Interview: “There is still a need for greater sensitivity in surface pretreatment”
What major obstacles or challenges do you see for the further spread of water-based systems?
Michael Pokorny: One of the main reasons for switching from conventional coating systems to water-thinnable or water-based paints was and is the enormous potential for saving VOC). In order to achieve this goal, however, other options have become established in some markets, especially high solid or very high solid systems.
For example, in construction and agricultural machinery coatings and comparable applications with quite large target coating thicknesses, they are in direct competition with water-based solutions because they have other advantages. There is also still a need for greater sensitivity in surface pretreatment and in process control during application and drying of water-borne coatings.
This is probably one of the biggest obstacles to the even wider application of water-borne coatings in our industry.
Where do you see the strongest growth for water-based paints in the medium term?
Pokorny: There are still many positive aspects in favour of switching to comparable water-borne coatings, especially in decorative, industrial markets.
This is especially the case where conventional, multi-layer coating structures with a polyurethane topcoat are used. In more function-oriented applications, it will have to be decided on a case-by-case basis which material concept or process control is the optimal way to reduce VOC emissions.
However, there are also applications, such as powder coatings with their very high energy requirements for stoving, where water-based systems are experiencing a small renaissance.
In general, more than 25 years of successful application and experience with water-borne systems speaks for itself and there are few arguments for sticking to conventional solutions.
Regionally, I see rather low growth opportunities within Europe and especially in Germany, because the market penetration is already quite high. Worldwide, however, water-borne coatings have not yet become the standard and there is still great potential.
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.