Interview: Efficiency is main driver for architectural coatings
What are the current trends influencing architectural coatings?
Oliver Peters: We see growing interest in more durable architectural coatings, which do not only aim at pure wet abrasion resistance, but also address effects such as scuff and burnish resistance. The market is also being driven by regulatory changes and the trend towards more sustainable paints. Two aspects worth mentioning are the development of biocide-free systems, which has changed the central-European market for interior wall paints, in particular, and the growing demand for more sustainable solutions – through VOC and SVOC reductions and bio-based raw materials.
Which technical aspects is your R&D work focusing on?
Peters: As already mentioned, the topic of bio-based solutions is driving us. The first offers for bio-based binders have already been made, and so interest in such products from the additives sector is on the rise. Of course, in the current situation, we are also concerned with energy and raw-material efficiency. In addition to improving incorporation through faster powder wetting or to accelerating processes through better defoaming, we are also interested in making more efficient use, especially of the cost-intensive raw materials employed in architectural coatings. Efficiency is also the main driver in our discussions with paint producers about liquid intermediates – these afford a flexible way of producing end formulations.
Where do you see the biggest growth potential for architectural coatings?
Peters: The greatest growth potential resides in smart applications or in new solutions to old challenges. These could be products which offer a broader application window for outdoor applications and are less dependent on weather conditions, as that would give professional users more predictability over their work. Solutions-wise, sustainability offers great growth potential, e.g. boosting energy efficiency through thermal insulation of roof coatings, reducing mold growth on interior wall paints, and tackling the soiling tendency of facade paints with protective coatings that are both long-lasting and beautiful.