On Nov. 21-23, the 12th CHINACOAT was held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. In total, 24,412 people attended, with 10,950 of them registering on site. Attendance was up 4% over the last event held in Guangzhou in 2006. A total of 796 exhibitors from 31 countries/regions participated.
Environment-Friendly An Exhibitor FocusThe clear push was environment-friendly products and waterborne coatings, as the majority of coatings currently produced in China are solventborne. Unlike in the United States and Europe, regulations are not currently driving Chinese manufacturers to move toward waterborne and other environmentally friendlier products. So what is driving them?
According to Daniel Meyer, head of the Coatings Business Unit for the Asia Pacific region for Bayer MaterialScience, “We see a huge increase in awareness towards environment-friendly systems in the Chinese paint industry. There is absolutely no doubt that the Chinese industry is prepared to use the latest available technologies to reduce VOC emissions. Key drivers are, for example, homeowners who now prefer waterborne paints for their homes to avoid the odor that organic solvents leave behind. Also, businesses that have workers with high exposure to paints or adhesives – such as those in the automotive sector – are increasingly switching to environment-friendly waterborne technologies in the interest of worker health and safety.”
In line with the Chinese government’s growing emphasis on the environment, the coatings industry in China is expected to come under increasing pressure to switch to more eco-friendly materials, he added. Another factor behind the attractiveness of waterborne coatings is their ability to match, or even outperform, conventional coatings, Meyer said. “Waterborne polyurethane coatings have been proven to have, for example, longer-lasting adhesion, shorter dry-to-touch times, and are easier to maintain.”
Although the technology in China is not at the level it is in other areas of the world, the learning curve is accelerated. According to Kevin Wu, Celanese’s Commercial Director for Emulsions in Asia, “The learning curve here is not over decades, like in the United States, but is much shorter.” Celanese’s goal, says Wu, is to help China’s paint manufacturers formulate coatings that are more ecologically sound.
“Manufacturers are constantly trying to cut costs, while maintaining standards of performance and efficiency – and at the same time, environmental sustainability is also becoming increasingly important in Asia, as it has done elsewhere in the world,” said Patrice Pinsard, Vice President Marketing and Business Development Functional Products for Cognis.
Competition from international companies entering the Chinese market is something else that is driving Chinese interest toward quality issues. According to Birgit Genn, Head of Global Marketing/Business Development for Heubach GmbH, “Chinese companies see more and more a direction toward higher quality and environmental concerns driven by international standards.”
Pressure from accidents and the recent lead paint toy recalls are also directing manufacturers in China toward safer products. “Replacing lead chromate pigments is a big topic here in China,” Genn said.
According to Philippe Goethals, Global Business Director Radcure for Cytec, Asia is a very dynamic region right now and is interested not only in innovation but also in products meeting high environmental standards. And a big interest right now is waterborne UV. According to Goethals, UV is growing faster than traditional coatings – at a rate greater than 10%. One reason for this is the growth of the electronics market in Asia. “Electronics represent about 50% of the UV consumption in Asia,” Goethals explained.
Lim Wen Chyi, Cytec Business Director Liquid Coating Resins and Additives, Asia Pacific, noted, “There is a definite trend with our customers to differentiate their products versus their competition while taking advantage of waterborne performance characteristics over traditional coating technologies. Industries including automotive OEM, marine/heavy duty and deco/wood are leading the shift to waterborne technology in the region.”
According to Dr Willy Paar, Cytec Global R&D Director Liquid Coating Resins and Additives, “The trend to more stringent restrictions on VOC and air quality in general will only accelerate in the years to come. Cytec is enabling the industry to meet new regulatory limits without sacrificing the coatings performance.”
Clariant’s Tony DiRisio, Head of Coating Greater China, and Norbert Merklein, Global Head of Marketing Coating Business, said that along with the demand for higher-quality products, the demand for color, and a diversity of color, is also growing in China.
For more than two years, Celanese has been translating its low-emission paint success in Europe to the Chinese market. “We already have a number of well-known Chinese brands being made with our emulsions,” said Kevin Wu. Our Celvolit® 1602 VAE copolymer emulsion is APEO free and can be used in interior paint formulations without coalescing solvents to achieve low-odor coatings with less than 10 g/L VOC. These paints also exhibit high-quality durability and offer superior hiding power.
Two other Celovit acrylic-based polymers discussed by Celanese, Celvolit 7620 and Celvolit 7605, represent the next stage of technology for environmentally friendly, water-based wood coatings. Coatings made with these polymers provide a beautiful high-gloss finish with optimal protection for wood surfaces, including heat, water and chemical resistance. Both products are also APEO-free.
Cognis echoed the environmental theme with its 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 efficiency in reducing the minimum film forming temperature, which can lead to cost savings, and faster development of film hardness compared to competing products.
Another highlight from Cognis was the associative solvent-free mid-shear rheology modifier DSX 3800, which is based on the company’s patented “Star Technology”. As a clear, colorless fluid product, the modifier is easy to handle and offers excellent performance in all aqueous formulations like paints, adhesives and printing inks. DSX 3800 is free from VOCs, APEOs and heavy metals, which makes it ideal for use in interior and exterior coatings.
Many visitors to Heubach’s booth were interested in the company’s Tico™ high-performance titanium color pigments, which are good lead chromate, molybdate and cadmium replacements. TICO pigments are made by a proprietary co-finishing process to attach organic colorants to the surface of special titanium carriers and form a new class of opaque high-performance yellow, orange and red colorants. They cover the full color spectrum of cadmium, molybdate and lead pigments without containing these metals. The light, weather and heat fastness properties of TICOs are equal or superior to the values found for HPPs, lead chromate, molybdate and cadmium pigments.
Also of interest to attendees were Heubach’s range of HEUCODUR® IR pigments, which exhibit the unique property of being able to reflect IR radiation, therefore exhibiting significantly reduced heat build-up thus allowing for energy savings. HEUCODUR IR pigments offer a wide range of color shades from yellow through to black and enable the formulation of not only architectural, building and construction coatings, tiles, plasters etc., but also automotive exterior and interior applications such as dash-boards, tanks etc. The use of HEUCODUR IR Pigments extends the shelf life of the polymeric matrix and substantially reduces heat build-up and energy demand of air conditioners. Genn said that these products are of particular interest in the extremely hot regions of Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia, etc.
Cytec featured UCECOAT™ 7655, a new high-performance aliphatic radiation-curable dispersion in water (UV-PUD). It provides stain, chemical and scratch resistance, excellent reactivity in transparent and pigmented systems and ease of formulation. This dispersion has optimized colloidal stability, tack-free behavior before cure and low VOC. Its low viscosity enables flexibility in application both by spray and curtain coating technique.
Cytec’s Liquid Coating Resins and Additives Business Unit launched DUROXYN™ VEF 2406w/45WA cationic epoxy ester resin that provides excellent stain-blocking properties for both tannin and nicotine, which preserves topcoat appearance even in very severe applications. It is solvent free, one pack, fast drying with quick recoat time, and gives good overall adhesion on multiple surfaces including concrete. The zero-VOC level makes it a totally compliant product.
Fresh research and development from Huntsman Performance Products has enabled the creation of chemistries that offer both epoxy-related and waterborne coating formulators a range of manufacturing and performance benefits. In the epoxy-related coatings arena, these include an innovative portfolio of the -JEFFAMINE® series polyetheramines for the epoxy curative formulator’s toolbox and the SURFONAMINE® series polyetheramines for resin modification.
In the area of waterborne coatings, developments include: a new amine neutralizer that can be used to adjust and control the pH of latexes as well as assisting with dispersion and stabilization; EMPIMIN® novel technologies for APE replacement; plus TERIC® 160 series low-foam wetting agents.
Ciba invited visitors to explore the benefits of “Innovation from Concept to Objects”. Special highlights included Cosmoray™ Orange, the first of a new generation of high-performance IRGAZIN® diketo-pyrrolo-pyrrole (DPP) pigments that extend the attainable color space; deep chrome color effects in the METASHEEN® range of vacuum-metalized pigments; EFKA® high-performance dispersants for organic and inorganic pigments, produced by new, controlled free radical polymerization technology; and the “NEAT” progressive additive technology for waterborne coatings.
In line with China’s demand for color, one focus at the Clariant booth was Colanyl® 100 and 500 pigment preparations for decorative coatings.
Colanyl 100 is a range of both binder and APEO-free aqueous pigment preparations for the coloration of clear and white base paints. They are based on non-ionic and/or anionic wetting and dispersing agents. The rheological profile of Colanyl 100 allows exact metering in automatic and manual dosing machines and easy incorporation into the base paints. They show an excellent stability to settling and skinning. Aqueous emulsion paints and resin-based renderings are the main applications of the Colanyl 100 range. In water-based, air-drying alkyd paints, Colanyl 100 preparations exhibit very good compatibility and they can also be incorporated in aqueous wood stains, acrylic and polyester casting systems, latex and water-resistant inks.
Colanyl 500 is a range of both binder and solvent-free aqueous pigment preparations for the coloration of clear and white base paints. They are based on non-ionic and/or anionic wetting and dispersing agents. The rheological profile of Colanyl 500 allows exact metering in automatic and manual dosing machines and easy incorporation into the base paints. They show an excellent stability to settling and skinning. Colanyl 500 are extremely low in VOCs, free of APEOs, and all but one fulfill the requirements of RAL UZ 102 (German eco label – “Blue Angel”) while all of them fulfill the requirements of the EU Directive 2004/42/EC for the years 2007 and 2010.
Evonik Industries (formerly Degussa) presented its products and solutions with the theme of “Smart Formulating”. Just in time for CHINACOAT, Evonik’s Aerosil & Silanes Business Unit developed a novel, flexibly designed sol-gel system. The modular system consists of various water-based sol-gel components comprising a water-based binder and other water-based additives. For the first time, formulators and developers of coating systems are being offered a simple method for producing sol-gel coatings with specific properties and good storage stability with this new SIVO® SOL technology. The technology is modularly organized with the new sol-gel binder Dynasylan® SIVO 110 and three additives: the neutralizing agent SIVO 111, the anti-fingerprint and oleophobizing additive SIVO 112, and the hydrophobizing additive SIVO 113 for improved weathering stability. The concept allows an unusually high degree of flexibility in the formulation of water-based scratch- and abrasion-resistant sol-gel coatings, which can also be given anticorrosive or easy-to-clean properties if required. The main applications center on metal coatings as used in metal pretreatment, corrosion-protection primers, and anti-fingerprint finishes.
Evonik’s Advanced Fillers & Pigments Business Unit offers granule-form pigment preparations, with significant advantages for manufacturing coatings. Formerly, pigment powders had to be thoroughly dispersed for good development of colorimetric properties. The new INXEL™ preparations allow easy incorporation into coatings and printing inks, making dispersion, and therefore color development, much simpler. “The preparations are produced by the newly established joint venture Inxel-Degussa Advanced Pigment Systems Sagl, headquartered in Switzerland,” says Thomas Hermann, Head of the Evonik business unit.
The preparations are based on a novel process in which the pigment is incorporated into the binder matrix. The end product consists of granules that can be easily worked into solvents, binders or a mixture of the two by, for example, mixing with a dissolver. Complex apparatus such as pearl mills will, therefore, no longer be necessary in the future. The dispersion time is much shorter than in the previous process, too.
Additional advantages of the INXEL preparations are completely dust-free handling, VOC-free and simple dosing. The preparations are very easily soluble in most commonly used organic solvents and are highly compatible with most binders. The first INXEL preparations will be produced with Evonik pigment blacks, and are already being supplied in various degrees of jetness. “The range is gradually being expanded by addition of other colors,” says Dr. Kai Krauss, Evonik’s project manager for INXEL. “We plan to start full-scale production in the beginning of 2008.”
Asian Plant Growth/ExpansionCelanese’s commitment to the Chinese market includes a new chemical complex in Nanjing, featuring an emulsion polymers facility, and a new Technology Center in Shanghai. “Celvolit emulsion polymers are inherently green technology, and we recently began production at our new world-class facility in Nanjing to make them available locally to the Chinese and Asian regions,” Wu said.
Münzing Corp. has also opened a new facility in China. Münzing’s Asian subsidiary, Münzing (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., established an office facility in Shanghai at the end of 2006. “We are committed to the markets in Asia, and the office in Shanghai provides a level of understanding and familiarity with our distributors and customers that simply was not possible before,” said Matthew Chen, head of Münzing (Shanghai).
Münzing further demonstrated its commitment to the region by installing a laboratory facility in Shanghai, which serves customers in the entire Asian region. According to Chen, “Münzing’s core strength is identifying the optimum additive solution for our customers through our extensive technical service evaluations and testing.” This facility allows Münzing to work with customers in the R&D stage, solve problems, provide solutions and optimize cost.
To meet the anticipated rise in demand for waterborne coatings in China and its surrounding region, Bayer MaterialScience’s Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants (CAS) Business Unit is currently ramping up its production capabilities at the Bayer Integrated Site Shanghai. “The new facility will have an annual capacity of 20,000 tons and is on track to come on-stream in the second quarter of 2008,” said Meyer.
Although Europe is Ciba’s major market, the company is seeing fast growth in Asia – at about a rate of 18%. According to Jianwen Mao, Ph.D., Head of R&D at Ciba (China) Ltd., Ciba has developed a “China Strategy”, which is supported by five pillars.
1. People development. There is no lack of talent in China. Ciba plans to focus on working with the people to develop them into leaders.
2. Focus on selected key growth markets.
3. Investment for local production. The company is shifting investments to the region, with a pigment manufacturing plant in Nanjing and an antioxidant plant in Singapore that they plan to be on-stream some time in 2008.
4. Leverage the R&D capability, adapting products and technology to fit the local needs.
5. Discover what is special and unique in the Chinese market and adapt to it.
On September 15, 2007, Evonik Industries held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new integrated production plant for the manufacture of methyl methacrylates (MMA) and methacrylate specialties in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP). Plant investment will be €250 million.
The groundbreaking was a milestone for Evonik Industries in more than one respect. “For us, this project symbolizes an important element of our global growth strategy, “emphasized Dr. Klaus Engel, member of the Management Board of Evonik Industries with responsibility for the Chemicals Business Area. “With this production plant, we are laying the groundwork for participation in a highly attractive growth market for us. This investment will also consolidate our position as a worldwide leading manufacturer of methacrylates.” With a volume of €250 million, the integrated production plant is the second largest single investment ever made by the Chemicals Business Area of Evonik. The facility is scheduled to come on stream in mid-2009 after completion of the roughly two-year construction phase. The integrated MMA production includes, in addition to an annual capacity of about 100,000 metric tons of MMA, plants for the production of methacrylic acid, butyl methacrylate, and PMMA molding compounds.