7 October 2010 15:34:00 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal DOE- useful or not?
Design of experiments (DOE) is quite often a topic of hot debate in discussions with coatings experts. In my opinion DOE is good tool to reduce the time required to develop novel coating systems. On the other hand I am doubting that this tool is really used by paint manufacturers, especially by SMEs. Most of the formulators believe that personal experience in coatings development is more important than anything else. Those people do not believe in statistics and software. What is your preference?
30 September 2010 13:23:00 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal Green adhesives
Two weeks ago I attended the FEICA European Adhesives & Sealants Conference in Helsinki, Finland. The program was mainly focused on market topics. The good news is that markets for adhesives are growing globally next year. However, I was specially interested in technical trends in adhesive formulation. Apparently, many people are working on bio-based and degradable systems. Experts I talked to expect these products to be available on the market in 1 to 2 years. However, some interessting research results are already available.
A while ago I wrote about carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in this blog (see my entry of 26 January, 2010). Enthusiastically I recorded that CNTs have the potential to generate completely new materials and products with characteristics and combinations thereof that were not feasible with previous technologies. In the meantime a lot of new findings have been published, basically agreeing to this assessment.
For decades, the use of plastic components in automotives has experienced enormous growth rates. While the outer designs of automobiles have become more and more similar, it is the interior of a car that can now distinguish one model from another. Coatings have come to play an important role in this respect. They can improve the surface of both exterior and interior parts visually, but they are also used to generate comfortable tactile properties like soft-touch, warm, matte and leather-like.
I just edited a review article on polyurethane coatings, which will be published in the October Issue of the European Coatings Journal. Polyurethane polymers started their trimphal procession in the 1930s and it is still going on, e.g. 2k systems account for 80% of topcoats/clearcoats in car refinish. Nowadays formulating low VOC, waterborne coatings with PU is possible without sacrifying performance.The newest generation of wateborne systems can match the performance of most solvent-based systems. Market perfomance of PU coatings is also quite well. Although the economical crisis affected the coatings industry in general an annual growth of 6% in isocyanate consumption over the next fice year is predicted. The coatings industry still has a lot of new developments for PU coatings in store for a greener, safer and smarter future, but there is still scoope for improvement.
A sustainable life for the "inhabitants" of the sea - that's the overall goal of the "Marine Paint" research program. This project, carried out at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, is aimed at developing new and effective marine antifouling paints, which are more environmentally friendly than those in use today.
At the moment my days are filled with preparations for the European Coatings SHOW (ECS) 2011. More than 170 papers have been submitted for the European Coatings CONGRESS wich will run concurrently to the ECS. Out of these papers the program committee has to select 108 papers for the CONGRESS. I'm wondering what will be the trends this time. We received many papers dealing with environmentally friendly and sustainable coatings. Biobased raw materials will also play an important role in the congress program as well as "traditional" topics such as protective coatings and polyurethanes. What do you think will be the main trends at the ECS 2011?
It is an undisputable fact that decorative paint markets are being tilted more towards growth in the decorative DIY segment, rather than the professional or construction segment. More than ever this segment seems to be driven by environmental awareness. Legislation continues to push decorative paints towards low-, if not no-VOC formulations. This prompted IRL to conduct a survey of the greening of the decorative coatings sector. Asked about their business strategy paint makers indicated that the current standing of the industry is that about 70% of decorative paint makers in Western Europe produce...
Nowadays coatings have to be environmentally friendly otherwise it is hard to get a product accepted by the market. Improving the environmental profile of new products is a large driver in coatings development. Formulating waterborne systems is one option to reduce the VOC level and to make a system more environmentally friendly. However, dispersing pigments is rather challenging in such systems - foam generation is another nuisance. The use of the right additives helps to face these challenges. However you need to find the perfect mix. Would you change that system if there would be an one in all additive available?
I was talking to some experts of the printing inks industry the other day. They unanimously told me that due to the economic crisis there are hardly any technical developments going on at the moment, neither regarding raw materials nor processing technologies for printing inks. Companies are basically trying to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Among the challenges facing the industry are rising raw material prices, availability of raw materials, regulation and sustainability issues.