The first American Coatings Show and Conference was held from June 2-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina. According to event sponsors NPCA and Vincentz Network, this premier event was very successful. The event sponsors chose NürnbergMesse as their partner for organizing the American Coatings Show.

The trade show featured 332 exhibitors from 14 countries. Companies from abroad accounted for 24 percent of the exhibitors and, in addition to the United States, leading countries represented at the show included China, Germany, India, Canada, South Korea and Great Britain. Roughly 5,600 trade visitors (not including exhibitors) attended the show. The Congress, which featured more than 70 presentations, had 750 attendees - more than twice the attendance originally expected. The keynotes were outstanding and were packed to a standing-room-only crowd.

Prices Continue to Rise

The slew of recent, and significant, price increases, as well as the state of the economy, were hot topics at the show. Marco Cenisio, Head of BU Coatings at Clariant, commented that it isn’t just the rise in oil prices that is causing the price hikes. He said that China is increasingly moving in the direction of wanting to protect the environment and is forcing manufacturing facilities to upgrade their environmental systems. As a result, the government is shutting down some raw materials plants that are not complying. In addition, many worldwide raw materials suppliers have not invested in new capacity. These issues, combined with the economic boom in Asia, have all contributed to a squeeze on the supply of these materials.

For most companies, the answer to this problem comes in the form of increasing prices to the customer. There are also some cut backs in production. We have seen several suppliers to the coatings industry shut down plants in various regions over the past year. Cenisio commented that companies need to look at which facilities in their manufacturing network are cost competitive, and re-balance their footprint by investing in those facilities and regions of the world that are competitive.

ISP’s Scott Edris, Director of Global Marketing, Performance Chemicals, echoed Cenisio’s comments. Edris stated that we will likely continue to see companies moving business centers to lower-cost areas, as well as continued consolidation and shared services in the form of mergers and acquisitions. He also noted the advancements in multi-purpose products, which can help customers save money by reducing the number of additives needed in a paint formulation. Cognis agrees, and noted that coatings producers are looking for ways to reduce the overall cost of their end products and anticipate additive solutions that offer multiple performance benefits and are suitable for a variety of applications.

Consumers Want Eco-Friendly Products

At their press briefing, Celanese commented on the recent increase in consumer awareness and demand for environmentally safe products. Dr. Barry Snyder, Global Technology Director, Emulsions and PVOH, noted that the legislative driver for eco-friendly chemistry has been around for decades, but in the last 12 months, the awareness and consumer pull for it is dramatically higher. Celanese’s Craig Mitchell, Americas Marketing Manager, Paints and Coatings, said that Americans’ health is the new symbol of success. In a recent poll, 91% of Americans said they would rather be healthy than wealthy. This drive has resulted in more architects and contractors specifying environmentally safe products for their projects.

R&D at the Forefront

Companies are not likely to cut back on R&D spending - if anything they are stepping it up, since it is only through research that innovative, cost- and time-saving technologies will be discovered and ultimately passed on to customers. Dow Coating Solutions, a market-facing business of The Dow Chemical Company, announced that it has implemented high-throughput experimentation (HTE) technology in the company’s global R&D labs. HTE, also known as combinatorial chemistry, uses advanced computer modeling and robotics to identify promising compounds and material solutions – enabling faster development and commercialization of new chemistries in the coatings industry.

“Using HTE technology, we are changing the way we develop new products and explore new solutions with our customers,” Wendy Hoenig, Vice President R&D for Dow Coating Solutions explained. “Through new polymer development and formulation latitude studies, we are working on innovative solutions that meet historic and emerging industry needs with chemistries we would not have considered before.”

Michael Hoppe, Product Manager, Coatings Additives, at Cognis, noted that we are starting to see a new side of old technology. For example, polyamide technology, which has been around for a long time, has renewable resources, so formulators are taking a new look at it. Alkyd technology is also old, but we now have waterborne alkyds. And we are seeing the use of natural oils, like palm, to produce palm oil-based polyesters, polyamides and surfactants. Researchers are finding new, greener ways to use older, basic technology.

It is through such research and innovation that our suppliers can advance the industry to the next level in green technology, reduced formulation and application costs, nanotechnology and smart coatings - all of which were key focus points at this year’s ACS. Following are several of the products and services that were showcased.

Air Productsintroduced four new ZetaSperse® pigment dispersing additives. These new additives have been designed to combat viscosity build, color drift, flocculation and other challenges faced by dispersion formulators. These low-VOC and APE-free pigment dispersing additives are optimized for superior performance with a variety of unique applications, depending on the type of pigment. They provide excellent dispersion stability and are specifically designed for use in water-based systems.

Bayer MaterialScience’s (BMS)booth featured case histories of actual applications that have stood the test of time. Technologies showcased included 2K polyurea sealants, self-healing coatings, soft-touch coatings for plastics, polyaspartic coatings, wood-bonding adhesives, cold-cure sealants and more. One attention-grabbing element of the booth was a truck featuring applications of BMS’ range of technologies for the coatings industry, including UV-cure, waterborne, sprayable thick film and clearcoat coatings. In addition, Karen Henderson, Senior Associate Scientist, performed demonstrations of BMS’ self-healing coatings technologies.

BASFpresented sustainable solutions that can help formulators of coatings for architectural, industrial and automotive applications. Visitors learned about the ingredients, chemistry and know-how they need to develop new products that meet their business needs and help protect the environment, including specific solutions for current needs such as:

· low- to zero-VOC coatings;

· alkylphenol ethoxylate-free coatings;

· high-performance coatings; and

· “cooler” solutions for heat management.

Brookfield Engineering Laboratories, Inc. featured the R/S Plus Rheometer, designed for rheological evaluation of materials through the direct measurement of viscosity, yield stress, thixotropic response, creep and other flow properties. It features a temperature range up to 180 °C, speed range from 0.1 to 1,000 rpm, and measurement sensitivity delivering comprehensive data for modulus and static yield stress as well as information for creep testing. It operates in both stand-alone mode as well as under PC control, and is available with cone/plane, plate/plate or coaxial cylinder measurement geometries.

BYK-Chemie GmbHhas developed a totally new wax emulsion that controls the rheology of effect pigment coatings and consequently delivers excellent optical performance. The action of AQUATIX 8421 is so powerful that no extra rheology modifier is needed. At the same time, the product reduces cloudiness and mottling, is liquid and easy to use.

Cabotlaunched three new fumed metal oxides at the ACS. CAB-O-SIL® CT-9709 is a treated fumed silica that provides improved abrasion resistance to radiation-curable coatings without sacrificing clarity and color and with minimal impact on viscosity. This new grade is particularly suited for coatings applied to pre-coated wood flooring, abrasion-resistant coatings requiring optical clarity such as helmet visors, and clean coatings for compact disks.

CAB-O-SIL TS-382 prolongs viscosity stability in epoxy-based adhesives and coatings with minimal impact on the color of the finished coating system. This new grade also improves wetting-out and adhesion on poorly prepared metal surfaces, which greatly assists formulators that have to address imperfect application conditions.

CAB-O-SIL CT-1111G improves flow properties in powder coatings, resulting in more consistent processing, reduced clumping, easier application of the finished product and better visual appearance of the applied coating. It can be added before or after the micronizer during the manufacturing process.

Celanese Emulsions Polymersintroduced a new vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE) emulsion technology specially designed to facilitate the manufacture of high-quality, eco-friendly paints for North America. Called EcoVAE, this new line of products was created to meet both the regulatory requirements for lower VOC limits and growing consumer demand for more environmentally sound, low-odor products. The first product in the new line, EcoVAE 401, offers specific advances for interior paints in wet edge, touch-up performance, scrub resistance, as well as the new brand’s hallmark low odor and emissions. EcoVAE is synthesized to be free of alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APE) and will assist coatings manufacturers, architects and the construction industry in achieving ‘green’ certifications.

Clariant’s Pigments & Additives Divisionfeatured its Easily Dispersible (ED) pigments and Colanyl® 500 pigment preparations, as well as Ceridust 3921F, an innovative, micronized PTFE wax mixture. ED pigments reduce dispersion times in solvent-based coatings systems by 50% to 70% compared to conventional pigments. In addition, they are very cost-effective by achieving full color dispersion with minimal energy usage due to a widely compatible dispersing agent bonded to the surface. No other additives are required in the paint formula to achieve maximum value-in-use.

Colanyl 500 pigment preparations are aqueous preparations with high pigment content and are free of binding agents and solvents. Suitable for many different applications, they are available in chromatic shades and include extra narrow strength tolerance of ±2% gravimetrically and ±3% volumetrically. They are ideal for use with automated dosing and mixing equipment due to their excellent flow, ease of pumping, and resistance to sedimentation and drying. Products in the series are very low-VOC and APE-free aqueous pigments dispersions.

Environmental awareness has led to the increased use of powder coatings utilizing micronized waxes based on polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). In answer to this trend, Clariant has introduced TP Ceridust® 3921 F, a micronized PTFE wax mixture based on an innovative polyolefin. When formulated into powder coatings, this additive improves scratch resistance, enhances slip resistance and imparts antiblocking characteristics.

Cognisunveiled its latest contributions to the architectural coatings market. DSX 3220, a zero-VOC, high-shear viscosity builder, combines performance and economy with ecology. Product highlights include high efficiency in ICI viscosity development, superior sag resistance, excellent flow and leveling, scrub resistance and shelf life with zero-VOC content. Another highlight was the zero-VOC, high-efficiency, mid-range viscosity builder DSX 3515. With this product, users will typically experience a 15% lower use level and improved scrub resistance, in addition to a very good response to colorant addition. A multi-functional associative thickener, DSX 3515 has a built-in renewable wetting agent and coalescent suitable for application in premium flat and eggshell, semi-gloss as well as gloss paints.

Two new, renewable film formation agents, Loxanol EFC 200 and Loxanol EFC 300, were also introduced at the show. These coalescents and rheology modifiers provide the eco-friendly foundations for meeting the high performance market demands and the requirement for essentially VOC- and odor-free paints.

Cytecfeatured many products from its portfolio of liquid, powder and UV/EB-curable resins and additives. The featured products included:

· Waterborne resins for low-VOC metal, architectural and concrete floor coatings;

· A new pigment grinding resin for high-performance coatings;

· Water-based UV-curable PUDs for indoor and outdoor wood primers and coatings;

· Superdurable powder coating resins and additives for exterior applications; and

· New energy-curable nanocomposites for plastic hardcoats.

Deacom, Inc. featured its Integrated Accounting and ERP Software. The formula management system allows lab personnel to develop products with automatic calculation of batch yields, complete maintenance revision control and continuous re-calculation of user-defined values based on the properties tied to the raw materials. The built-in DEACOM regulatory reporting system allows customers and personnel to download the most up-to-date Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and other regulatory documents with the latest formulations directly from a company’s website instantly. The software also seamlessly integrates company stores and distribution points, and maintains complete inventory control with accurate lot tracking, location control and bar coding.

Dow Biocides, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), introduced CANGUARD ULTRA BIT 20 DPG preservative, a high-purity glycolic solution of benzisothiazolinone (BIT) that can be used under a broad range of pH and temperature conditions and under very alkaline conditions where other preservatives are often ineffective. Used for the preservation of polymer latexes and emulsion systems, water-based paints, coatings, adhesives and oil-in-water emulsions, it is compatible with most anionic, cationic and non-ionic dispersants and provides outstanding chemical stability and good compatibility with most formulations.

Dow Coating Solutionsshowcased new chemistries and innovation themes in four key areas: reducing environmental impact; reducing application and lifecycle costs; improving environmental durability (e.g., corrosion resistance, weatherability); and enabling “smart” coatings.

The company is working to reduce industry reliance on petrochemical feedstocks through new products and technologies. ECOSURF™ SA surfactants are a new generation of patented, biodegradable, non-ionic surfactants that meet most regulatory and environmental standards worldwide, while offering excellent performance and economics. Made using naturally occurring palm seed oil alcohols, these new surfactants are ideal candidates for a broad range of applications including coatings without sacrificing key product attributes.

The company’s RENUVA™ Renewable Resource Technology is a new process that enables natural oil polyols for products with high levels of renewable content and excellent coatings performance.

Dow Coating Solutions is also enabling low-odor and low-VOC formulations that will help paint formulators stay ahead of current regulations. Efforts include latexes that will help formulators meet new regulations for architectural coatings with VOC levels less than 50 g/l.; new biocide products that enable zero- or low-VOC coating formulations; and BLUEWAVE™ Technology, a new process that allows for the production of waterborne dispersions from multiple families of chemistries.

The Dow Chemical Company is researching and implementing new technology that reduces the energy consumption of its coating product production facilities and utilizes new feedstocks based on renewable resources. A new 150 metric ton/year epichlorohydrin production facility using patented glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin (GTE) technology is scheduled to begin operations in Shanghai in 2010. The new facility will reduce energy consumption by about one-third, generate less than 1/10th of the wastewater and considerably less salt, chlorinated organics, etc., when compared to traditional production processes.

International Specialty Products (ISP)showcased new additions to both lines of the CleanGuard™ family –Nuosept® in-can preservatives and the Fungitrol® 900 series of IPBC-based fungcides/algaecides. ISP has expanded the Nuosept line of the CleanGuard family with multi-active, broad-spectrum industrial biocides, including:

· Nuosept W: A unique formulated blend of Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol) and CMIT/MIT (5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one) and (2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one). Applications include water-based paints and coatings, polymer emulsions, joint compounds, and inks.

· Nuosept BMc-422: A BIT/MIT-based in-can preservative for emulsion paints, adhesives, plasters, latex and wax emulsions, and technical aqueous solutions.

· Nuosept 415: A Bronopol/BIT blend-based in-can preservative for use in water-based paints and coatings, polymer emulsions, joint compound, inks, stucco, exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFSs), and grouts.

ISP has also introduced a 30% water-based dispersion of IPBC (Fungitrol 930) and a 40% water-based dispersion of IPBC (Fungitrol 940). Like Fungitrol 920, the new “greener” biocides offer no-VOC, low-odor, and broad-spectrum protection. Moreover, the new additions will enable direct replacement of 30% or 40% IPBC solvent-based fungicides with no need for formulation modification.

King Industries, Inc. introduced NACURE 3056, a new acid catalyst. It is a hydrophobic sulfonic acid that imparts performance and economical advantages as an additive in coating, adhesive and ink formulations. Systems requiring superior water, salt, stain and detergent resistance will benefit from the use of this product. It will supply excellent adhesion and intercoat adhesion performance compared to more hydrophilic acids. It is designed to give good miscibility in either solventborne or waterborne systems to catalyze reactions of amino resin crosslinking agents with hydroxyl functional binder resins.

King also introduced K-KAT XK-617, and XK-618 catalysts. 617 is an effective catalyst for the reaction of isocyanates and polyols for the production of urethane elastomers. It is a proprietary mixed organometallic complex specially designed to be an alternative to mercury catalysts without the toxicity concerns. 618 is effective for the reaction of isocyanates and polyols for the production of urethane foams. It is a mixed organometallic complex specially designed to be an alternative to mercury, tin and amine catalysts without the toxicity concerns.

KW Containerfeatured its ALLPlastic container. It is molded from 100% recycled materials and a recyclable resin compounded by KW Plastics Recycling. The entire package is 100% recyclable, and provides manufacturers an environmentally responsible path to a closed-loop packaging program. KW provides assistance to its customers in developing reclamation programs for used containers. Recycling ensures a continued supply of raw materials and minimizes packaging costs. It is fill-line compatible and 100% recyclable. The key feature of the container is a patented snap closure system that creates an airtight seal – no matter how many times the container is opened and closed.Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc., a subsidiary of The Lubrizol Corporation, announced the first product in a line of new XL Reactive technology hyperdispersants for radiation-cured coatings and inks that helps formulators achieve improved pigment wetting, enhanced tinctorial properties and increased hardness. Solsperse® X300 reactive dispersant crosslinks into the structure of the coating system, improving pigment dispersion and stability in UV coatings. Used in conjunction with increasingly popular radiation-cured coatings and inks, it helps to reduce solvent emissions and improve environmental compliance. It is a 100-percent-active crosslinkable dispersant that is dissolved into the millbase oligomer/monomer before the addition of pigments.

For wood coatings formulators and contractors, Lubrizol introduced Turboset™ 2025 urethane dispersion – an innovative polymer that eliminates additional crosslinkers. A one-component product, it employs proprietary self-crosslinking technologies that deliver the performance of a two-component system without any external crosslinkers. Ideal for commercial and high-traffic residential floors, the nano-sized polymer particles in the urethane dispersion crosslink after application and continue while drying. As a result, wood finishes demonstrate exceptional floor-wear characteristics, including resistance to abrasion, household stains and cleaners.

Michelmanfeatured a selection of its many surface modifiers for water-based interior furniture and floor coatings.

Michem® Emulsion is a versatile family of natural and synthetic wax emulsions, with solutions for applications that call for scratch resistance, block resistance, hardness, slip resistance, lubricity and water beading properties without a degradation in gloss. Michem Guard are larger particle size dispersions used in coatings to provide enhanced abrasion, mar, slip and block resistance, and a gloss matting effect. These modifiers also allow for micronized wax performance with easy incorporation into water-based formulations. Michem Wood Coating is a hydrophobic emulsion that penetrates wood and provides excellent water repellency and water beading, scratch resistance, block resistance and slip resistance. It also minimizes swelling in the presence of water, improving the dimensional stability of wood. Michem Lube is a specialty line of nanoscale emulsions, including carnauba-based, that produce outstanding slip, mar, scratch and water resistance, as well as anti-blocking properties.

Reichhold, Inc. featured its alkyd latex resin technology ideally suited for architectural applications. Designated Beckosol AQ™, the line of products provides alkyd-like performance in a waterborne vehicle for semi-transparent stains, primers, flat, semi-gloss and high-gloss paint, as well as metal enamels. These alkyd latex resins are unique binder resins that enable low-VOC, low-odor, semi-gloss coating formulations with excellent block resistance.

With excellent adhesion, stain blocking and high-performance finish characteristics, it is ideal for use in interior and exterior architectural applications for both commercial and residential uses, including exterior wood stains and interior paint.

3M’s booth featured NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, who is building a new home that is using products containing 3M’s high-performance coatings technologies. According to Ron Miller with Simonini Builders, building contractor for the Biffle home, the house will feature architectural paint containing 3M Ceramic Microspheres and a concrete sealer, 3M SRC-220. Architectural paints containing 3M ceramic microspheres have a lower viscosity, better flow and improved sprayability due to their spherical shape. Professional painters have described application of the paint as simple and smooth. That’s because the 3M ceramic microspheres easily roll over one another, similar to ball bearings. Surfaces coated with 3M ceramic microsphere paints provide a level of soil and stain resistance typically associated with gloss and semi-gloss paints. These flat, matte paints produce a finish that is easier to clean than conventional flat paints, because the surface can be scrubbed without burnishing.

3M SRC-220 concrete sealer will be used to protect Biffle’s concrete driveway. As a sealer, SRC-220 provides water and oil repellency as well as stain resistance and release characteristics to porous surfaces such as concrete, stone, unglazed tile, granite, clay, slate, limestone and terra cotta. The sealer is easy to apply, quick to dry, offers durability and preserves the appearance of the treated surface. SRC-220 can also be used as an ingredient to provide stain resistance and stain release to many paints, coatings and sealers, and to various construction materials.

Future Plans

Plans for the 2010 ACS have not been finalized. J. Andrew Doyle, President of the NPCA, did confirm that there would be an event in the spring of 2010, but commented that the date and venue would not be finalized for another six to eight weeks.