Innovative products and strong customer focus spur worldwide growth for biocides manufacturer.

"We're a global provider of anti-microbial solutions in the most comprehensive sense, with a broad range of technically innovative products reflecting traditional Swiss excellence in engineering design, strong problem-solving capabilities, and a deeply committed service ethic that will accept nothing less than total customer satisfaction."

That's how Liam Leightley, Global Marketing manager for Acima, a Switzerland-based formulator of microbiological protection systems for coatings, explains the increasing worldwide acceptance of his company's ROCIMA(tm) formulated biocides in a myriad of diverse and demanding applications.

"Our ROCIMA line is deep, varied and well-balanced, giving us the ability to meet a wide range of customer requirements," he says. "However, should our standard ROCIMA biocides not fully meet the material protection requirements of our customers, we'll provide custom-made products and services to meet their specific needs. In addition to providing technically excellent biocides, we strive to continuously develop and upgrade our production processes and delivery systems to ensure that our customers use our products appropriately, safely and cost/effectively."

ROCIMA biocides for in-can preservation are highly effective against contaminants and designed for the protection of emulsion polymers, paints, inks, adhesives and other coating systems. The biocides for dry film provide permanent protection of coatings, plasters and roof tiles. They are available as low-VOC dispersions or liquid fungicidal and algicidal preparations for use in aqueous or solventborne, pigmented or clear systems. Wood biocides provide protection against mold and blue stain disfigurement, as well as long-term protection against decay fungi and insects in water- and solventborne, pigmented, or transparent wood stains and coatings. The biocides also are employed as disinfectants and sanitizers for hygiene maintenance of production and storage facilities.

Headquartered in Buchs, Switzerland, Acima has steadily expanded its solid sales and marketing base in Europe to establish an increasingly strong presence in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions in recent years. In 2000 Acima was acquired as a wholly owned subsidiary by Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia-based specialty chemicals manufacturer. Rohm and Haas introduced Acima at the 2001 International Coatings Expo in Atlanta, marking Acima's entry as a formulator of top-quality protection systems for the coatings market in the North American region (NAR).

Since their introduction in North America, Acima's preservatives have enjoyed immediate and substantial acceptance, with significantly more sales growth anticipated in forthcoming months. Paint companies in this region have indicated they are looking for product and technical support from preservation experts to help grow their businesses. Under the direction of Liam Leightley, Acima has established an NAR-dedicated sales organization to provide that support. ROCIMA 550 and 607 in-can preservatives have received EPA registration, while several biocides for dry film preservation are expected to be EPA-registered by the end of 2002. ROCIMA 520S and 550 preservatives have met FDA regulations for use in food-contact applications. Tremendous sales opportunities are envisioned for its new ROZONE(tm) 2000 microbicide - a product that provides both in-can and dry film preservation.

Effective, Fast Response to Needs of Global Customers

"We're well set up to respond to the far-reaching needs of our global customers," says Leightley, who is also North American Region Sales manager. "A dedicated sales network for each region is now in place. Our biological laboratories and technical service centers in Switzerland, France, England, Italy, USA, Japan, Singapore and Brazil are available to our customers to test and select the preservative option best suited to their specific systems. We also provide our customers with hygiene audits, preservation and sanitization recommendations, biological and analytical support, as well as information and training courses for many applications. Our facilities in each region enable us to respond rapidly to local demands."

The company's ability to help customers quickly solve unexpected problems and comply with changing global regulations is illustrated by the following situations.

High Performance Preservative for a Pigment Paint Producer

The preservative system of a major European pigment manufacturer was unable to control severe mold growth throughout its line of pigment pastes. Oxide yellow, red and cobalt blue were particularly susceptible to mold contamination. The mold caused the pastes to stick to the sides of the cylinders in which they were stored, causing the frequent removal, discarding and replacement of both pastes and cylinders. In addition, mold growth caused problems with the computerized mixing of the various pastes. Mold would often block the nozzles of the cylinders, resulting in inaccurate mixing, the replacement of nozzles and production downtime.

The pigment manufacturer turned to Acima to provide a preservative that would control mold growth, eliminate costly waste and foster production efficiencies.

ROCIMA 521 was provided - a liquid in-can preservative for aqueous binder dispersions. A formulated biocide, the preservative provides efficacy against mold, yeast and all types of bacteria. The product was developed as a preservative for higher viscosity products, such as pigment paste, where increased fungicidal activity often is necessary.

With use of the preservative, the customer soon reported no mold problem in any of the line's pigment pastes - including the highly vulnerable oxide yellow, red and cobalt blue pastes. The absence of mold growth resulted in the elimination of wasteful discarding of pigment paste, cylinders and nozzles. Nozzle blocking caused by mold growth no longer occurred, which fostered better control of dosing and adherence to production schedules. Use of the preservative also contributed to correct dosing and facilitated handling and storage of the preservative system.

It is important to note that the preservative is a straight aqueous solution of the active ingredient and is low in VOCs - so low that it meets the European Union's environmental standards for a VOC-free preservative.

Balancing Worker and Community Safety with Customer Needs

How can regulatory compliance and worker and community safety be reconciled with the need for an effective wood preservative system?

That was the dilemma of officials at a German manufacturing facility of a major European producer of skylights. Plant management had used a solventborne system to preserve the wooden frames that were an integral part of the construction of the skylight units. This system provided a high degree of protection, with good penetration into the wood and rapid drying time. However, the solventborne preservative system, whose active ingredients were dichlofluanide. and carbendazim, generated VOC emissions that were so high they failed to comply with environmental regulations. At the same time, plant workers and local community residents complained about the objectionable preservative odor, and expressed concern about the potentially harmful effects of the solvent emissions.

To solve these problems, plant management initially considered treating the outgoing air to remove solvent emissions. However, they soon discarded this approach as too expensive and not effective enough to reduce emissions to an acceptable level.

A waterborne wood coating system incorporating ROCIMA 251 fungicide helped the skylight manufacturer achieve the same level of protection provided by the solventborne system, while reducing VOC emissions to a level that complied with environmental regulations and satisfied the concerns of employees and the neighboring community. The fungicide has a range of activity against all wood-destroying and wood-discoloring fungi, which may attack seasoned wood in a humid environment. The preservative also is very effective against surface fungal growth, mold and blue stain.

In addition to providing anti-microbial protection for the wooden skylight frames, the fungicide did not increase the drying time of the preservative, did not cause a sticky surface and helped optimize the penetration of iodopropynylbutylcarbamate, the preservation system's active ingredient. What's more, unlike other waterborne systems, use of the ROCIMA 251-containing formulation did not cause dimensional changes and roughness in the surface of the wood.

A "New Breed" of Biocide Dosing System

In addition to providing a number of technically innovative products for its customers around the world, Acima has developed new high-performance equipment to meet customer needs in a safe, highly cost-effective manner.

For example, coatings customers in North America are now offered a state-of-the-art, automatic biocide dosing system that fosters worker safety, while greatly increasing dosing accuracy. The Dosemaster(tm) 1000 portable drum dosing system eliminates worker exposure to biocide leakage, precisely controls the amount of biocide used in customer formulations, substantially reduces the chance for biocide misapplication, and is highly maneuverable. Designed for reliability and minimal maintenance through its modular configuration, the system is comprised of easily interchangeable parts that are available for overnight delivery, minimizing the system's downtime.

"Our new Dosemaster 1000 biocide dosing system will give our customers real peace of mind," says John Sari, Technical Sales specialist. "Nothing like the Dosemaster 1000 exists in the coatings industry today. It is safer, and more accurate, efficient and flexible than the conventional dedicated Totes hard pipe systems used for biocide dosing. The Dosemaster 1000 system releases the right amount of biocide into the proper process vessel, avoiding the confusion that can result in formulations where the biocide is not delivered in the designated amount or not delivered at all."

Major components of the dosing system include a custom-engineered drum transporter incorporating a highly accurate weigh scale and a dual-mode (dosing and deactivation) pump system that efficiently doses biocide to the customer's process line through a series of flexible hoses. The weigh scale measures accurately up to one-tenth of a pound. This avoids biocide over- and under-application, improving product quality and production economies. The pump system has a variable-speed control that enables the operator to readily adjust flow rates of the biocide addition.

In the first stage of the dosing procedure, the operator uses the hydraulic lift foot pedal of the transporter to pick up the drum. Designed to lift 30-gal drums, the mechanism can lift up to 325 lbs to a height of 20 inches. Next, the operator inserts a relief pin into the mast of the transporter to lessen the load on the hydraulics. The operator then inserts and secures a lance incorporating a dripless, quick-disconnect fitting into the drum to seal it and connects the suction line between the drum and the pump. After securing the drum, the operator moves the Dosemaster system to the production vessel, activates the brake, and connects the pump discharge line to the production vessel by way of another dripless, quick-disconnect fitting.

To begin metering the biocide, the operator connects the air supply to the weigh scale, opens the suction and discharge valves, closes the vacuum break valve on the lance, tares the scale and opens the air inlet control valve. The operator can readily control the process flow rate by throttling the air inlet control valve.

Protection of operators and other workers from injury is a major consideration of the system. The hydraulic lift with foot pedal and relief pin allows easy raising and lowering of the drum for improved worker handling safety. The dripless, quick-disconnect fittings minimize worker exposure. When the lance is removed from use, it is positioned over a catch-pan containing a chemically absorbent material that prevents excess biocide from dripping onto the floor. The foot-activated brake located in the back of the system improves its stability. The automatic drum clamping mechanism maintains a sure hold on the drum for enhanced safety.

The capacity to reduce waste is another benefit of the system. The system avoids overdosing and potentially saves the customer money by only discharging that amount of biocide required for a specific application. The dripless, quick-disconnect fittings eliminate waste during the dosing operation. The hydraulic lift mechanism is designed to foster optimum drum evacuation, keeping drum residues to a minimum.

Other significant features of the system are its compactness and maneuverability, which eliminate the need for the extensive piping associated with conventional dosing systems. Only about three-feet-square, the system rests on rubberized casters that enable it to roll easily, even over uneven flooring, and can be readily positioned wherever needed. Because of its narrow base, the system can be easily maneuvered through standard doors.

Acima initially is making the Dosemaster system available solely to coatings customers in the North American region. The system is designed to be compatible only with Acima biocides.

A Reliable Global Partner

What's ahead for Acima? "We'll seek to make even more progress as a provider of global microbiological solutions, and to be increasingly perceived as a company that has expanded its focus from a European customer base to one that is a global resource for preservative protection needs," says Leightley. "We'll continue to develop technically innovative products that will out-perform those currently in the marketplace, while providing our customers with cost economies. We'll help our customers cope with the very challenging global regulatory environment by offering them assistance on registration and regulatory approval issues, including health and environmental risk assessments. We wish to be considered a totally reliable partner and preservation expert by the people with whom we do business, helping them meet the requirements of their customers quickly and effectively."

For more information on anti-microbial products, contact David Sutton, CIS/Acima Global Communications Manager, Rohm and Haas Co., 100 Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2399; phone 215/592.6855; fax 215/592.2178; e-mail; or visit