Protective Coatings: “Isocyanate-free wins the day

Speaking about the future of protective coatings is not easy. The market is quite fragmented so it is difficult to find some common ground. We tried it anyway and spoke with Ap Heijenk from DSM and Claudio Di Lullo from Akzo Nobel.

Not only for bridges: Better corrosion protection has positive impacts on many aspects of day to day life. (Picture: motorradcbr - Adobe.Stock) -

Regardless which specific technology you are talking about, for Ap Heijenk from DSM Coatings Resins one thing is always the same: “The market for corrosion protection coatings is ultimately driven by user trends, regulatory requirements and the performance.” He adds: “In general, we’re seeing a shift towards coatings that lower energy costs and have a lower impact on the environment.”

Claudio Di Lullo from Akzo Nobel agrees, especially on the environmental aspects. “It has started influencing coatings technology development and it is for that reason water-borne is the technology that stands out as being the one where significant advances / developments will potentially be made above the others”, he says.

Water-borne not always an option

Ap Heijenk_DSM

Ap Heijenk, Industry Manager Metal & Plastic, DSM Coating Resins

However, this is not always easy. “In certain industries, it’s not possible to move away from solvent-borne coatings yet”, says Ap Heijenk and adds that every manufacturer needs to evaluate their requirements and choose the right technology. “I can’t see many car manufacturers moving away from e-coat any time soon”, he says.

Even though corrosion protection is a very diverse topic, when it comes to future developments both experts have quite concrete targets. “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”, says Heijenk and adds, that DSM is already working on this even though there is need for further optimisation, there are already functioning products.

Wishing for non-isocyanate coatings

Claudio di Lullo_Akzo Nobel

Claudio Di Lullo, Technical Manager for Product Development, Akzo Nobel

For Claudio Di Lullo one challenge remains largely unsolved “and that is a low VOC isocyanate-free coating with comparable cost and performance to current 2k polyurethanes.” He admits that there are many other technological challenges like increased productivity. But ultimately, “developing an isocyanate-free system wins the day”, he says.

Interview by Jan Gesthuizen

Remark: This article is based on the “expert voices” interview series from the European Coatings Journal. The interview was published in issue 2/2018 and is also available digital in our online library European Coatings 360°

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