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Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Raw materials & technologies

Interview: “The protective coatings market will continue to be fragmented and diverse”

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The move to water-borne or powder remains a driver of innovation in the field of protective coatings, but not all industries are already able to move away from solvents, says Ap Heijenk of DSM Coating Resins. In an interview he speaks about his expectations for future trends in protective coatings.

Interview: "The protective coatings market will continue to be fragmented and diverse”. Dimco_Fotolia

Interview: "The protective coatings market will continue to be fragmented and diverse”. Dimco_Fotolia

Which type of protective coating technology do you expect to develop the most over the next few years?

Ap Heijenk: The market for corrosion protection coatings is highly fragmented and diverse: there is an almost infinite number of different applications for these coatings. And since each coating technology has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, I think it’s impossible that one of the available technologies will push the others out of the market completely. However, the market for corrosion protection coatings is ultimately driven by user trends, regulatory requirements and the performance of the available technology.

Over time, these three elements will surely develop and drive change. In general, we’re seeing a shift towards coatings that lower energy costs and have a lower impact on the environment. In many cases, this means moving from traditional solvent-borne coatings to water-borne, high solids and powder coatings, since these coatings can be formulated at low- and zero-volatile organic compound levels.

However, in certain industries, it’s not possible to move away from solvent-borne coatings yet. Each manufacturer needs to evaluate their exact requirements and choose the right coating technology for them, in order to prevent water and oxygen to reach the metal substrate.

In automotive OEM, for example, e-coat reigns supreme. This technology is perfect for delivering a consistent coating thickness and corrosion protection, even for hard-to-reach places. Coatings applied by different techniques or technologies would be unable to deliver the right finish to these substrates. In short, I can’t see many car manufacturers moving away from e-coat any time soon.

If you had one wish, which technological developments would you want to see become reality in the next few years?

BB_Ap Heijenk_DSM

Ap Heijenk

Industry manager metal and plastic, DSM Coating Resins

Heijenk: It would be great if we could develop 1K water-borne self-crosslinking technology that performs as well as the 2K solvent-borne crosslinking technology currently available. The ideal technology would be made with no harmful raw materials, and be applicable in a wide range of conditions. At DSM Coating Resins, our R&D team have already developed a number of functioning 1K water-borne self-crosslinking products.

However, we still need to optimise them for the right-end application and make sure they have the right price-to-performance ratio. Once this has been achieved, this technology will offer significant advantages in terms of usability, pot life, durability and aesthetic quality, compared to the coatings technology that is currently available. At DSM Coating Resins, we’ve also developed chemical hybrid and – even tribrid – technology that combines the best qualities of different coatings technologies. We’re not there yet, but one day I expect these hybrid products to make a big impact in the market.

Nevertheless, for the next few years at least, the protective coatings market will continue to be so fragmented and diverse that no single technological development will be a "breakthrough” for all protective coatings applications. As with most industrial R&D, progress is made little by little, one small development at a time.

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