Challenges include the need for an expanded performance profile
What do you think will be the trends and challenges in powder coatings in the upcoming years?
Amber Goodyear: We have identified trends that speak to the growing need and demand among our stakeholders across the coatings industry – including architects, specifiers, formulators, applicators, end users, and others – to expand the performance of powder coating resins. They are seeking a more viable toolset to address issues related to durability including corrosion, low temperature cure, and gloss retention. Macroeconomic trends continue to drive growth in powder coatings too, most notably related to sustainability, extending OEM product life and advances in application technology. Arkema is well positioned to provide innovative solutions across a robust technology range, including waterborne, UV/EB, high-solids, and of course powder. Across stakeholder groups, sustainability efforts favor a low VOC, low-waste technology such as powder coatings which is also robust, flexible, and durable. In addition, end users and specifiers are calling for broader adoption as powder is offsetting liquid technologies as a sustainable solution as performance improves.
Improved performance and mechanical properties that seek to match “non-traditional” market applications is contributing to the continued migration from liquid systems. Application technology is also contributing to the expansion of the powder coatings market as bigger, better and faster curing lines enable new market segments. The development of low temperature cure resins has created an opportunity to expand end market applications for powder coatings to a vast array of non-traditional substrates such as medium density fiberboard (MDF).
Challenges in powder coatings include the need for an expanded performance profile and the need for lower and lower curing. For example, applications where corrosion resistance is the primary trait are now pushing for extended durability, particularly in automotive, architectural, and ACE markets. There is a huge market for increased UV durability beyond the existing capability. An additional key trend is the robust growth expected for electronic vehicles (EV). This presents a great opportunity for powder coatings. Dielectric and corrosion properties are some of the first key requirements for EV batteries, and these requirements present opportunity for other automotive components to be powder coated.
What could be done to increase performance of low-temperature powder coatings?
Goodyear: Achieving lower-temperature cure has required increased reactivity of the resin chemistries used in powder coating formulations, as well as the introduction of new curing mechanisms. Thus, enhancing mechanical properties is necessary to increase the performance of certain applications. We continue to hear about the need for superdurable resins with energy efficient performance and lower cure temperatures across a variety of end markets. Heat sensitive substrates are one element, but there is also a need to continue to improve the technology.
Our new polymer “Reafree 6846” is one way we’re addressing the market need. It offers ultra-low temperature (130-140º C) curing capabilities over metal, particularly parts with dissimilar metal thickness, with very good flow, colour stability and excellent storage stability in all geographies. Also, with regards to electronic vehicles, battery cell technology continues to evolve to address battery range and life, as well as advancements in light weighting of vehicle components to support the same. It will be ever increasing important for innovations in resin development to support these trends and make powder the preferred technology choice, both from a performance and sustainability advantage.
As we continue to identify trends and address challenges throughout the value chain, from formulators and applicators to end users, we are simultaneously working to address them. Developing partnerships throughout the value chain is important to continue to advance the technology and grow the powder market.