What experts think of the industrial water-borne coatings market

Industrial coatings are still largely based on solvent-borne formulations. We spoke with experts from Tikkurila and Synthomer about how a switch to water-borne systems could be accelerated and what trends are influencing the water-borne coatings sector.

In China the switch from solvent-to water-borne coatings came quite fast for the container market. (Source: Maksym Yemelyanov - stock.adobe.com) -

For Rymas Herman, Group Key Account Director at Tikkurila, the main reasons for switching to water-based formulations are the increasing awareness of sustainability and green building issues, extended producer responsibility and user safety.

Regulations important

However, Herman adds: “Yet, governmental regulation remains the most effective driver for using water-borne coatings.” As an example, he refers to China, were they have swiftly switched to water-borne coating in the container industry in 2016.

Rymas Herman Tikkurila

Rymas Herman is Group Key Account Director at Tikkurila

Mehmet Göbken, who is a Technical Service Manager Coatings at Synthomer, mostly agrees. However, he states: “I believe there is no one-size-fits-all solution that would catalyse the conversion to water-borne coatings.” He sees some isolated water-borne solutions that are performing on par with solvent-borne industrial coatings. Unfortunately, he also often sees this solutions having cost-issues. And the cost issue is not only on the material site, explains Göbken: “Also evaluation, approval and certification costs need to be overcome.”

Change to water-borne coatings is possible

Mehmet Gökben Synthomer

Mehmet Gökben is a Technical Service Manager Coatings at Synthomer

Even though water-borne coatings are not the standard for industrial applications, other sectors show, that the transition is possible. “Nowadays window and furniture manufacturers use almost exclusively water-borne coatings, for example”, explains Rymas Herman. For the next years, he expects developments in the field of two-in-one solutions, meaning using one product from bottom to top, as primer and overcoat.

Mehment Göbken adds that “bio-sourced raw materials and renewable technologies have secured a certain foothold in our industry and would bring interesting opportunities while crude oil price is rising.”

Further information

This article is a summary of some statements both experts made for our expert voices interview series in issue 11/2018 of the European Coatings Journal. The complete interview with more detailed and further statements is also available online for subscribers of European Coatings 360°.

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