The future is green – for the coatings industry too!
In my opinion the coatings industry is fully prepared when it comes to offering the market environmentally friendly products. In some applications perhaps less so than in others. Interior paint manufacturers have known for a while that consumers don't only want visually stunning paints in their homes, they also want paints that are environmentally friendly and pose no risk to their health. The coatings industry has many solutions to offer. VOCs have been reduced, you can barely smell interior paints now and they are even able to remove odours and pollutants.
Away from oil!
For decades we have been hearing that the chemical industry, and therefore also the coatings industry, needs to break free from its dependency on oil because there are finite resources. Renewable raw materials are constantly under discussion.
Suppliers to the coatings industry offer an increasing range of biobased raw materials. For instance, a green hardener with a high carbon content from renewable resources was presented at the ECS 2015 for PUR coatings. At this year's European Coatings Show the company was able to present an automotive coating that had been formulated with this hardener. A tremendous achievement!
Raw materials from renewable resources was one of the trends of ECS 2017. We have picked up this trend and put together an EC Technology Forum on “Coatings from renewable resources”. The eight workshops and six talks are focused exclusively on biobased solutions to formulate high-performance coating systems.
Electromobility and autonomous driving – a new challenge?
“Dieselgate” and the increasing trend towards driving bans in city centres is fuelling electromobility. Tesla has just released Model 3, which is expected to be on sale in summer 2018 from USD 35,000. Autonomous driving is another subject everyone is talking about. Many car manufacturers are working on automated solutions that can handle a growing number of driving functions without the intervention of the driver. There are still some legal hurdles but once these are cleared there's not much standing in the way of autonomous driving.
Electromobility and autonomous driving are also being addressed by coating manufacturers who supply the automotive industry. What new challenges will they face? Does autonomous driving need different coating solutions? The future will provide the answers. Logically, shouldn't electric vehicles powered by wind and solar energy also have coatings from renewable resources? These issues are very topical in the industry and also for us in the editorial office. When the times comes, we will probably need to revise and republish our technical book “Automotive Coatings Formulation”. And that's fine with us.