COMO, Italy — AkzoNobel has opened a new research center at its site in Como, Italy, that will develop products for the growing area of powder on wood. The new R&D facility, which features an application lab, process lab, and an analytical and testing lab, is dedicated to delivering low-cure powder coatings for use on heat-sensitive substrates such as MDF, plywood, thermoplastics and composites.

The center’s inauguration follows AkzoNobel’s recent acquisition of Stahl’s powder coatings activities, which gave AkzoNobel access to a broad range of solutions, including unique UV technology. The Como center will now focus on developing an expanding portfolio of low-cure solutions, including low-bake, UV and ultra-low-bake powder technologies. This will enable customers to use less energy during production, gain process speed, and boost their own sustainability profile.

“We’re excited to build on our global leadership position and enter new markets while bringing more surfaces to life for our customers,” said Daniela Vlad, Director of AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings business. “In addition to strengthening our position as a technology leader, the new facility will also help to accelerate our speed to market so we can reach our customers even faster.”

Vlad added that this is only the first phase of the company’s expansion into powder on wood, with plans in place to open additional R&D centers in Asia and North America. With customers worldwide looking to embrace the sustainability benefits that powder has to offer, powder on wood has become one a fast-growing area within the coatings industry.

“The dedicated know-how we have in the new R&D center will enable us to develop a broad range of innovative new surface solutions, particularly for our wood coatings customers,” said Vlad. “Having recently expanded our Como site, it means we can now accommodate a European manufacturing facility for powder on wood and the new R&D center at the same location, which will speed up the service capability we offer to customers in this segment.”

The Como site is AkzoNobel’s biggest plant in Europe for producing powder coatings. As well as increasing capacity, a recent €20 million expansion also highlighted the company’s focus on sustainable manufacturing.

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