Rocking, rolling "block party," other revisions give new look to North American coatings show

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, USA - Nobody on the show floor of ICE 2003 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center would dare tell the bobbing and weaving line of dancers doing the "LOCOMOTION" that paint people don't know how to have fun.

For the benefit of the uninformed - say, visitors from overseas or members of the younger generation in attendance at the International Coatings Expo (ICE) - the "Locomotion" is a Rock ‘n Roll song and dance number immortalized by the American pop group the "Shangri-Las" more than 30 years ago. Maybe all those free spirits shaking their extremities on the ICE floor were making up for lost time, enjoying the assignment of giving a new twist to this venerable industry institution that was called the "Paint Show" back when the Shangri-Las first made the pop charts.

And the Shangri-Las themselves, showing almost as much hop in the hips as they did in the 1960s, were there in person, leading the charge of these ICE dancers, helping the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT) raise the curtain on a new look for the ICE, 2003 edition. For the first time, the show debut was a late-afternoon opening of the exhibition floor followed by a rocking, rolling "Philadelphia Block Party," complete with food, drink and musical entertainment by those heretofore mentioned Shangri-Las.

Times are a-changing, indeed, for the FSCT and the ICE as the show marked its 68th year in 2003 and headed toward number 69 in Chicago in 2004. The 2004 event, scheduled for Oct. 27-29, will initiate another new tradition, as the ICE will then begin a semi-annual schedule and will be anchored in Chicago. The FSCT says it will plan smaller, regional shows and conferences for the intervening years, although no details have not been announced.

The FSCT said attendance at this year's ICE totaled 6,237, down slightly from approximately 6,400 for the 2002 show in New Orleans, Louisiana. The total number of exhibitors at this year's ICE was 279, a gain of 18 from the 2002 show. Total exhibition space for the 2003 ICE, however, declined slightly from 2002, with a total of 48,800 square feet. The FSCT said this year's show featured 53 new exhibitors.

Perhaps size does matter, but the slightly slimmed-down ICE 2003 hit the right notes in the view of many participants. The dancing in the aisles may have concluded with the opening-night hoopla, but show business was far from slow business, judging from the upbeat reports on traffic quantity and quality heard from exhibitors and visitors.

On the other hand, major themes sounded by many show participants reflected a cautious attitude regarding business prospects. Most observers are taking a wait-and-see stance on economic directions in North America and Europe despite the recent report that the U.S. economy expanded by a robust 7.2% in the third quarter.

Adding to the air of economic uncertainty are anxieties about the impact of rapid industrial and economic expansion in Asia, particularly in China, and apprehension in some political quarters about alleged trade inequities and imbalances.

‘Green' Technologies Continue to Germinate

While the ICE may not measure up to the shows of yesteryear in terms of blockbuster technology introductions, a number of key suppliers rolled out significant news announcements at ICE 2003.

Not surprisingly, technologies promising environmental and economic benefits were given plenty of play. But beyond the old standbys of minimal VOC or HAP content looms an emerging hotbed of R&D that is focused on "renewable" sources of raw materials for coatings and related products.

The growing interest in things green - literally, as in products derived from plants - is brewing in the laboratories of some very sizable companies, including Cargill Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and The Dow Chemical Co. In Philadelphia, Dow reported on its investigation of a new class of amine-cure epoxy coatings resins based on oleochemicals derived from sunflower, castor and other seed oils.

Dow said the experimental materials are viewed as the basis for the development of a group of new materials made from renewable resources. The company also said it is exploring opportunities in the marketplace and looking for potential development partners.

The company says experimental epoxy resins could potentially produce coatings with a number of advantageous performance characteristics, including low viscosity without solvent; practical cure rates with conventional curing agents; strong adhesion to metal substrates; UV resistance, weatherability and corrosion resistance; resistance to hydrocarbons and solvents; and toughness.

In news of interest to the European market, Reichhold Inc., another key U.S.-based supplier, announced the recent completion of a plant expansion in Vienna that brings production of its glycidyl methacrylate acrylic (GMA) powder-coating resins to Europe. Reichhold, which did not participate in the ICE as an exhibitor, said the expansion provides the company with a highly automated, state-of-the-art production line for the manufacture of GMA acrylic powder-coating resins. The plant's initial annual production capacity will be approximately 4 million pounds, with the potential for expansion as needed to meet demand.. The resins are used primarily for powder coatings for automotive applications.

Reichhold formerly supplied its GMA powder resins exclusively by import from Asia through parent company Dainippon Ink and Chemicals (DIC).

Gary Krall, Reichhold chairman and CEO, said the production capacity gives Reichhold and DIC the ability to meet increased demand for GMA resins expected during the next decade. He said the new capacity makes Reichhold the largest producer of GMA resins in Europe, and also makes Reichhold/DIC the only GMA supplier with two production plants.

GMA acrylic resins are reported to produce high-durability powder coatings and are primarily used in automotive applications such as full-body clear coats, wheel clear coats and pigmented topcoats. The resins also are used as crosslinkers for matte powder coating finishes.

Also making noteworthy announcements at ICE were Air Products and Chemicals Inc., BASF and Lyondell Chemical Co.

The following is a review of some of the product and company news at ICE 2003.

A&D Weighing, Miltipas, California, introduced the SV-10 Sine-Wave Viscometer, which employs a tuning-fork vibration method in the measurement of viscosity in coatings, ink, chemicals, and other materials. The company says the instrument provides highly accurate measurements in a wide viscosity range of 0.3 to 10,000 cP.

AGA Chemicals Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina, focused attention on the recently introduced Lumiflon LF-710 F 100% solid fluropolymer for powder coatings. AGA Chemicals, a subsidiary of Asahi Glass Co. of Japan, said recommended applications include coatings for automobile parts, window frames, patio furniture, and bicycles. Fluoropolymer-based coatings are characterized by long-term durability in demanding applications.

Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, announced several product introductions, including the Hybridur 870 and Hybridur 878 waterborne urethane-acrylic hybrid dispersion resin technologies. The 870 version is billed as a general-purpose resin designed for use in one-component high-performance coatings and is reported to offer rapid dry, strong weatherability, a balance of hardness and toughness, chemical resistance, and adhesion to various substrates. The 878 resin provides similar properties but with lower odor and higher hardness in recommended applications that include wood-flooring and plastic and metal business-machine coatings, the company says.

Also highlighted by Air Products were the Anquamine 287 and Anquamine 701 curing agents for epoxy coatings for concrete applications; the Ancamide 2634 epoxy curing agent for heavy-duty maintenance coatings used in highly corrosive and chemical exposures; and the Ancamide 2625 non- MDA (methelene dianiline) epoxy curing agent for high employee-traffic areas.

A recently introduced emulsion polymer, Airflex EF811, is described as a vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) emulsion that offers a high-performance but economical alternative to vinyl acrylic copolymers in architectural coatings. Performance properties are reported to include scrub resistance; low-temperature touch-up capability; low-VOC formulation capability; and alkaline hydrolysis resistance over masonry substrates.

At the FSCT Annual Meeting, Charles R. Hegedus of Air Products delivered the prestigious Mattiello Memorial Lecture, "A Holistic Perspective of Coatings Technology."

Avecia, Manchester, UK, announced the introductions of the SOLTHIX A100 thickener for water-based systems, reported to offer high viscosity build at low shear and anti-settling and anti-sag performance. Other recently introduced products include the SOLPLUS L300 hyperdispersant for powder coatings and the SOLPLUS K200 and SOLPLUS K210 hyperdispersants for dispersion of organic pigments and carbon blacks into plasticizers.

BASF, Mount Olive, New Jersey, introduced the Acronal Optive 330 acrylic latex, billed by the company as the first all-acrylic, low-VOC gloss latex for the North American paint market that matches the performance characteristics of higher-VOC resins. The company said the product provides hardness, block resistance, wet adhesion and gloss at VOC-content levels below 50 grams per liter (g/l). The resin properties are reported to be the result of a multi-phase polymer structure with a unique particle morphology that provides high block resistance and permanent flexibility. The company said the very fine, anionic dispersion delivers weathering resistance, water and blush resistance, alkali resistance, and freeze-thaw stability. Application properties are reported to include excellent flow and leveling and brushing and film build. In addition, an adhesion promoter provides adhesion to wood and problematic substrates such as aged alkyd paints, the company says. Recommended applications include gloss paints for interior and exterior substrates, with use in satin and semigloss paints also possible.

BASF also announced plans to modify an existing manufacturing facility at its Wyandotte, Michigan, site to produce amino resins for the North American coatings market, with construction of the facility scheduled to begin by the end of this year and resin production expected to start in the second quarter of 2004. The facility's design will allow for rapid expansion to meet increased demand, the company said. Amino resins add hardness, gloss and resistance properties to a variety of industrial coatings.

BYK-Chemie USA, Wallingford, Connecticut, introduced a line of wax additives for coatings and ink to the North American market. The specialty line of waxes includes more than 60 products for applications that include architectural, wood, can, coil, powder, and other industrial coatings, and inks. The waxes are offered as waterborne emulsions, water- and solvent-based dispersions, solvent-based wax precipitations, and in micronized form. Also highlighted were new defoamers for VOC-free systems and aqueous pigment concentrates.

Recently introduced products featured by BYK-Gardner include the micro-gloss and micro-TRI-gloss meters for gloss measurement; a new force transducer for slip measurement; and new byko-charts for color and gloss drawdowns. The company also touted the micro-wave scan hand-held instrument for measurement of orange peel and distinctness of image (DOI) on small and curved surfaces such as automotive bumpers, gas-tank doors, mirror housings, door handles, decorative trim, or motorcycle parts.

Recent product introductions from Brookfield Engineering Laboratories Inc., Middleboro, Massachusetts, include the CAP 2000+ variable-speed cone and plate viscometer, offering a simpler, user-friendly interface and smaller "footprint," the company says. Also highlighted were the DV-11+ Viscometer with bi-directional communication between the instrument and a dedicated computer, and new versions of the company's application software for use with Windows 2000 and Windows NT systems. The company also showed its line of texture analyzers, added to the company's product range as a result of the acquisition of the Texture Products Division of CNS Farnell.

The Dow Chemical Co.'s UCAR Emulsion Systems business unit, Midland, Michigan, announced the introduction of four latex products for architectural coatings:

  • UCAR Latex 657 is reported to offer all-acrylic performance for interior applications and provides washability and color retention in interior flat paints, the company says. Wet adhesion can be improved with the use of UCAR "Booster" latexes.

  • NeoCAR Latex 2310 introduces high film-build technology for flat wall finishes, offering film-build and touch-up properties and formulation capabilities for low-VOC interior/exterior paints. Higher-sheen coatings can be produced when the latex is used with UCAR Booster latexes, the company says.

  • NeoCAR Latex 2305 is described as the next generation of the original NeoCAR Latex 2300, and offers enhanced performance in pigment binding and alkali resistance, the company says. The product is designed for use in exterior finishes for masonry substrates and can also be used in interior flats.

  • UCAR Latex 301, developed in response to VOC regulations, is a high-solids vinyl acrylic latex that offers formulating flexibility in free water while providing scrub resistance, color acceptance and touch-up capabilities, the company says. The latex is said to offer a high degree of performance across the VOC and PVC range.
In an "Exhibitor Spotlight" presentation at the ICE, Dow Technical-Service and Development Specialist Alejandra Chavez discussed "Emerging Opportunities for SYNTEGRA Polyurethane Dispersions." The dispersions are manufactured without the use of solvents and offer strong performance properties while allowing for reduced VOCs and increased productivity due to ease of handling and storage, the company says.

International Specialty Products, Wayne, New Jersey, introduced the FUNGITROL 720 biocide, described as a broad-spectrum fungicide for control of coating-film degradation due to fungi, mold and mildew. The company says the IPBC-based product is nontoxic, low in odor, and compatible with aqueous and non-aqueous systems. Recommended applications include architectural paints, wood stains, wood-preservative coatings, adhesives and sealants, and construction materials such as joint compound, stucco and exterior insulation finishing systems.

New products from King Industries Inc., Norwalk, Connecticut, include the K-FLEX XM-B301 reactive diluent, recommended for use in epoxy-polyamide primers for industrial maintenance, marine, aerospace, transportation, and other industrial coatings applications. The company says the product reduces induction time of epoxy-polyamide coatings; improves adhesion and corrosion resistance; allows VOC and viscosity reduction; eliminates solvent popping and pinholes; and offers crosslinking with a variety of resins. Compatibility is reported with acrylic, polyester and epoxy resins.

Lyondell Chemical Co., Houston, Texas, announced the commercial availability of the company's ACRYFLOW group of acrylic polyols. The products are designed to work together in a system called the Resin Management Concept, which the company says gives formulators the flexibility to create a range of products employing the five resins in the group. Blending of the resins in various combinations allows formulation of coatings with an array of properties, the company says. The polyols are produced by a process that uses hydroxyfunctional allylic monomers, a chemistry that is reported to deliver improved chemical and abrasion resistance, pot life, cure, appearance, and weatherability properties while reducing VOC content.

Lyondell also has introduced the ACRYFLOW P60 low-functionality acrylic polyol, designed for use as a performance-enhancing resin intermediate for acrylated urethane oligomers, moisture-cure urethanes and urethane dispersions. The product is also reported to improve hydrolysis resistance in polyester urethane systems and enhanced UV resistance in polyether urethane applications.

The company also announced the introduction of the Ethacryl P line of aqueous pigment dispersants for coatings and inks. The dispersants are described as water-soluble, polycarboxylate comb-branched copolymers that stabilize pigment dispersions by means of steric and electrostatic forces.

3M Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, said it has given the brand name 3M Novec Fluorosurfactants to the company's recently introduced fluorosurfactant technology. The company said the brand differentiates its reformulated surfactant chemistry and reflects a commitment to producing safe, sustainable technologies. Current Novec fluorosurfactants are described as nonionic polymeric fluorochemical compounds designed to provide wetting, leveling and flow control for a variety of waterborne, solventborne and high-solids coating systems, with recommended uses that include paints, adhesives, clear coatings, resins, and ink. The fluorosurfactants are based on perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) and are reported to offer significant surface-tension reduction in aqueous and solvent-based formulations. The company said development efforts are focusing on expansion of the fluorosurfactant product line

NeoResins, Wilmington, Delaware, emphasized the new NeoCryl A-6115 waterborne crosslinking acrylic copolymer for use in clear and pigmented coatings for plastic substrates. The company says the product offers adhesion to plastic, resistance to chemicals and DEET insect repellent, low VOCs, and compatibility with polyurethane dispersions. Recommended applications include coatings for automotive plastics, general plastics and sporting goods.

Reichhold Inc., Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, introduced Arolon 848, an acrylic emulsion described as a key addition to the company's line of waterborne acrylics for industrial coatings. The company said the resin is designed to formulate durable coatings characterized by corrosion and humidity resistance even in thicknesses as low as 1 mil. Other properties are reported to include hardness, flexibility, block resistance, corrosion-inhibitor pigment stability, and adhesion to various plastics and metals, including galvanized steel. The product is described as a "versatile workhorse resin" suitable for use in OEM and industrial maintenance coatings, with recommended applications that include air- and force-dry enamels, topcoats and primers for metal and plastics and direct-to-metal industrial maintenance coatings.

Another new Reichhold product, the Epotuf 37-668 amidoamine epoxy curing agent, is said to provide strong chemical resistance, rapid thin-film set at temperatures down to 40 degrees F., improved film appearance, blush resistance, and weatherability. Other properties are hardness, moderate flexibility, and strength and modulus, the company says. Recommended applications are industrial maintenance coatings, concrete surfacers and sealers, direct-to-metal coatings, and primers.

During the International Coatings Technology Conference, Reichhold's Jeffrey Danneman presented a paper titled "Basic Polymer and Crosslinking Chemistry for the Coatings Chemist." Timothy Takas, technical account manager, presented the paper "100% Solids Aliphatic Polyurea Coatings for Direct to-Metal Applications."

RPA Process Technologies, Portage, Michigan, introduced the MCF, or Magnetically Coupled Self-Cleaning Filter, based on a design that moves the filter-cleaning disc without shaft or drive external seals. The company says filtrate flows from the top down and from the inside of the media toward the outside to increase contaminant retention. A spring-loaded cleaning disc travels top to bottom inside the filter media, and the cleaning disc and flow continually drive undesirable solids downward where they are concentrated in the purging chamber for expulsion. A hollow shaft at the center of the system contains a piston with rare-earth magnets, which are coupled to external magnets housed in a carrier connected to the cleaning disc. Pneumatic actuation moves the inner magnet up and down the shaft, with the cleaning disc following.

Sartomer Co., Exton, Pennsylvania, introduced Krasol HLBH-P 3000, a saturated aliphatic liquid polyol for use in polyurethane coatings. The hydroxyl-terminated polyolefin resin offers performance properties that include low-temperature flexibility; impact resistance; hydrolytic resistance; miscibility with mineral fillers and plasticizers; and low surface tension, the company says. The product also is reported to improve weatherability, heat resistance and adhesion to problematic substrates such as polyolefins. Recommended end uses also include adhesives and sealants, polyurethane dispersions and polymer modification.

Southern Clay Products, Gonzales, Texas, said its new Garamite 2578 mixed mineral thixotrope is specifically designed to improve coatings rheology in thin-film applications such as crosslinked thermoset systems, Class A decorative finishes and high-gloss coatings. Other recommended uses are high-solids and 100% solids coatings. The product is reported to offer unique "recovery" properties, including resistance to sag, thermal slump and settling. The company says its Garamite rheological additives are a proprietary blend of organically modified minerals.

Technologies emphasized by Wacker Silicones, Adrian, Michigan, included the WACKER Ekagrip friction-enhancing coatings, which the company says allow the design of lighter-weight, more efficient and compact automotive power-train systems. The coatings are reported to reduce physical limitations by increasing torque or shear loads across joints by up to 300 percent. Also highlighted was the Helicone HC liquid crystal pigment technology for automotive and industrial coatings, which the company says enhances product differentiation by means of optically variable color effects.