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Editorial

AkzoNobel to Open Research and Innovation Hub, Tronox to Acquire Cristal’s TiO2 Business, Curtiss-Wright Acquires Para Tech Coating

SpecialChem / Mark Drukenbrod – Feb 28, 2017

Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, WACKER announced it will increase dispersion capacity at its Burghausen site. Repsol is opening a new pilot plant for sustainable polycarbonate polyol and Fraunhofer IWS and SIMTech will collaborate on diamond-like hard coating technology. There’s much more where we continue and as always, you can go to the above items now using the links, or checkout our latest stories, which we’ll get to right away…


AkzoNobel to Open Research and Innovation Hub


More than 100 of the coatings industry’s leading scientists are being brought together by AkzoNobel in a new €12.6 million research and innovation hub which could revolutionize the company’s portfolio. Located in Felling in the UK, the facility will be home to teams of scientists and technical experts who will work on developing protective coatings for the energy, mining, infrastructure and oil and gas industries. The main focus will be on delivering cutting edge innovations and efficiencies for protecting steel and concrete structures from damage caused by corrosion, abrasion and fire. The new innovation hub will also offer a world class testing and simulation facility,

Tronox to Acquire Cristal’s TiO2 Business


Tronox has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the TiO2 business of Cristal, a privately held global chemical and mining company, for $1.673 billion of cash and Class A ordinary shares representing 24 percent ownership in pro forma Tronox. Concurrently with this announcement, the company announced its intent to begin a process to sell its Alkali business. The cash portion of the purchase consideration is expected to be funded through proceeds from the sale of assets, including the sale of Alkali and selected other non-core assets if appropriate, and cash on hand. The combination of the TiO2 businesses of Tronox and Cristal creates one of the world's largest and most highly integrated TiO2 pigment producers with assets and operations on six continents. The combined company will operate 11 TiO2 pigment plants in eight countries with a total capacity will be 1.3 million metric tons per annum. It will have titanium feedstock operations in three countries with a total capacity of 1.5 million metric tons per annum

Curtiss-Wright Acquires Para Tech Coating


Curtiss-Wright’s Surface Technologies (CWST) division has announced that it completed the acquisition of the net assets of Para Tech Coating, Inc. (Para Tech). With facilities in Aliso Viejo, California; Middleton, Connecticut and Neenah, Wisconsin, USA, Para Tech is one of the leading providers of parylene conformal coating services for Aerospace & Defense electronic components as well as critical Medical devices. "We are excited to combine Para Tech’s strong application engineering and equipment manufacturing capabilities with our existing network of parylene coating facilities,” said David Rivellini, Vice President and General Manager, Surface Technologies division. “We now have six locations worldwide providing parylene coating services and the infrastructure to facilitate further international expansion of this unique coating.”

On Your Coatings Radar


Your old editor has been following an investigation initiated by The Guardian newspaper into child labor in the process of mining mica in India. Since so much of the material is used as effect pigment in automotive and other paints, the series of articles looked to be poised to affect our industry, one way or another. Sure enough, last week, the Guardian ran a story announcing that PPG and Axalta have joined the Responsible Mica Initiative, already supported by cosmetics multinationals L’Oreál, Chanel, Estée Lauder, as well as major mica-sourcing companies including Merck and Chinese-owned Fujian Kuncai. The initiative goal is to eliminate child labor from mica production by 2022. The scheme marks the first comprehensive approach to tackling endemic child labor in mica mining since the industry was alerted to its existence more than a decade ago. Its aims are to implement fair and sustainable collection, processing and sourcing practices throughout the mica supply chain and improve traceability; to scale up current social empowerment programs in villages; and to cooperate with Indian authorities in building a legal framework for mica communities.

Repsol’s New Pilot Plant for Sustainable Polycarbonate Polyol


Repsol has announced that it is developing an innovative and pioneering product for manufacturing a new type of polyol, polycarbonate polyol, which will partially replace its raw material, propylene oxide (a limited fossil resource) with the abundant and sustainable alternative, CO2.

This means a considerable reduction in the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere and, consequently, lessening environmental footprint impact.

Repsol has worked together with selected customers who have manufactured products with this innovative polyol. Additional advantages of this new polycarbonate polyol are that, it enhances certain properties of different CASE applications.

Repsol has already started production of its polycarbonate polyol in the pilot plant located in Puertollano, Spain. With this plant Repsol aims to produce polyol with a 20% of CO2.

This is a step forward for a more ambitious project at industrial scale. With this product, Repsol reinforces its commitment to innovation, sustainability and contributing to a better environment. Repsol offers a portfolio of polyols with a wide range of alternatives to meet the specific needs of its customers.

HKUST Professor Wins State Science Award for Antifouling Discovery


Researchers at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has uncovered a century-old mystery on marine benthos organisms, which not only leads to the finding of a non-toxic anti-fouling coating that could help the shipping industry saves fuel consumption, but also opens the gateway for future studies that could remap the marine ecosystem.

Professor Qian Peiyuan, Chair Professor of the Division of Life Science, won second-class honor of the prestigious 2016 Natural Science Award from the State Council, for his discovery of biofilm’s impact on the initial colonization of marine benthos – organisms that live on or near the seabed such as corals and shells.

For years, scientists focused on how environmental changes affect marine benthos, but most have overlooked the bridging function of biofilm for the environment and the benthic life. Prof Qian’s pioneering study has found that upon searching for a place of settlement, the larvae of benthic marine life responds largely to the chemical signals discharged by the biofilm, instead of directly to the environment, so by manipulating these chemical signals, one can settle organisms like coral, abalones and shells, in less polluted areas to ensure their healthy growth and save endangered species from extinction, putting the tipping marine ecosystem back to balance.

“Our findings provide important background for the sustainable development of marine resources,” Prof Qian said. “It also points out the possible trend of changes in marine ecosystem due to global climate changes.”

Professor Qian also found a new and non-toxic solution for biofouling with his finding. Biofouling is a major problem for ships because accumulation of organisms on hulls not only increases fuel consumption by up to 40 per cent, significantly lowering its speed, but also compromises national security as living objects expose navy ships otherwise invisible under the radar. For years, ship liners and navy troops rely on anti-fouling agent to fight the hull-attaching organisms, but they are harmful to marine life. Prof Qian has obtained 12 patents so far for his new anti-fouling coatings, which are not only proven as effective as traditional ones, but are much greener alternatives as it is developed with natural chemicals from the biofilm.

WACKER Expands Dispersions Capacity at its Burghausen Site


Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its existing production plants for polymeric binders in Germany. The Munich-based chemical group is currently building another dispersion reactor with an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons at its Burghausen site. Some €25 million have been earmarked for the production and local-infrastructure expansion. The plant is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.

At WACKER’s main site in Burghausen, they manufacture dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, which find use as binders in sectors such as construction, coatings and adhesives. With the new 60,000-metric-ton dispersion reactor, WACKER is strengthening its position as a market and technology leader in this field.

WACKER’s dispersions are commonly used to formulate low-odor and low-emission indoor paints, but can also be found in plasters, adhesives, carpet applications or technical textiles. Moreover, they are the key raw material for the production of dispersible polymer powders for construction applications. WACKER manufactures these powders by spray drying at its Burghausen site.

“The enlargement of our dispersion production in Burghausen is part of our strategy to achieve further profitable growth through expansions at existing production plants,” said Rudolf Staudigl, president & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, explaining the investment measure. “The additional capacity will strengthen our market position as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, and will help us meet our customers’ continuously increasing demand over the long term,” emphasized the Group CEO.

In this way, WACKER is taking account of the globally rising demand for high-quality polymeric binders, which is being driven by worldwide trends such as urbanization, renovation and energy efficiency. Alongside the new reactor, the Group is also investing in the expansion and modernization of local infrastructure. “We are not only making a key contribution to supply security in the years to come, but also to the cost-efficient production of our dispersions and dispersible polymer powders,” explained Peter Summo, head of the WACKER POLYMERS business division.

With over 60 years’ experience in the development and production of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, WACKER is a global technology and market leader in the field of vinyl-acetate-based copolymers and terpolymers. The binders find use in sectors such as construction, paints, coatings and adhesives, for example for formulating high-quality tile adhesives, cementitious waterproofing membranes, energy-saving external thermal insulation composite systems, or low-odor, low-emission interior paints.

Sandia Labs Using Kinetics, Not Temperature, to Make Ceramic Coatings


Researcher Pylin Sarobol explains an elegant process for ultrafine-grained ceramic coatings in a somewhat inelegant way: sub-micron particles splatting onto a surface. That splatting action is a key part of a Sandia National Laboratories project to lay down ceramic coatings kinetically. By making high-velocity submicron ceramic particles slam onto surfaces at room temperature, Sarobol and her colleagues avoid the high temperatures otherwise required to process ceramics like alumina and barium titanate.

Coating at room temperature makes microelectronics design and fabrication more flexible and could someday lead to better, less expensive microelectronics components that underpin modern technology. The kinetic process produces nanocrystalline films that are very strong and could be used as protective coatings against wear, corrosion, oxidation and the like.

Sarobol, who works on coatings and additive manufacturing, said it’s difficult to consolidate ceramic coatings and similar hard materials and then integrate them into devices with materials that have relatively low melting temperatures. Because ceramic components are processed at temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Celsius) or more, it can be difficult to combine them with certain materials that have particular functions within electrical and mechanical devices. For example, current miniature waveguides require micro-machining out a tiny piece of electromagnetic material and gluing it onto another material.

“The ability to put down ceramics at room temperature means you can process ceramics and lower-melting temperature materials at the same time,” said Sarobol, who leads the project, now in its second year. “You can now put ceramics on copper, for example. Before you had to make the ceramics first, then put the copper down on it. This process is really about being able to integrate materials, especially ceramics, with other materials.”

It opens up new possibilities for fabrication — electrical circuits combining hybrid materials or tiny capacitors or sensors. “You can imagine spraying functional materials onto a circuit board rather than high-temperature processing, followed by tedious manual assembly,” Sarobol said.

Rather than heat, aerosol deposition uses kinetic energy and special material properties found at micro- and nano-scales.

There’s still much to learn about the process. “We really need to spend the time to understand the process parameters, how they relate to the resulting microstructures and to the final material properties that we need,” Sarobol said. “When we think about designing a new device, we need to keep the relationship of structure-processing-properties in mind and allow ourselves time to perform the research, the optimization, and understand how we can make the properties of coatings better.”

Room-temperature microscale coatings won’t be a panacea, however, because the process produces nanocrystalline structures — not ideal for coatings for applications such as micro-actuators, micro-motors or capacitors that need large grain structure for better device function, she said.

“The aerosol-deposited coatings are made up of tiny, 20 nanometer crystals that we often call crystallites or grains,” Sarobol said. “When we heat our coatings, these tiny crystals grow and the properties change. By controlling the crystallite size, we can tune the properties in predictable ways to make more functional devices” for different applications.

Next comes optimizing the process, expanding the materials that can be fabricated and developing them for potential applications, which could take years.

In a nutshell, this is how it works: In aerosol deposition, a nozzle accelerates submicron particles suspended in a gas toward the surface. Particles impact and stick, building up a coating layer by layer. A key is to use submicron particles (50 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) that allow researchers to tap into materials properties found only at small scales and activate plastic deformation in the aerosol particles. Plastic deformation, or plasticity, is a way to cause a substance to permanently change size or shape under applied stress. It’s the plasticity of submicron particles that causes consolidation of subsequent deposition layers and generates the continuous surface that layers are built upon.

Another key: deposition in a vacuum, which helps alleviate the effects of reflected gases on the flying particles. Reflection of the high-velocity carrier gas from the deposition substrate can create so-called bow shock, a gas boundary layer that’s difficult for the smallest of particles to penetrate. But in a vacuum, reflected gases are diffused so the bow shock layer is thinner. The smaller particles traveling fast have high momentum and can get through the thin bow shock layer. Without a vacuum, the bow shock layer is large and particles don’t have enough momentum to penetrate to the substrate.

When a particle impacts the substrate or another layer, it plastically deforms and changes shape by a process known as dislocation nucleation and slip. Sarobol’s team discovered particles have nanofractures that make them “lay down onto a substrate like splatting cookie dough, forming a pancake-shaped grain.”

The next particle that hits and deforms tamps down the original layer, creating an even tighter bond. “So you have both the materials deformation or shape change and fracturing without fragmentation, and finally the tamping from subsequent particles to help build the coating,” Sarobol said.

Those mechanisms make many layers possible, building up coatings that are tens of microns thick. “We have made nickel coatings as thick as 40 microns, and in literature I’ve seen reports of up to about 80 microns for ceramics,” Sarobol said.

Team members have successfully deposited multiple materials using the method, including copper, nickel, aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide, barium titanate and carbide compounds. Likely applications for this short list of materials alone include capacitors, resistors, inductors, electrical contacts and wear surfaces.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Livermore, California, Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

PPG Announces Exclusive Paint Partnership with National Hockey League


PPG last week announced it has reached a multiyear corporate marketing agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL) to make PPG paint brands the Official Paint of the NHL® in the U.S. and Canada. Financial details and terms were not disclosed.

The agreement between the National Hockey League and PPG is being announced in conjunction with this Saturday’s 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ outdoor game between the Pittsburgh Penguins® and Philadelphia Flyers® at Heinz Field, in PPG’s hometown of Pittsburgh. It builds on PPG’s 20-year naming-rights agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins® hockey team for Pittsburgh’s multipurpose arena, PPG Paints Arena. PPG is also the Official Paint Supplier of the Pittsburgh Penguins® team.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship with the National Hockey League and the millions of home-improvement consumers and paint professionals who follow their favorite NHL teams in the U.S. and Canada,” said Bryan Iams, PPG vice president, corporate and government affairs. “The loyal fan base of the NHL aligns with the loyal base of customers for PPG products. This latest PPG brand investment broadens our ability to showcase our product lines that help consumers protect and beautify their world, including the PPG PAINTS™, GLIDDEN® and OLYMPIC® brands, and the SICO® and DULUX® brands in Canada.”

Keith Wachtel, NHL executive vice president of global partnerships and chief revenue officer, said, “We’re honored that PPG has extended its commitment to the sport of hockey through a partnership with the National Hockey League. Partnering with best-in-class paint brands that have an extensive footprint at retail will extend our reach to millions of home-improvement consumers across North America.”

PPG will also receive the opportunity to integrate its paint brands into select NHL premier events. In addition to the NHL Stadium Series at Heinz Field, PPG and its products will be featured at future NHL Stadium Series games and the annual NHL Winter Classic® game. To that end, television and venue audiences will see PPG branding on and around the ice adorning dasherboards, and off the ice in programs, scoreboard features and event-related activities.

As part of the agreement, PPG will have rights to use NHL marks and logos on PPG paint product packaging, on store point-of-purchase displays, in contests and promotions, and through social media and digital marketing in the U.S. and Canada. For hockey fans, PPG is planning a variety of engagement initiatives, including coupons and promotions for its paint products. The company also will participate in an NHL Legacy project through the COLORFUL COMMUNITIES™ initiative, a PPG program that aims to enhance, protect and beautify the neighborhoods where the company operates.

Troy Corp. Names Executive VP & Chief Operating Officer


Troy Corporation announced the election of W. Brian Smith by the Board of Directors to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. In his new role, Smith will be responsible for ensuring operational excellence throughout the organization, including technical, sales, and service functions worldwide. This appointment reflects the companys commitment to growth and expansion into new markets.

"I am honored to take on this new role, and look forward to partnering with senior management to expand Troys business and more importantly, to continue to focus on delivering high quality products, service, and value to our customers," says Smith. A Troy employee since 1995, Smith has held various leadership positions within the company, most recently that of Vice President. His initiatives began with a focus on internal line-function efficiency and later on driving strategic growth. Smith played an instrumental role in Troy’s recent acquisition of the Ashland Industrial Biocides business.

Smith has over twenty years of management experience in the specialty chemicals industry, as well as a deep understanding of the marketplace. "Troy will continue to position itself as a global leader in biocides and performance additives as we accelerate expansion efforts around the world," continues Smith. "Our dedication to innovation, technology, and customer service will continue."

Lonza’s Patent for Zinc Pyrithione in Architectural Paints Upheld by European Patent Office


The European Patent Office (EPO) upheld patent EP 0963291 B1, which is owned by Lonza Group, at a hearing on 6 October 2016. The EPO’s decision can be appealed. Subject to the outcome of an appeal the patent will remain in force until 3 February 2018. Lonza Group has pioneered the use of zinc pyrithione in architectural paints during the last ten years based, in part, on this patented technology.

Zinc pyrithione compounds are increasingly used to protect the surfaces of paints, coatings and other dry films from fungal and algal growth. Lonza’s Zinc Omadine ZOE® Dispersion product, a zinc pyrithione-based product, is increasingly used as a replacement for carbendazim-based products that need to carry enhanced environmental warnings on their labels at normal use levels because of toxicological concerns expressed by regulatory bodies in certain markets.

As a replacement for carbendazim, zinc pyrithione shows a significantly lower toxicological profile when used as a dry film preservative. Moreover, it provides good activity against both fungi and algae, offers long-term protection due to its low water solubility and does not trigger environmental symbol labeling at normal use levels.

In addition to its favorable regulatory and toxicological profile, Lonza’s Zinc Omadine ZOE® Dispersion product has the added benefit of not discoloring in the presence of other metal ions in paint and coatings formulations. This product consists of a mixture containing both zinc pyrithione as the active agent and zinc oxide as a color suppressant, which provides broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity that preserves paints and coatings, extends their useful lives, and deters the growth of fungi and algae on painted surfaces.

“Lonza Group is delighted with the validation of our pioneering technology, which we will continue to protect with further intellectual property filings,” said Ken McMahon, head of Lonza’s Coatings and Composites strategic business unit.

Axalta Supports China Auto Dealers After-sale Service Skill Competition


Axalta Coating Systems hosted the final session of the China Auto Dealers After-Sale Service Skill Competition at Axalta’s Beijing Training Center from Feb. 13-16. Axalta supported the competition by providing products from its premier refinish brand Cromax®, and by developing the competition program. Axalta also assigned painting experts to set the judging criteria and rating scheme, and sit on the judging panels.

The China Auto Dealers After-sale Service Skill Competition 2016 was organized by the China Auto Dealers Chamber of Commerce with the aim of enhancing auto after-sale service in China through recognition of top refinish technicians and quality service in the auto market. The competition covered three key areas: maintenance, sheet metal and paint spraying. High performing technicians were selected from the regional competitions to attend the final session based on a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

“With the rapid growth of China’s automotive industry, the demand for superior quality after-sale products, excellent services and skillful professionals continues to increase. Axalta is pleased to support this program to raise standards in the auto refinish market by showcasing and promoting high-quality refinish solutions and services. The competition also provides a platform for top technicians to present their superior refinish service skills and to promote the healthy and sustainable development of China’s auto industry,” said Leo Zheng, Business Director of Axalta’s Refinish segment in China.

During the competition, all attending technicians used Axalta’s Cromax® products and solutions to perform painting operations. Cromax® enhances refinish efficiency which, in turn, promotes energy conservation and sustainable development in the industry. This generates extra value for a large number of auto dealers and car owners across China.

An award ceremony was held at the Beijing New International Exhibitor Center on Feb. 18 during the China Auto Dealers After-sale Summit.

Orion to Expand Carbon Black Capacity at Norcarb Plant in Sweden


Orion Engineered Carbons S.A., a worldwide supplier of specialty and high-performance carbon black, has announced that it will expand production capacity at its Norcarb Engineered Carbons AB plant in Malmö, Sweden. Debottlenecking of a line will provide additional specialty carbon black to supply the growing fibers, wire & cable and adhesives & sealants markets.

“The expansion of capacity in Malmö is one more step in Orion’s rapid realignment of our portfolio toward higher value added specialty and technical rubber applications,” said Jack Clem, Orion’s Chief Executive Officer. “Products from Malmö will primarily support our customers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. This action is a reflection of the high confidence of our customers in Orion’s products and technical support capabilities.”

In August of 2016, Orion’s French subsidiary, Orion Engineered Carbons SAS reached an agreement to close their facility in Ambѐs, France.

AkzoNobel Adds a Colorful Sparkle to the New McLaren-Honda F-1 Car


Last Thursday, the 2017 McLaren-Honda Formula 1 racing car was launched, and fans caught their first glimpse of the MCL32’s new Tarocco Orange livery – a color developed by AkzoNobel in conjunction with McLaren-Honda.

The company’s color expertise has enabled the world championship winning Formula 1 team to maintain links to their 1960s roots and heritage, while bringing a new image and sparkle. The new Tarocco Orange color provided a striking contrast to matt black and gloss white finish when the new car was launched today at the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre, in Woking, UK.

“Our color and coatings expertise shows up in many unexpected places, even in Formula 1,” said Peter Tomlinson, Managing Director of AkzoNobel’s Vehicle Refinishes business. “We share a passion with McLaren for creating efficient, high performance technology. McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team is known for their iconic livery and the new color will add a new chapter to this, which we are proud to be part of.”

The two companies have been working closely together since 2008, when AkzoNobel first became official supplier of paint solutions to the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team. McLaren-Honda will use the company’s premium Sikkens brand for its Formula 1 cars for the whole of the 2017 season, which starts in Melbourne, Australia, on March 26.

Added Jonathan Neale, COO of McLaren Technology Group: “Since McLaren began its partnership with AkzoNobel, we’ve always been looking at ways to push paint technology to its furthest extent. We’ve already explored the practical limits of chrome finishing, reducing our carbon footprint and reducing curing times. Now, with the McLaren-Honda MCL32, we’re really leveraging AkzoNobel’s colour expertise and technology. The results are stunning.

“We’ve also made significant progress in reducing the average curing time of bodywork parts by more than half, and lowering the paint shop’s carbon footprint by up to 80 percent. We will continue working with AkzoNobel on further innovations as we investigate coating possibilities, both for now and for the future.”

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