A company’s ability to adapt and produce sustainable products reaps rewards beyond the balance sheet: helping to strengthen brand loyalty, end-user confidence and a sense of employee satisfaction.

New sustainable products and processes are entering the market at lightening speed. Every aspect and surface of the coatings industry is being spotlighted. There is pressure on the industry to perform up to new, more stringent standards derived from both state and federal legislations. States are moving toward tougher restrictions and new regulations, specifically targeting coatings and thinners.

How has our industry been responding? A lot of focus and resources have been put into the development of new products that have low or virtually undetectable VOC content.

VOC-Free Pigment Dispersions

LANXESS’ Levanyl® Gran are the newest VOC-free pigment dispersions for the coating industry. These organic microgranulated pigment preparations are self-dispersing products for water-based systems.

“We are not putting any solvents into the formulation of Levanyl Gran products,” said Samuel Gomez, of the LANXESS Functional Chemicals Unit.

Microgranulars create much less waste compared with traditional liquid pigment dispersions. Another benefit is that due to the granular form these dry pigments are virtually dust-free.

“Liquid dispersions tend to create a film on top of the containers and as it dries it becomes unusable. It’s wasting the product,” explains Gomez. “By using dry pigment dispersions the end-user doesn’t have to worry about this because they don’t have any water or liquid; the dry VOC-free pigment dispersions solve this problem.

“We do not use any wetting agents like glycols in the formulation of Levanyl Gran products, so there is a distinct advantage in drying time of the paints produced with these products compared to the ones produced with normal liquid dispersion,” said Gomez.

After debuting in Europe and Latin America, Levanyl Gran products are now available in the U.S. market.

Other Green Products

But reduced VOC is not just limited to pigment in paints. For years, LANXESS has produced other additives, including a range of biocides, for the coatings and additives industry. By working with the EPA guidelines, the company makes sure active ingredients do not find their way into the environment. The EPA approval process is lengthy, but that is why approved coating industry products like Metasol®, Biochek®, PREVENTOL® and TekTAMER® are now so successful.

The extensive portfolio of VOC-free and low-VOC biocides and preservatives are used for in-can and dry film applications, inhibiting the growth of microorganisms in coatings and related materials. The use of biocides and preservatives in these applications is necessary in order to sustain the quality of the end product. And, by extension, VOC-free and low-VOC biocides and preservatives from LANXESS support global sustainability. For example, the fungicide in the METASOL product line is non-sensitizing and can be considered truly sustainable due to its toxicological and ecotoxicological profile.

The industry recognizes the changing landscape of coatings products. While suppliers continue to identify solutions to the meet the industry’s needs, several pigment and biocide solutions have been in existence for some time.