The European Coatings Show (ECS) plus Adhesives, Sealants and Construction Chemicals took place at the Exhibition Centre Nürnberg from May 8-10, 2007.

The European Coatings Show (ECS) plus Adhesives, Sealants and Construction Chemicals took place at the Exhibition Centre Nürnberg from May 8-10, 2007. At the press breakfast on the final day of the event, representatives from ECS organizer Vincentz Network quoted the Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” to describe this year’s record-breaking show.

According to Esther Schwencke, Head of the Events Division at Vincentz Network, “The European Coatings Show has set new records again, with 839 exhibitors from 43 countries and well over 22,000 trade visitors from around 100 countries.”

“Compared with the previous event, this is some 14 percent more visitors and 22 percent more exhibitors on 17 percent more display space,” said Richard Krowoza, Exhibition Director at NürnbergMesse.

The internationality of the ECS has also distinctly increased in terms of both exhibitors and visitors. The share of international exhibitors rose from 57 percent in 2005 to 60 percent this year, which due to the appreciably larger total number of exhibitors led to more growth of the international presence. The largest international exhibiting nation was the People’s Republic of China with 90 exhibitors, followed by Great Britain (60), the Netherlands (40), Italy (39) and France (34). The total number of national (German) exhibitors was 337. The internationality of the attendance rose from 56 percent two years ago to 59 percent in 2007.

The Nürnberg Congress, which was held concurrently with the Show, was also convincing in every respect. Altogether over 770 experts from 41 countries used the Congress to find out what the industry has to offer and get inspiration for their own innovations. Event organizers commented that some of the hottest topics at the Congress were nanotechnology, REACH and smart coatings.

Environmental Responsibility

The need to formulate environmentally friendly products has been a focus of the coatings industry for many years now - a focus largely driven by legislation. At the ECS, the terms “global warming” and “climate change” were used in several press conferences, suggesting a real environmental awareness and a true desire to produce safer products in a safer manner. As stated by Dirk DiSantis, Global Marketing Manager, Coatings, for Eastman Chemical Co., “The talk of the industry is ‘How are we going to improve our eco-footprint’?”

Eastman introduced two products at the ECS that adhere to the “green” theme, but that also deliver strong performance. To help coatings manufacturers meet OEM demand for improved process performance, the company introduced Advantis 510W, a new alkylphenolethoxylate (APEO) and halogen-free adhesion promoter for waterborne coatings. Developed for modified polypropylene substrates, it is ideal for today’s complex bumper designs. “Demanding OEM testing protocols and the increased focus on reducing VOCs have led to the need for waterborne adhesion promoters that deliver equivalent or better performance characteristics than their solvent counterparts,” says Hans van der Kort, Market Development Manager for Transportation, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at Eastman.

The second product, Solus 2100, is a new rheology-control additive for high-solids industrial two-component (2K) paint systems. Market applications include refinish clearcoats, aerospace topcoats and coatings for plastics as well as industrial maintenance and refinish primers. Ideal for low-VOC systems, Solus 2100 offers faster dry-to-touch time, excellent anti-sag behavior, a wider window of polishability, improved gloss after polishing and ease of sanding. “The introduction of Solus 2100 to the refinish market proves that an environmentally friendly product does not have to come at the detriment of enhanced productivity or performance,” said DiSantis.

The Dow Chemical Company introduced several new green technologies, and even discussed a “green facility”, at the ECS. Dow Epoxy has 10 manufacturing facilities around the world and is currently focusing on a new, glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin plant in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, China. The plant, which is expected to start up in 2010, would be the first to use a new Dow proprietary glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin technology. Glycerine is a bio-renewable product generated during bio-diesel production. The use of glycerine as the primary feedstock in Dow’s epichlorohydrin manufacturing represents a major technology breakthrough, providing significant cost and environmental advantages versus the conventional process technologies. Patrick Ho, Business Group President, Dow Epoxy and Specialty Chemicals, commented on environmental responsibility. Regardless of the local guidelines, Dow will always follow the strictest regulations. He noted that while Chinese environmental and safety regulations have really caught up with the United States and Europe, “It’s not about sitting tight and waiting for the government to pass legislation.”

ANGUS Chemical Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, introduced an enhanced multifunctional amine for use in the development of water-based architectural and decorative paints containing virtually no VOCs. “Our non-VOC multifunctional amine will help our customers to formulate low-VOC and VOC-free paints and finishes without compromising the quality of their product offering,” said Liam Doherty, Global Marketing Manager, ANGUS Chemical Company and Dow Biocides. The product trials are expected to conclude in mid-2007, with full product commercialization likely to occur by the end of the year.

In keeping with the green theme, Cognis presented Loxanol EFC 300, a new zero-VOC coalescent (according to 1999/13/EU or 2004/42/EU), which is based on natural resources. Its special performance features include excellent efficiency in reducing the minimum film-forming temperature, which can lead to cost savings and faster development of film hardness compared to competing products. Cognis also presented the new vegetable oil-based defoamer -Foamaster 350, which represents an alternative to standard mineral oil defoamers and offers independence from the petrochemical industry. Foamaster 350 combines the performance features of mineral oil-based defoamers and even partially exceeds them, with superior environmental compatibility.

The number of wind turbines producing green electricity is growing rapidly, and consequently so is the market for protective coatings for wind turbines. At the ECS, Cognis showcased Sovermol, a range of natural-source solvent-free polyols designed for this sort of application. Manufacturers in this field demand environmentally sound solutions that provide the best achievable protection, and Sovermol coatings give turbines – especially their blades – long-lasting protection against various natural hazards, including UV light, dust, salt water and rain, offering excellent adhesion and high rupture resistance.

BASF AG researchers were awarded the prestigious European Coatings Award 2007 for the new AQAGloss binder for high-gloss water-based coatings. The prize goes to the best scientific presentation of new product technologies at the ECS. BASF’s presentation of AQAGloss showcases an innovation in the field of water-based coatings. “AQAGloss is a brand-new dispersion-based binder for the manufacture of high-gloss water-based coatings and thus a genuine alternative to conventional solvent-based architectural coatings,” explained Jan-Peter Sander, Head of BASF’s Adhesive and Construction Polymers regional business unit and thus responsible for the architectural coatings business in Europe. Paints based on AQAGloss can already meet the environmental standards of the future (EU Directive 2004/42/EC and emissions tests based on the guidelines of Germany’s Committee for Health-Related Evaluation of Building Products - AgBB), since they contain only small amounts of film-forming auxiliaries. In addition, they contain no heavy metals (driers).

Breakthrough Technologies

Celanese Corporation introduced a series of breakthrough emulsion technologies designed to enhance the performance of coatings and adhesives and meet emerging market needs. The launch of the Mowilith® nanotechnology platform for high-performance exterior applications represents the future of coatings, creating a nano structure on coated surfaces for outstanding outdoor weathering behavior with remarkably low dirt pickup.

Celanese also introduced a new technology for low-VOC interior semi-gloss coatings with the introduction of Mowi-lith LDM 1852, a vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE) emulsion based on core-shell technology that delivers an optimal balance of performance and gloss without coalescent agents.

Bayer MaterialScience AG presented its Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants (CAS) Business Unit under the motto “Always Pioneering”. One of the company’s latest innovations is in the field of “self-healing” coatings. With self-healing automotive clearcoats, also known as reflow systems, plastic deformations such as scratches can be “healed” by heating. A market-ready product for the formulation of such coatings is now available - the highly functional aliphatic polyisocyanate Desmodur® XP 2679, a hardener that imparts these coatings with even greater resistance to wet and dry scratching. Because its molecules contain many reactive “docking sites” - i.e., have a high functionality - this hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) allophanate forms a tight network with elastic network arcs when combined with suitable polyols. The results are exceptionally scratch-resistant, two-component polyurethane coatings that are also very resistant to chemicals.

The Munich-based WACKER Group presented a range of innovative product solutions, including highly versatile cyclodextrin-fragrance complexes that permit the use of functional fragrances in coatings. Until now, fragrances could not be used in the construction sector because of their high volatility and chemical sensitivity. With the aid of annular cyclodextrin molecules, WACKER has developed a system that protects sensitive substances and continues releasing them after the coating has dried and set. For instance, the fragrances used may act as growth inhibitors or bactericides/fungicides, or as dog, bird and insect repellents. Thus, for the first time, essential oils and other fragrances can be used in various non-hydrophobic construction applications, such as floor surfacings, plasters, paints, troweling compounds and other coatings and sealants.

Meeting Challenges With New Technology

As the drive for waterborne coatings increases, companies strive to develop new technology that will deliver equal performance as solvent-based systems. Ciba’s Novel Encapsulated Additives Technology (NEAT) for coatings stabilization enables the equivalent level of protection to be attained in waterborne as in solventborne systems. NEAT allows hydrophobic additives such as light stabilizers to be easily incorporated in waterborne paints.

“Our NEAT solution is a technological leap forward that has been long awaited by the industry,” says Hermann Angerer, Global Head of Ciba’s Coating Effects Segment. “The new technology allows a previously unattained standard of coatings stabilization in waterborne applications, enhancing the lifetime of coatings and significantly reducing VOC emissions.”

The first products to be launched in the NEAT range are hindered amine light stabilizers (HALS) and UV absorbers. Ciba® TINUVIN® DW low-viscosity aqueous stabilizer dispersions can be stored for prolonged periods without sedimentation, are easy to dispense and meter, and can be simply stirred into paint and coatings without the addition of co-solvents. The products are classed as hazard-free, including for do-it-yourself applications, and therefore require no special labeling. TINUVIN DW dispersions are suitable for wood coatings, architectural and construction applications, plastics and glass coatings, general industrial paints, and transportation coatings.

Ciba also introduced new effects for wood. The company’s Xymara™ effect pigments go beyond color – they add a whole new dimension to design. The new effects can be used for furniture, picture frames, paneling, kitchen fittings and many other items. They are designed for both water- and solvent-based application systems.

At its press conference, ALTANA introduced several new technologies from BYK Additives and Instruments, and ECKART, both now under the ALTANA AG umbrella. Dr. Roland Peter, President of the BYK Additives and Instruments Division, discussed how BYK plans to shape the future of coatings with Controlled Poly-merization Technology (CPT). Advantages of CPT include new product properties with existing standard monomers, tailored polymeric structures, polymer design in any solvent possible, no limitation in selection of functional groups, and full chain length control. Dr. Peter stated that CPT and tailor-made additives will help with the challenges that arise from VOC legislation.

BYK-Chemie presented its new wetting and dispersing additives DISPERBYK®-2010 and DISPERBYK-2020, which have been produced on the basis of CPT. DISPERBYK-2010, developed for waterborne systems, only has an extremely slight effect on the water resistance of the coating thanks to its hydrophobic structures. Like DISPERBYK-2020, which has been developed for solventborne systems, it is extremely economical and achieves outstanding results in the area of pigment stabilization.

BYK-Gardner GmbH introduced the BYK-mac, a new instrument to objectively characterize the total color impression of effect coatings. The BYK-mac objectively measures two parameters: flake characterization by measuring with a camera the visual impression of sparkling and graininess, simulating effect changes under direct and diffuse lighting conditions; and multi-angle color measurement “before and behind the specular reflection” to give more information about the color travel of special-effect finishes.

Dr. Christoph Schlunken, President of the ECKART Effect Pigments Division, noted the company’s key drivers and areas for new product development, which include improving shear stability for pigments in high-solids systems, developing environmentally friendly coating systems, and developing new effects and higher brilliance for pearlescent pigments.

In line with these drivers, ECKART introduced a range of new developments. Hydroshine® is a highly brilliant effect pigment dispersion for waterborne coating systems based on the most advanced PVD aluminum pigments. This product range delivers unique optical effects in combination with the highest brilliance in a waterborne metallic paint.

ECKART’s PHOENIX® CFE pearlescent pigments are weather-resistant effect pigments especially designed for automotive coatings applications. A product of nanotechnology, PHOENIX CFE pearlescent pigments consist of thin platelets of natural mineral mica coated with a thin layer of metal oxide. The special feature of these pearlescent pigments is their extraordinary weather resistance, which is achieved by means of encapsulation of the pigment achieved by a modified sol-gel process (similar to the Hydrolan® process).


The new regulation known as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) will become active this summer. ECS organizers stated that there was much discussion regarding REACH at the Congress. Companies are wondering what kinds of raw materials will be on the market. How much will they cost? Will companies have to disclose their formulas?

Most companies are ready and have a positive attitude about REACH. Eastman’s Dirk DiSantis says, “REACH is an initiative that everyone will have to manage. We will do whatever we need to do to comply. We are preparing in order to make sure that we are ready to support our customers and ensure that there is no disruption in using our materials.”

Cytec’s Jean-Marc Durbuis says that they too are taking it very seriously. The company’s approach is to take advantage of it rather than view it as a problem. He notes that the raw materials suppliers have the chemical expertise to prepare for REACH but wonders if the impact downstream will be greater.

High-Growth Areas

When discussing growth and development at the ECS, companies named Asia, and China in particular, as the hot spot right now. Most major suppliers currently have facilities or plan to have facilities there in the near future. Other growth areas discussed at the ECS are India, Eastern Europe and Russia. Dow Epoxy is very excited about these emerging markets and is spending a lot of resources to develop opportunities there. According to Patrick Ho, there will be significant industrial development in these countries. He feels that the emerging middle class in these markets is a large reason for the growth in these countries. As the consumer base increases, there will be an increase in demand for better housing, packaging, etc.

Other Product Offerings at ECS

Clariant has developed special pigments that can be worked into solvent-based coating systems in a much easier way than comparable conventional pigments. The ED-pigments (“easily dispersible“) can be mixed in with a dissolver. The ease of dispersibility is based on a special manufacturing process in which the pigments are treated with a highly effective and widely compatible additive.

The production of coatings with ED pigments offers major advantages over the conventional production method, which includes a milling step. The simplified process reduces the production costs and increases productivity. ED pigments can also be dispersed with the aid of bead milling equipment. The dispersion time is significantly shorter than for conventional pigments, and it is not necessary to add dispersion additives.

Licocene® PP 1502 additive for powder coatings considerably improves the adhesion of silicon-based products on powder coatings. In addition, it is slip-resistant and thus improves the handling of powder-coated products. Like all other Licocene products, this fine grain is manufactured by metallocene catalysis and features a property profile that is perfectly tailored to each individual application.

Cytec introduced several new products for the industrial market. RESYDROL® AY 6173w/45WA is a new waterborne alkyd emulsion offering a low-VOC alternative to solvent-based alkyd resins and acrylic emulsions for industrial anticorrosion primers. BECKOPOX® EP 386w/52WA is a new waterborne epoxy dispersion. This innovative generation of epoxy systems offers anticorrosion, flexibility, shear stability and longer pot life, and opens up additional possibilities for formulating high-performance anticorrosion 2K primers.

For the automotive and transportation markets, Cytec’s latest developments include MACRYNAL® SM 2810/75BAC, a new high-solid OH-functional acrylic resin meeting low-VOC requirements for clearcoats and topcoats in refinish and ACE high-end applications. And for the architectural market, Cytec introduced RESYDROL AZ 6190w/43WA, a new solvent-free urethane-modified alkyd emulsion for low-VOC internal and external trim paints.

Degussa launched two new environmentally friendly color systems, Colortrend® 807 and Colortrend 222, which go beyond the current legislation. The colorants meet the current and future legal requirements for the architectural paint industry. CHROMA-CHEM® 940 is a low-VOC, APE-free and aromatic-free industrial tinting system, which meets the current and future legal requirements for the industrial paint industry.

Binder-free pigment concentrates are inherently susceptible to drying out and encrustation. Glycols can be used to prevent this but significantly impair the water repellency and hardness of tinted coatings formulations. Tego Additives has developed TEGO® Humectant 7000 to minimize this problem. It maintains the moisture content in binder-free pigment concentrates without greatly affecting water repellency, hardness and drying characteristics.

King Industries’ newest product offering is K-KAT® XK-604, an effective catalyst for the reaction of isocyanates and polyols with hydroxyl groups used in the production of cast elastomers. It is a proprietary mixed organometallic complex specially formulated to be an alternative to mercury catalysts without the toxicity concerns. It features excellent cure response, a similar cure profile to mercury catalysts and is environmentally more acceptable.

Unimin’s newest product is MINEX 12. MINEX micronized functional fillers and extenders enhance performance in a range of paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants and inks. MINEX 12 is ideally suited for clears, UV and powder coating systems requiring higher gloss and optimum clarity based on its unique particle size distribution and light transmission properties. These fillers are produced from nepheline syenite; a naturally occurring, silica-deficient, sodium-potassium alumina silicate. Automated scanning electron microscopy confirms that MINEX contains less than one-tenth of one percent crystalline silica.

The next European Coatings Show will take place at the Exhibition Centre Nürnberg from March 31-April 2, 2009. For more information, visit