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18. Apr 2018 | Raw materials

Architectural coatings: “An Increasing Trend Toward Bio-Based Solutions”

There remain many questions surrounding use of sustainable or bio-based solutions for the paint sector, but a trend is noticeable, say Mike Law, global business director waterborne technologies and Robert Watson, R&D manager powder coating resins of Allnex.

Architectural coatings: "An Increasing Trend Toward Bio-Based Solutions”. Image: Tiberius Gracchus - Fotolia

Where do you see current trends in architectural coatings?

Mike Law and Robert Watson: The main applications for powder coatings in the architectural market is for aluminum extrusions and cladding. For such powder coatings, there is a growing requirement for super-durable weathering performance with robust mechanical properties, such as improved flexibility, whilst some customers are looking for alternative technologies to fluoropolymer-based systems for hyper-durable weathering performance. From the decorative perspective, there is growing interest for wood effects, which are achieved through sublimation print transfer. There is also growing interest in specialty finishes, such as metallic and anodic imitation special effects, as well as for smooth low glow gloss finishes.

The decorative paint marking is also continuing its trend globally toward water solutions replacing solvent based long oil alkyds, particularly in trim applications. This trend is driven by the home owner often supported by country specific legislation targets. A greater emphasis is seen on a trend toward higher coating functionality for both interior and exterior. For interior coatings, the trend is toward water-based coatings where advanced polymer systems can be formulated into low odor, low-VOC coatings with low odor thresholds. For exterior coatings, there is always the driver to maximize durability for asset protection while maximizing aesthetic appearance and sustainability through improvements in polymer design and upgrading of properties such as dirt pickup resistance, which is critical in countries with higher levels of pollution in tropical climates.

How important are sustainable or bio-based options in the sector?

Law and Watson: Whilst there is interest in alternative raw materials, the quality, performance and cost of any bio-based alterna tive should compare to the incumbent technology. For architectural powder coatings, a significant performance criterion is excellent weathering. Development activities have led to various bio-based building blocks becoming available for use in powder coating resins which, with careful formulation, can deliver the required performance. There is also a drive to bio-based solutions with some paint companies now specializing in these solutions. A greater range of raw material solutions are becoming available, albeit at high prices, which does not support mainstream use. There remain many questions surrounding use of sustainability of bio-based solutions for the paint sector, where volumes are very substantial with potential to compete with food production. Nonetheless, we do see an increasing trend toward bio-based solutions and we are supporting this trend.

How would you describe the architectural coatings market at the moment?

Law and Watson: The architectural market is linked to the construction industry and as such, growth varies by region. In Europe steady growth has been driven by residential construction bringing coating demand for window and door frame extrusions. Globally, the decorative market is in a growth phase but is restricted to emerging countries, where demand is high for construction of new residential and office accommodation, while demand in traditional markets remains more static but with strong trending toward more sustainable water-based, low odour solutions with higher functionality and perhaps toward new smart coating solutions for the future.

Related Content

If you want to learn more about bio-based coatings you should attend our live webcast on April 24 at 15 CET. Our speaker Derrick Twenen from DSM will give you further insights on new bio-based acrylic resins that can be used in wood and furniture finishes. The webcast is free of charge.

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