“Helping to increase energy savings or enable high-speed, high-throughput applications”
What trends are you expecting to shape the protective coatings sector in the upcoming years?
Dmitry Chernyshov: The protective coatings market will continue on the same trajectory that it embarked on several decades ago. We will see a transition to technologies that are more environmentally friendly, more effective, and more durable. Water-borne and solvent-free systems will become increasingly important for all coatings markets, including the protective and industrial sectors.
In response to the ongoing energy crisis, we will see a swift transition to more productive, low-energy-consumption protective coating technologies. Low-bake systems, such as 2K polyurethanes and 2K epoxies, UV-coatings, or 1K silylated polyurethanes will gain additional traction. Certainly, regulatory compliance issues will continue playing an important role in shaping the market landscape. This will bring a lot of challenges to the industry, but will simultaneously open up a window of opportunities for new, innovative coating systems.
What is the current focus of R&D in raw materials for protective coatings?
Chernyshov: As a major supplier of silicone raw materials, we are currently focusing on developing new products that will help our protective-coatings customers address challenging and demanding product requirements. Our activities target a wide spectrum of objectives, including: (i) optimisation of manufacturing process technologies with an emphasis on the carbon footprint and reducing CO2 emissions; (ii) evaluation of bio-based raw materials sources for adjustment of upstream flows across all existing product lines; (iii) a strategic focus on R&D opportunities aimed at delivering high-throughput solutions with label-free regulatory compliance.
To give an example, Momentive is considering extending utilisation of green energy on its production facilities across the globe. The company is looking forward to developing innovative products that will lower VOC levels as well as to continuing using more bio-sourced raw materials for the manufacture of its basic intermediates. More and more, our customers are raising questions around the topic of sustainability, especially the environmental product footprint, or life-cycle product carbon footprint as measured in CO2 equivalents.
Have you noticed changes in customer demands?
Chernyshov: We are seeing strong demand for raw materials that can allow our protective coatings customers to manufacture more-productive and efficient products. A great deal of emphasis is being placed on technologies that help to boost energy savings or enable high-speed, high-throughput applications. Low VOC emissions are a prerequisite for a successful product launch. This is unlikely to change in the future; on the contrary, a tightening up of VOC limits should be expected.
Altogether, regulatory compliance is becoming one of the most important drivers of “no chemicals of concern” technology developments. The most common requirements, to name a few, are SVHC-free, Sn-free, methoxy-free or NCO-free technologies. Sustainability and circularity are other important concepts that are starting to gain significant traction. Slowly but surely, more and more customers are requesting sustainability reports and carbon footprint numbers for existing and new technologies employed in paint manufacture. We expect these changes to continue at a swift pace in the coming years.
Protective coatings are also in the focus of the EC Conference Protective & Fire-retardant Coatingson October 18 -19 in Berlin, Germany. The latest developments in protective and fire-retardant coatings will be presented to you in one conference.