipelines that operate in high temperature service,” added Sante. “It can be used as a corrosion coating in a stand-alone or dual-powder coating system or as a corrosion coating under multi-layer insulation systems. When used in conjunction with Axalta’s most recent dual layer system Nap-Gard 7-2675, the operating system increases to 180°C (356°F). The second layer is designed to ensure reduced water permeability and improved chemical resistance.”
AkzoNobel has launched a string of innovative products over the past year. This includes Interpon Cr, which is intended as a substitute for chrome plating in a number of interior applications. Interpon Cr, part of AkzoNobel’s Interpon powder coatings range, combines a chrome-like finish with the performance of a two-coat powder coating for applications such as furniture, lighting and other interior fixtures. The unique combination of a highly reflective base coat layer with a clear top coat also offers outstanding resistance to finger marking, the company stated.
“We also launched Interpon Align, an innovative two-coat, one-bake powder coating product that offers customers significant productivity and energy efficiency improvements and can also result in lower capital investment,” said Kiefer. Utilizing dry-on-dry coatings technology, Interpon Align delivers superior edge coverage and corrosion performance, while eliminating one full cure cycle. The result is a shortened coating cycle leading to improved productivity and, in some cases, reduced capital investment. The new technology can be tailored to meet exact color and performance requirements, resulting in a wide range of end-use products, including thick and heavy mass metal parts that meet the most demanding OEM specifications for protection and appearance.
One of Sherwin-Williams’ newest offerings is Powdura Sprint, a low-cure polyester resin-based powder coating system for use on medium density fiberboard (MDF). It’s used for finishing applications in the furniture, kitchen cabinet and general finishing markets and provides a high quality finish as it cures at temperatures as low as 250˚F. “We’re also seeing more activity on polyester powder being used for composites like fiberglass pultrusions for exterior building products,” said McMahon.
“We also recently introduced Powdura OneCure, a two coating, one cure dry-on-dry system designed to save finishers time and money by reducing the steps needed to achieve enhanced edge coverage and corrosion resistance,” McMahon added. “This coating is designed for use in heavy equipment and general metal finishing applications. Its primers and topcoats have the ability to co-react and cross-link, providing a seamless finish that delivers high quality aesthetics with superb durability. It offers a high performance alternative to conventional two-bake powder primer and topcoat systems and allows finishers to reduce energy use, labor and maintenance costs while increasing throughput.”
Valspar delivered two technology achievements in 2014 for the powder coating market: Valspar Valde Edge Coverage Powder (ECP) coating and Valspar Valde Extreme Flex Cure (EFC) coating. Valspar Valde ECP coating is a two-coat, one-cure technology for industrial equipment that provides best-in-class edge coverage protection from corrosion and rust, addressing a common problem for industrial equipment manufacturers. Valde ECP delivers a smooth, superior-looking finish and is the lowest cost option available on the market today that can deliver this performance. From a production standpoint, manufacturers can reduce two steps in the powder coating process by applying the primer coat and the topcoat; then oven curing in just one step rather than the traditional method of applying the primer; then oven curing followed by the topcoat application and a second oven cure.
Valspar Valde EFC coating doesn’t require compromises between durability, finish cure temperature and cure rate. Valspar Valde EFC delivers a smooth finish, high gloss and super durable performance at a lower cure temperature and faster cure rate than standard powders. Manufacturers can decide just how much time and energy they want to save, adjusting the oven heat settings and cure times to meet their specific manufacturing needs.
These new technology platforms not only deliver new value to the marketplace and new solutions for customer needs, but also open up new markets where powder coatings can be used.