Hello and welcome to your late week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. A few interesting things happened in the industry since our last newsletter, so let’s get right to them.
AkzoNobel has joined SEAFRONT (Synergistic Fouling Control Technologies), a project within the Seventh Framework Program of the European Commission, to develop environmentally friendly fouling control coatings for boats, ships, tidal power plants and other aquatic installations. The coatings will be designed to improve operational efficiency, substantially reduce CO2 emissions and have no negative impact on the marine ecosystem. The Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) is the other main contractor of the project.
The SEAFRONT project will be implemented within the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) under the Ocean of Tomorrow call. Five multinationals, seven SMEs and seven research institutes spread across eight EU Member States will work together to achieve the goals within the four-year timeframe. DPI is the project coordinator and International Paint Ltd., a business unit of AkzoNobel will bring any new coatings based on technology developed within the project to the market.
In facilities news, BASF and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec”) broke ground recently on the construction of its world-scale isononanol (INA) plant in Maoming Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Maoming, China. At start-up in 2015, the plant, which is the first of its kind in China, will serve the increasing market demand for next-generation plasticizers. A newly-formed 50-50 joint venture company has been created, BASF MPCC Company Limited. The new plant will bring around 100 new jobs in Maoming.
“High quality and reliable plasticizers help underpin industrial growth, and with this plant we will be well positioned to serve China’s growing demands. Additionally, this project brings us a step closer to BASF’s strategic goal to better serve local industries with local production in Asia Pacific of approximately 75% by 2020. The new joint venture with Sinopec also solidifies our already strong partnership, and demonstrates BASF’s long-term commitment to China,” said Dr. Albert Heuser, president, Functions Asia Pacific, president and chairman, Greater China, BASF.
In acquisitions news, Rust-Oleum Corporation announced that it has acquired Citadel Restoration and Repair, Inc., a producer and marketer of premium concrete and wood deck floor coatings for both the commercial and do-it-yourself markets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Citadel's coatings for concrete floors combine the benefits of lasting protection and beauty with quick return to service and easy application. The company's Citadel® brand is marketed to professional contractors, while its Rock Solid® brand is targeted to the DIY market. Citadel also offers a premium line of Rock Solid exterior wood care products that provide performance advantages over conventional stains.
In news from “Down Under”, Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) announced that its standards for paints and coatings, and cleaning products have been recognized by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
The recognition of more GECA standards means products certified under them will contribute to achieving credit points for Green Star projects. Following the GBCA’s announcement in October to expand its existing Assessment Framework, GECA applied to get its Paints & Coatings and Cleaning products standards recognized.
Now approved, products certified under GECA's Cleaning Products standard will contribute to achieving credit points for projects being certified under the GBCA’s new Green Star Performance tool.
Describing the recognition as an exciting moment for GECA and its licensees, GECA CEO Rupert Posner explains that many of GECA’s standards are already recognized by the GBCA, helping specifiers working on Green Star projects to achieve more points. The important areas of paints and coatings and cleaning products will also now benefit Green Star professionals and those looking for recognition under the GBCA’s new Green Star Performance tool.
Products certified under GECA’s Paints and Coatings standard will contribute to achieving credit points under the ‘Reduced exposure to pollutants’ credit for projects being certified under the Green Star Interior tool; and contribute to achieving credit points as part of the Indoor Environment Quality VOC credit under the Green Star Design & As-built tool.
GECA will also apply to get the current Adhesives standard and the Adhesives, Fillers and Sealants standard being developed, approved by the GBCA once clarification has been given on VOC limits for general adhesives.
In new product news, Linetec finishes metal panel system for Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral - with its shimmering, iridescent exterior, Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral beckons visitors with its unique appearance as its color changes in different light and at different angle. Opened in November 2013, the Port's iconic welcome center showcases the first use of Valspar's new Kameleon Color mica coating as spray-applied to Firestone Metal Products' Una-Clad metal wall panels by Linetec, one the nation's largest finishers of architectural aluminum.
An integral part of Florida's Space Coast and Canaveral Cove's revitalization, Exploration Tower is owned by Canaveral Port Authority. Its opening coincided with the Port's 60th anniversary of its establishment and the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing on Florida's east coast.
Taking its cues from the shapes and hues of the port, GWWO Inc. Architects designed the $23 million, seven-story, sail-shaped structure to express the common characteristics of "transience, function and imagery." The building's southern elevation soars from the water to the sky. It narrows in scale and reduces its exterior coverage until only the steel frame remains to outline the curvature and comes together at a peak 60-feet above the main roof level.
The architects elaborate, "The building's dynamic form and features – sun louvers, exposed structure and iridescent skin -- contribute to a constant sense of movement as the sun plays across the structure, meet functional needs, and evoke imagery of the Port and [Brevard County. A rocket ready to launch, a surfboard in the sand, a ship's hull, a rocket contrail; all can be seen in the structure's striking presence."
Skanska USA served as the general contractor of the 23,000-square-foot project. Kenpat USA was the subcontractor responsible for the exterior metal façades and wall system. Working closely with Kenpat, Firestone engineered and fabricated the façade's metal panel system. Radius Track Corporation fabricated the curved structural faming and provided the 3-D building information modeling (BIM) to coordinate the connection points for each panel in the building's parabolic curve. In total, Kenpat installed 42 pre-fabricated structural panelized units as sub-structure for the cladding, with the largest being 36 feet by 10 feet.
Linetec selected Valspar's Blue Pearl II color-changing paint to capture the themes of revitalization and change it sought to represent for the Port Canaveral area. Along with its unique appearance, the finish must withstand Florida's hurricane wind speeds, unrelenting sun and salt spray.
Kameleon Colors offer the same, advanced protection as Valspar's 70% PVDF Fluropon® product family in rich, pearlescent pigments that shift in color when viewed from different angles. Applied in a three-coat system, Kameleon colors consist of a primer, basecoat and color coat, and are available for both extrusion and coil products.
"When creating a unique design that requires a vibrant color scheme, Kameleon Color is an excellent choice. This innovative, multicolored system uses mica flakes to create a consistent, iridescent look," notes Tim Tritch, Valspar's director of sales. The coating utilizes a blend of ceramic and inorganic pigments create this rich look that is both brilliant and subtle."
Linetec also applied a clear coat over the Blue Pearl II for enhanced durability. As with other 70% PVDF resin-based coatings, Kameleon Colors meet the most stringent, exterior, architectural specification, American Architectural Manufacturers Association's AAMA-2605. This specification requires paint coatings to meet rigorous testing performance standards, including more than 2,000 hours of cyclic corrosion per ASTM G85 annex 5, and heat- and humidity-resistance. Per AAMA-2605, the coating also must maintain its film integrity, color retention, chalk resistance, gloss retention, and erosion resistance properties for a minimum of 10 years on the South Florida testing site.
Accepting the praise with confidence, Linetec's paint plant manager Paul Bratz says, "No one has sprayed this before, but our knowledgeable staff was up to the challenge. There was some trial and error during the process. It was critical that each paint run maintained the same parameters. The spray conditions, paint prep and application consistency of the paint itself were all critical. The slightest change could alter the look of the paint."
To ensure consistency and minimize variation, Linetec modified its existing paint protocol process. Bratz explains, "The amount of paint needed for the entire project was determined and ordered as a single batch at the beginning of the project. Valspar prepared the special mica technology paint all at one time with excellent consistency, taking out the variable of multiple paint batches."
In addition to the Kameleon Colors' Blue Pearl II finish on southern seaside elevation, Linetec also applied Valspar's Fluropon White finish to the northern elevation's aluminum-framed curtainwall offering views of the bustling port. The entire project was painted in four phases, starting in March 2013 and ending in May.
In industry birthday celebrations, P2i this week celebrated the 10th anniversary of its spin-out from the UK Ministry of Defense with the announcement of three key milestones, including P2i's Splash-proof water-repellent coating has now been applied to 50 million electronic devices worldwide, including over 20 million mobile phones such as Motorola's Moto X and Moto G, giving them significant protection from water damage; Dunkable technology, offering cutting-edge enhanced water protection for electronic devices, will be made available on mobile phones for the first time in 2014; and its first dedicated office in China, in the global technology hub of Shenzhen.
The origins of P2i lie in a PhD research project at the University of Durham undertaken by Dr. Stephen Coulson, now Chief Technology Officer of P2i, between 1996 and 1999. That project was to create clothing for soldiers that would effectively repel chemical warfare agents while allowing normal freedom of movement. Following further development within the Ministry of Defense, Coulson founded P2i, as its sole employee, on 29 January 2004.
Today P2i is a global leader in liquid repellent nano-coatings, helping companies around the world give their products life-span enhancing protection against damaging elements such as water, oil, sweat, and mud. Using a patented cold plasma process, P2i's technology coats objects with an invisible protective coating 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. Objects P2i has coated include a wide range of high-value products from mobile phones to clothing, footwear, hearing aids, medical devices, filtration systems and Formula 1 car nose cones.
Headquartered near Oxford in England, P2i's market-leading technology is protected by over 175 granted patents. The company has roughly 100 employees and its nano-coating systems for high-volume processing are installed at over 100 of its customers' manufacturing facilities, including at factories in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, the USA, China, South Korea, Indonesia and Germany. P2i has attracted over £47 million from backers and earlier this month Tudor Brown, a founder and former president of ARM, joined P2i's board.
Carl Francis, CEO of P2i, comments: "With our new Dunkable technology now rolling out, a global footprint, and very strong momentum particularly in our electronics division, we feel confident that our steady and sustainable growth will continue."
In website news, since 1952, Florock Polymer Flooring has been pioneering concrete floor coating solutions for facilities all over the world. Its latest development, though, is a little closer to home. With the launch of its new website, Florock has reestablished itself as a definitive authority in its field. The company's new website, which showcases full technical specifications as well as large, dynamic imagery of its products, is designed to give visitors the full Florock experience, online.
The site's structure demonstrates the wide breadth of the company's capabilities—flooring solutions are organized not only by their type, but by their properties and the industries for which they are commonly used. Now, visitors can easily sort through Florock's varied inventory and find the solutions right for them.
"Visiting this new website is as close as you can get to our concrete floor coatings without actually walking on them," said David Schmetterer, President at Florock. "By giving our site's visitors both the technical information and the visuals they're looking for, we can demonstrate the quality that has put us at the forefront of the industry for more than 60 years."
In addition to visual and technical guides for Florock's polyurethane coatings, commercial floor epoxy and other flooring systems, the new Florock website offers a variety of new resources like training videos for installation, case studies, color charts and more.
Finally, in business financial results, Ashland Inc., a global leader in specialty chemical solutions for consumer and industrial markets, announced preliminary financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, the first quarter of its 2014 fiscal year.
For the year-ago quarter, Ashland reported income from continuing operations of $102 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, on sales of $1.9 billion. The year-ago results included three key items that together had a net favorable impact on continuing operations of approximately $12 million, net of tax, or 15 cents per diluted share.
The largest key item was a $13 million after-tax benefit related to a business interruption insurance settlement. Excluding the three key items, Ashland's adjusted income from continuing operations was $90 million, or $1.12 per diluted share.
“We were encouraged by our overall financial performance in the first quarter, which is Ashland's seasonally weakest period of the year. While overall sales were flat due to lower pricing in some of our more commoditized businesses, each of our four commercial units reported volume gains over the prior year," said James O'Brien, Ashland chairman and CEO.
"Within Ashland Specialty Ingredients, we generated increased volume in our personal-care business, aided in part by improved penetration and innovation in Europe for our oral- and skin-care products. Similarly, our coatings business grew volume in both developed and emerging economies, as we benefitted from improved market penetration. Ashland Water Technologies had volume gains in both the pulp and paper and the industrial water businesses.
“Within Ashland Performance Materials, our adhesives business reported double-digit volume increases driven by strong demand in auto, housing, and packaging and converting applications. In addition, our composites business reported strong demand in Asia. Ashland Consumer Markets delivered another solid quarter with continued sales growth in the international business and in Valvoline Instant Oil Change stores."
In other news, PPG Industries' protective and marine coatings (PMC) business was awarded a five-year contract by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) to continue providing coatings, solvents and technical services to its global fleet of 110 ships..more about this news
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The EU research project «NanoHouse» has ended after 42 months, and the verdict is a cautious "all clear" - nanoparticles in the paint used on building façades do not represent a particular health risk. In the course of a «Technology Briefing» Empa researchers discussed these results with specialists from the construction industry..more about this news
And finally, BioAmber Inc., an industrial biotechnology company producing sustainable chemicals, announced it has signed a take-or-pay contract for bio-based 1,4-Butanediol ("BDO") with Vinmar International. Under the terms of the 15-year master off-take agreement, Vinmar has committed to purchase 100% of the BDO produced in a 100,000 ton per year capacity plant that BioAmber plans to build in North America and commission in 2017. Vinmar also plans to invest in the BDO plant alongside BioAmber..more about this news