Water-borne vs solvent-borne: “The gap continues to close for most applications”

Solvent-borne systems continue to outperform water-borne systems when it comes to corrosion, hardness and chemical resistance. They are thus still the preferred choice for industrial coatings. But water-borne technologies are catching up, says Kathleen Szczesniak,The Sherwin-Williams Company.

Water-borne vs solvent-borne: "The gap continues to close for most applications”. Image source: Black Mamba - Fotolia -

For which applications do you still see solvent-borne coatings as preferred systems?

Kathleen Szczesniak: Solvent-borne coatings remain the preferred choice in industrial segments because they continue to offer exceptional performance in application and curing across a wide range of environmental conditions. Additionally, while water-borne technologies are catching up, solvent-borne coatings continue to outperform as it relates to corrosion, hardness and chemical resistance.

Event tip:

Learn more about the formulation of water-borne coatings in the European Coatings Seminar Waterborne Coatings on 11 September in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. You will learn about VOC, REACH and other statutory influences on coatings development, what to watch out for when increasing the water content of a coating, which raw materials are best suited and much more.

For which applications do you see potential for water-borne systems to gain share from solvent-borne systems?

BB_Interview_WB_vs_SB_Kathleen Szczesniak_Sherwin-Williams

Kathleen Szczesniak

Senior vice president, R&D Global Supply Chain, The Sherwin-Williams Company

Szczesniak: As VOC regulations around the globe continue to tighten and requests are made for more sustainable coatings, we will continue to see a greater adoption toward water-borne technology. With the advances in newer technologies, the performance and durability of low-VOC water-borne coatings continue to close the gap versus solvent-borne coatings for most applications.

More specifically, development of high performing and self-crosslinking technology platforms for both decorative and light-to-medium heavy duty industrial applications have enabled the conversion of almost all of these applications to water-based systems. These technology advances, in conjunction with low odor and ease of cleanup, will drive even greater acceptance and conversion with customers, especially in industrial markets.

What does R&D currently focus on when it comes to water-borne and solvent-borne coatings?

Szczesniak: The focus within R&D is on innovations that add differentiation and value to our customers. Whether it is solvent- or water-borne technology, providing new and differentiated solutions for our customers is at the forefront of our minds. Key areas of focus include, improved productivity, durability, ease of application, or reduced surface prep; all leading to time savings and reduction of labor costs for our end-use customers. Our R&D teams collaborate closely across our entire value chain as well as with strategic partners outside our company, and most importantly with our end-use customers to define and create innovations in these key areas that will enhance their experience with our Sherwin-Williams products.

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