Hope this email will find you in good health and happiness. Here in Pakistan, the situation is again affecting with Covid-19. I need your expert guidelines for working on some new projects in powder coating R&D. What do you suggest? Which segment should we focus our work? Kindly share some ideas and hints.
Thanks in advance,
Thanks for your message. Your question is a broad one and it is difficult to give you one answer. My question to you is: what are your customers (and potential customers) asking for? And what is the market looking for? Where can an innovation solve a market and/or customer need?
Low-temperature cure is always a good area to explore. But it is also very important to gauge the market need before embarking on an R&D program. Is MDF (medium density fiberboard) an important part of the furniture industry where you live? Have you spoken to any of the furniture manufacturers about using powder coatings? It would be good to understand their needs and then obtain a bona fide specification to target your product development efforts. Also, are composites an important substrate in the industries and customers that you serve? Would developing a powder for those substrates fulfill a market need?
Achieving low-temperature cure can entail a fairly mundane product that cures below 175 ⁰C, perhaps at 160 ⁰C and will save energy or allow your customer to increase their throughput of coated parts. This technology is easy to implement as many of the major powder resin producers have drop-in products that can perform at 160 ⁰C.
If your target is to coat heat-sensitive substrates, the technology is a bit more complex. You may need to create conductivity on a relatively non-conductive surface. With MDF it is a simple as preheating the boards with infrared and spraying them while they are still warm. With plastics and composites you will need to apply a conductive solution prior to applying the powder in order to facilitate electrostatic deposition. Choice of chemistry is more restricted and can either be thermosetting or UV curable. And please be aware that fewer raw materials are available to formulate ultra-low temp and UV-curable powders.
Another area is corrosion-resistant powders for extreme environments. Would a single-coat powder with UV durability and excellent corrosion resistance be able to replace a primer-topcoat system? There are new approaches being promoted by resin and additives manufacturers. This would be attractive to a number of coating users.
Anti-microbial is another area for development. Obviously the global pandemic has brought new light to the concept of anti-viral coatings. Silver ion technology is the most common approach however a number of alternate anti-microbial agents are hitting the market and may offer quicker and better efficacy. One thing to keep in mind – at the present time all anti-microbial powder coatings are officially recognized as “treated article exemptions” which means they coating is there to protect the item coated and not the health of the general public.
These are a few thoughts, please let me know what you think.
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