After 4 years, with an involuntary break due to COVID-19, the coatings world gathers again at the ECS in Nürnberg (Germany). The place where visitors and exhibitors connect and the newest innovations are presented and new products are launched to the world.
Walking across the exhibition floor the outstanding topic is sustainability. Where in past years the focus in paints and coatings was mainly VOC reduction and the use of more environmentally friendly raw materials this is now further expanding into energy and resource conservation, waste minimization, process efficiency enhancement and use of biobased and renewable raw materials. The overall main driver is legislation and environmental impact combined with changing end-user requirements. Products are being produced in a more environmentally friendly way, using biobased and renewable resources.
In the coatings formulation, the trend here is towards high solids, ultra-high solids and also solvent-free powder coatings. There is still a strong shift away from solvent-based due to their non-sustainable nature.
|Powder coatings||– No solvents,
– Negligible VOC emitting
|High solids coatings (>65%)||– Low VOC emitting|
|UV/EB cure coatings||– Rapid drying time,
– Low energy consumption (hence less energy cost),
– Fewer VOC emissions
|Waterborne Coatings||– Low VOC content,
– Less toxicity and flammability
Next to the type of coatings, the efficient use of raw materials and the sourcing of raw materials has become more important. One major topic in paint formulation in recent years has been the use of TiO2. Due to increasing regulations, due to health concerns, and global availability the reduction in TiO2 has been the focus of formulators.
Development in raw materials such as SIPERNAT® 820 A (Evonik), presented at the ECS, works as a TiO2 spacer and gives good opacity. Where raw materials such as ChameleoBoost (OMYA) work as a (partial) replacement of TiO2. Holcopearl (Holland colors), uses encapsulation of the TiO2 pigment in order to prevent dust and increase the ease of dispersion in solvent-based coatings.
Biobased vs renewable
Increasing the biobased content of raw materials is a main target of formulators. Different from bio-sourced, biobased content is determined according to the 14C/12C or 14C/13C content relative to a carbon-based modern reference material following ASTM D6866-221, using AMS along with Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) techniques to quantify the biobased content of a given product.
Examples seen at ECS are:
- Coapur 3020 BB (Arkema) is a 90% bio-based HEUR thickeners. Coapur™ 3020 BB is a solvent-free and APEO-free pure associative polyurethane thickener.
- SYNAQUA® 4856 (Arkema) is a bio-sourced short oil alkyd emulsion for formulation in wall decorative paints. It is APEO-free, Eco-certification contributor, Highly biobased (> 70% biobased Carbon), Low VOC coatings, and no added Formaldehyde.
- SCHWEGO eco foam 6320 (Schwegmann) is a development especially for non-aqueous formulations with high content of renewable raw materials (58% biobased content).
Renewable raw materials, such as cellulose, chitin or lignin, originate from plant-based or animal-based sources as opposed to fossil-based. The materials are composed of biomass and can continuously be replenished. Both renewable and bio-based materials can be sustainable, however, this must be carefully evaluated.
For example, wood is a renewable material but if using it contributes to deforestation, it is not environmentally friendly. It is thus important to always look further than just the renewability and bio-based level. The overall sustainability of a product could be evaluated by looking at its life cycle and if possible, quantitatively measured by a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
- Exilva® F (Borregaard) is a micro fibrillated cellulose produced from Norway Spruce. It gives high viscosity at low shear securing good stability and shows strong shear thinning enabling spraying.
- Cardolite® NX-2026 (Cardolite) is a high purity, low odor, lighter color multipurpose resin modifier and accelerator derived from renewable cashew nut shell liquid.
- Neeture™ N100 and Evyron™ T100 (Perstorp) 100% renewable-based polyols with a negative carbon footprint.
Further insights can be found in this whitepaper:
Besides the many raw material producers and distributors, a big part of the show consists of production and measurement equipment. How is sustainability manifesting in this area?
Looking at paint and coating formulation the big gains here are:
- Process time and efficiency.
- Reducing energy consumption and thus CO2 – reduction.
- Optimized production capacity.
- Product quality.
- Hazardous waste reduction.
The MasterMix® Dissolver (Netzsch) for instance is a well-known solution for the efficient production of paint dispersions. In combination with automated dosing and efficient dispersing leading to optimized production time.
From the company Xtrutech, the XTS Compactor effectively reduces waste, from powder coatings, by compacting fines and reintroducing them to the mill as chips. They also developed a new CIP system to further reduce cleaning times for their customers by automating part of the cleaning process for the new feeder and hopper.
In order to optimize the paint and coating quality, formulators and developers use a wide range of testing equipment. To accelerate the development of high-quality products weathering testing has been standard practice in paint and coatings formulation.
For example, the Xenotest 440 (Atlas), is a highly versatile xenon weathering instrument for a variety of materials. Designed for fast and economical testing. Q-lab has launched the upgraded version of the QCT condensation tester, where it accelerates damage caused by rain and dew on metals, paints, and organic materials.
Overall the ECS did not disappoint in showing the latest developments in sustainability for raw materials and equipment with more than 1,000 exhibitors from 42 countries were spread out over almost 40,000 square meters of net floor space in eight halls.
Winner of the ECS – conference Award with the paper:
Pursue greener – novel sustainable CNSL-based diluent designed for high-performance low-VOC protective coatings.
The researchers have developed a novel multifunctional epoxy diluent based on natural and non-food chain cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL) to help overcome the challenges of formulating high-performance coatings that meet strict regulations and sustainability goals while maintaining desirable beneficial properties. The benefits, such as non-toxicity, better labeling and the high bio-content of the new epoxy diluent, could lead to a new, enhanced generation of high-performance protective coatings with smaller carbon footprint2.
SIPERNAT® 820 A: is a precipitated synthetic sodium aluminosilicate with an exceptionally bright clean color. SIPERNAT® 820 A has highly structured particles that provide film reinforcement, TiO2 spacing, sheen uniformity, and excellent dry opacity.
CERAFLOUR 1004 Bio-based, micronized polymer with wax-like properties based on corn starch, for aqueous and solvent-based systems for matting and creating a soft-feel effect in the coating, with high transparency properties.
RHEOBYK-7650 Solid, non-dusting, biocide-, and VOC-free associative thickener (HEUR) for aqueous systems that generates a slightly pseudoplastic flow behavior.
Omyamatt, has a 30% lower carbon footprint (CF) than flux calcined diatomaceous earth and 36% lower CF than crushed expanded perlite.
ChameleoBoost will either enhance coating performance (e.g. opacity) at equal formulation cost or reduce formulation cost (e.g. partial substitution of titanium dioxide) while maintaining the performance level of the coating film. Any combination of the two is of course possible as well.
Crayvallac® PA5 XSR 25: 22% bio-sourced rheology modifier. It is a high-performance pre-activated amide wax for marine coatings with high robustness against shear.
Carboset® AMO 400 is a non-oxidative, self-crosslinking acrylic-modified oil copolymer dispersion with 50% renewable content. Carboset® AMO 400 is APEO-free, solvent-free and can be formulated to ultra-low VOC for wood coatings applications.
- Source: European coatings show daily 1 / 28 March 2023.
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