Complex world of binders: challenges and innovations
How do you assess the current market situation for binders? What development is especially worth mentioning?
Dr. Sven A. Thomsen: Binders are of course not a uniform product group as such. Each application (solvent-based, water-based, radiation-curing, oxidative-curing, powder, and so forth) has its own special requirements and thus it has its own price structure and availability. At Hesse alone, we buy several hundreds of different binders, and in total, there are several thousands on the market.
In terms of price, there is only one way to go I believe, and that is up. Prices are rising continuously, which means a permanent search on our part for cheaper alternatives and thus a constant reformulation of formulations is happening everyhwere. In my opinion worth mentioning is the improvement in the performance of binders for 2K hydro coatings. This is due to better cross-linking. We can now offer customers product qualities that are at least on a par with classic polyurethane coatings. And they are already very good.
Which challenges do you see for binders? Where do you see the biggest potential for innovation?
Dr. Thomsen: It is possible to roughly identify some key trends and these are the use of renewable raw materials the avoidance of solvents the use of custom-made binders with a certain exclusivity. As these trends continue, it is somewhat of a challenge for binder manufacturers. Of course, we are constantly looking for add-ons like binders with fire retardant properties but without halogens.
Or alternative curing methods, but with similar performance properties. Even at the recent ECS 2023, we have not yet found the right thing. Of course, the greatest potential still lies in improving performance while prices remain the same or, better, with prices falling. Since we cannot pass the rising prices in the market on to our customers, expensive binders are not being used.
Water-based systems are also the focus of the EC Conference Bio-based and Water-based Coatings on November 14 and 15 in Berlin, Germany. At the conference you will learn about the latest developments in bio-based and water-based coatings.