WILMINGTON, DE – Ashland is transforming its technical and analytical services for the paint and coatings industry by adding a dedicated laboratory to its campus in Wilmington, DE. The new 2,000-square-foot facility complements the company’s existing 8,000-square-foot Coatings Center of Excellence on the site. Combined, the facilities provide paint formulators with expansive resources for testing new or modified formulations, understanding consumer preferences, and optimizing their products for success.

“Ashland has been solving customers’ toughest coatings problems since we introduced Natrosol™ HEC, the industry’s largest selling rheology modifier, more than 50 years ago,” said Ed Connors, Ashland Group Vice President, Industrial Specialties. “This new lab ensures customers continued access to world-class technical support for years to come. It, along with our new product innovations like Strodex™ low-VOC surfactants, confirms our commitment to our customers’ success and to the industry.”

Expanded access to Ashland’s patent-pending Application Reader Technology™ (ART) device will be a major attraction for global customers. Unique in the coatings industry, the ART device interprets how painters apply paint and converts that information into objective, actionable data. This information can be used to tailor formulations to specific customer preferences for paint feel. There are two ART devices on site.

The facility’s large footprint provides versatility, allowing for application trials that range from small-scale screens to simulated field applications using 10 sheets of 4′x8′ drywall. It will accommodate trials using the three major application methods: spray, brush and roller.

Customers will also benefit from numerous other resources that include a profilometer for mapping surface roughness, a spray booth that can handle two full sheets of drywall at one time, and a viewing/evaluation area with variable integrated lighting (incandescent, CFL, LED) that accommodates a full sheet of drywall.  

Ashland invested approximately $400,000 in the expansion, which took six months to complete.