Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, Covestro announced that it would continue making MDI at its Tarragona, Spain site and VVT’s new stand-up pouch features bio-based coatings. SpecialChem’s CEO will be a panelist at Société de Chimie Industrielle’s next monthly event and Axalta will showcase its pipeline coating solutions at the NACE Corrosion conference. 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…
I-Tech’s Anti-fouling Coating Shortlisted for GREEN4SEA Award
Gothenburg-based I-Tech, the inventor and supplier of the pioneering anti-fouling agent Selektope®, has announced that the technology has been shortlisted for the 2017 GREEN4SEA Awards in the category recognizing technological achievement, breakthrough or significant contribution to the maritime environment. Now in their second year, the GREEN4SEA awards have already won a place in the maritime calendar by basing their appreciation of environmental excellence and sustainable shipping on a public, online vote hosted on the GREEN4SEA website. This year’s winners will be announced during a welcome reception and award ceremony on the evening of April 4 2017, ahead of the GREEN4SEA Conference, in Athens. “Last year was a breakthrough year for Selektope®, whose contribution to added performance in anti-fouling coatings gained increased recognition due to its ability to save costs through both reducing fuel and hull cleaning requirements, in addition to offering unrivalled static fouling prevention performance,” said Philip Chaabane, CEO, I-Tech.
PPG’s Coatings Protect Centre Vidéotron in Quebec City
The design team of Populous and ABCP Architecture has chosen to celebrate the passion Québécois’ have for winter, ice and snow in Quebec City’s new arena, and selected DURANAR® XL coatings by PPG to bring their vision to life. Fabricated from glass and sculpted metal panels coated in Pure White Duranar XL coatings by local applicator Anacolor, Inc., the curtain wall for Centre Vidéotron draws inspiration from a snowdrift, according to the Populous website. “We aimed to capture the spirit and culture of the city in a truly elegant and sophisticated way by selecting white painted metal panels that are sculptural in form, revealing an organically shaped band of glass in between,” the firm explained. “The pure white color reflects light like snow, as well as offers a blank canvas for projection mapping light shows.”
Tikkurila to Help Paint Finnish Pavilion at the World Expo 2017
More than 100 countries have informed to participate in the Astana Expo 2017. It will be held between June 10 and September 10, 2017. The theme of the expo is "Future Energy" - promotion of sustainable energy and sustainable design. Finland will represent at the Astana Expo 2017 with its own pavilion, carrying the theme "Sharing Pure Energy". Finland will present the Finnish energy efficiency know-how and clean-tech expertise as well as digital solutions, education, health technologies and healthcare through known Finnish brands. Tikkurila is one of the key partners of the Finnish pavilion. At the expo, Tikkurila will promote its sustainable solutions for energy efficiency and a more sustainable living. All the interior and exterior surfaces of the Finnish pavilion will be painted with Tikkurila's surface treatment solutions. The Finnish pavilion, designed by Ateljé Sotamaa, will consist of 5 freestanding buildings made of cross-laminated timber. Each of the buildings has its own interior decoration, atmosphere and story supporting the expo theme.
Société de Chimie Industrielle Invites SpecialChem CEO Christophe Cabarry as Expert Panelist on Digitizing Growth in Chemicals and Materials
SpecialChem’s CEO Christophe Cabarry will participate as an expert panelist at Société de Chimie Industrielle’s monthly event on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at The Yale Club of New York City. Given the major challenges occurring in the chemicals industry on how to accelerate innovation and profitable growth, Société de Chimie Industrielle has gathered an exceptional expert panel to share their views on the topic of "Digitizing Growth: What works in Chemicals and Materials?".
As the CEO and founder of SpecialChem, the Universal Selection Source for Chemicals and Materials, Cabarry brings his expertise from both his contribution to and witness of the digitization of the chemical industry. Since its inception in 2000, SpecialChem now comprises the world’s largest online professional network dedicated to chemicals and materials with over 500,000 members and more than 3 million visitors annually. Cabarry brings more than 17 years of experience in digital marketing in chemicals and materials, having run over 350 new business development programs for more than 70% of the top 100 chemical companies.
Cabarry will be joined on the panel by Yann Cohen, Principal of Monitor Deloitte Strategy and Global Digital Chemistry Leader for Deloitte Consulting. Each speaker will give his perspectives on the digital trends impacting the chemical industry, and how one can explore digital levers to foster innovation and growth, especially in the key growth engines of R&D, marketing and sales. Attendees will come away with perspectives on how to win by leveraging digital technologies. The event will be moderated by James M. Weatherall, Global Vice President at SpecialChem, who also serves as Vice President – Administration of Société de Chemie Industrielle.
Covestro Continues MDI Production in Tarragona
Materials manufacturer Covestro has resolved to continue manufacturing the rigid foam precursor MDI in Tarragona (Spain). The plant closure that had originally been planned for the end of 2017 has been suspended for the time being.
The main reason for this decision was the significant increase in demand for MDI. Furthermore, Covestro has managed to get access to important raw materials – in particular chlorine – for the Tarragona site for the next years beyond the end of 2017. According to current plans, the impact on the employees will be minimized.
“This is good news for the Tarragona site and our employees. Through our continued operations in Tarragona, we want to reliably meet our customers’ growth further on,” said Andrea Firenze, Managing Director of Covestro S.L. in Spain.
The continuous optimization of the production worldwide remains an important element of Covestro’s strategy. The aim is to operate the most efficient facilities when compared with competitors.
“The decision is a clear statement that we remain committed to the MDI market. We will investigate various options for additional MDI to cover the growing demand”, added Markus Steilemann, Head of the Business Unit Polyurethanes and Board Member for Innovation. In this context, Covestro is committed to its plans to increase MDI production at its German site in Brunsbüttel.
MDI is an important component in the manufacture of polyurethane rigid foam, which is amongst other applications used for effective building insulation and along the entire cold chain. The energy savings achieved lead to reductions in CO2 emissions.
Covestro has two locations in Spain that currently employ around 330 people. The Covestro site in Barcelona (Zona Franca) is dedicated to the manufacturing of resins and the production of coatings, textile and fabric treatments, acrylic dispersions and polyurethanes. At the end of 2016, the company announced the incorporation of a new production line of polyurethane dispersion for coating textiles.
At the Tarragona location, Covestro operates an MDI facility, a polyurethane system house and infrastructure facilities that are also available to other companies in the chemical park. In addition, a logistics center for hydrochloric acid will be built here, with an investment of around three million euros.
Huntsman to Close Remaining Operations at its Titanium Dioxide Facility in Calais, France
Huntsman Corporation announced on March 17, 2017 announced a plan to close the white end finishing and packaging operation of its titanium dioxide (TiO2) manufacturing facility based in Calais, France, during the third quarter 2017.
The announced plan follows the 2015 closure of the black end manufacturing operations and would result in the closure of the entire facility. 108 positions on the site will be affected.
The plan to close the Calais white end is structured to allow completion of any remaining obligations to any third parties and regulators.
Simon Turner, President of Huntsman Pigments and Additives division, commented: “The planned closure of the Calais facility further optimizes our manufacturing network and will increase our recently announced business improvement program by $15 million to a total annual benefit of $90 million. Our priority is to communicate with our Calais employees and their representative groups, along with local community leaders, to ensure that the planned closure is safely and effectively managed.”
BASF Selects HPE to Build Supercomputer for Global Chemical Research
BASF SE and Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week announced that the companies will collaborate to develop one of the world’s largest supercomputers for industrial chemical research at BASF's Ludwigshafen headquarters this year. Based on the latest generation of HPE Apollo 6000 systems, the new supercomputer will drive the digitalization of BASF's worldwide research.
“The new supercomputer will promote the application and development of complex modeling and simulation approaches, opening up completely new avenues for our research at BASF,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer at BASF. “The supercomputer was designed and developed jointly by experts from HPE and BASF to precisely meet our needs.”
The new system will make it possible to answer complex questions and reduce the time required to obtain results from several months to days across all research areas. As part of BASF’s digitalization strategy, the company plans to significantly expand its capabilities to run virtual experiments with the supercomputer. It will help BASF reduce time to market and costs by, for example, simulating processes on catalyst surfaces more precisely or accelerating the design of new polymers with pre-defined properties.
“In today’s data-driven economy, high performance computing plays a pivotal role in driving advances in space exploration, biology and artificial intelligence,” said Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “We expect this supercomputer to help BASF perform prodigious calculations at lightning fast speeds, resulting in a broad range of innovations to solve new problems and advance our world.”
With the help of Intel® Xeon® processors, high-bandwidth, low-latency Intel® Omni-Path Fabric and HPE management software, the supercomputer acts as a single system with an effective performance of more than 1 Petaflop (1 Petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second). With this system architecture, a multitude of nodes can work simultaneously on highly complex tasks, dramatically reducing the processing time.
“Customers are always looking for systems that deliver the best performance at the best total cost of ownership,” said Barry Davis, General Manager, Accelerated Workload Group, Intel. “Intel® Omni-Path Architecture is specifically designed to deliver outstanding performance while scaling cost-effectively from entry-level high performance computing clusters to larger clusters with 10,000 nodes or more – offering a significant advantage on both fronts.”
Developed and built with HPE, the new supercomputer will consist of several hundred computer nodes. The supercomputer will also leverage HPE Apollo Systems to give customers simplified administration efficiencies and flexibility to match their solutions to the workload.
Valspar Automotive Begins New Build in Lelystad, Netherlands
The Valspar Corporation announced that its Automotive division has begun a major extension of its Technology Center in Lelystad, Netherlands. Over the next six months, a two-story wing will be added to the existing main building. The new addition will become a dedicated Center of Color Excellence.
The expansion was necessitated by the strong growth of Valspar’s Automotive business, the acquisition of Quest Specialty Chemicals (Matrix Automotive Finishes, Prospray Finishes and U.S. Chemical & Plastics) and Valspar’s ongoing commitment to deliver color excellence to its customers. Over the next few years, Valspar Automotive aims to become the leading specialist in automotive refinish coatings worldwide.
Valspar Automotive champions three core values: color, technology and trust. The new Center of Color Excellence will effectively bring these elements together.
“Valspar Automotive consistently invests in color technology, the optimization of color mixing systems and color matching solutions, which is essential to effectively bring new developments to the automotive market,” said Valspar’s Peter Maassen van den Brink, global technical director, Valspar Automotive. “We aspire to be the leading color provider for our customers, with rapid and efficient color information translated into the right products at the right time.”
Added Paul Goedhart, global director of automotive refinish color technology, “Our technical groups specialize in delivering complex special effects, such as highly-saturated candy effects, three-coat pearls and colors based on color-shift pigments. The market for effect colors has been increasing, and what’s more, OEMs, particularly in Japan, are using new innovative application techniques that are difficult to match with existing refinish applications. There is also a trend to replace gloss coatings with matte finishes and textures. Valspar Automotive is focused on bringing new technical solutions to meet these market needs and help our customers distinguish themselves from their competitors.”
To support this goal, various technical groups will be merged and provided upgraded facilities in the new center: refinish coatings research and development, global color technology and color science. The center will accommodate the team that collects color information from all over the world, which will be stored in an intelligent, unique system for archiving original sprayed color panels at their disposal.
VTT Develops Stand-up Pouches Using Bio-based Coatings
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed lightweight 100% bio-based stand-up pouches with high technical performance. High performance in both oxygen, grease and mineral oil barrier properties has been reached by using different biobased coatings on paper substrate. The pouches exploit VTT's patent pending high consistency enzymatic fibrillation of cellulose (HefCel) technology.
"One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Packaging with efficient barrier properties is a crucial factor in the reduction of the food loss. Our solution offers an environmentally friendly option for the global packaging industry", says Senior Scientist Jari Vartiainen of VTT.
VTT's HefCel technology provides a low-cost method for the production of nanocellulose resulting in a tenfold increase in the solids content of nanocellulose. Nanocellulose has been shown to be potentially very useful for a number of future technical applications. The densely packed structure of nanocellulose films and coatings enable their outstanding oxygen, grease and mineral oil barrier properties.
HefCel technology exploits industrial enzymes and simple mixing technology as tools to fibrillate cellulose into nanoscale fibrils without the need for high energy consuming process steps. The resulting nanocellulose is in the consistency of 15-25% when traditional nanocellulose production methods result in 1-3% consistency.
VTT has solid expertise in various bio-based raw materials and their application technologies for producing bio-based coatings, films and even multilayered structures both at lab-scale and pilot-scale. A versatile set of piloting facilities are available from raw material sourcing through processing to application testing and demonstration.
Archroma Celebrates Opening of Global Competence Center for Surface & Coating Technology
Archroma, a global leader in color and specialty chemicals, has officially inaugurated its new Global Center of Excellence for Surface & Coating Technology. The Center, which opened yesterday, underlines Archroma’s ambition to bring new, innovative solutions to the packaging and specialty paper markets.
The brand new Global Center of Excellence for Surface & Coating Technology is based in Bradford, UK, at the location of Archroma’s application laboratory team for deposit control. It hosts the global product manager for Surface & Coating and a team of application experts, all with close links to Archroma’s Research & Development organization and the sales teams around the globe. Over the last four months, the existing laboratory facilities have been extended and state-of-the-art equipment for application development and measurement have been installed.
This investment emphasizes the commitment by Archroma to bring new technologies in the area of barrier and surface coating to the packaging market. At the opening session, Beate Plueckhan, President Region EMEA, commented on the potential offered by this market: “Especially in the area of food packaging, consumers are looking for safe, convenient and sustainable packaging. This offers many opportunities to market new surface & coating solutions. With its technology and application know-how Archroma is well positioned to participate more intensively in this growing market.”
The new application laboratory will also allow Archroma to quickly run application tests for packaging producers, as well as to develop customized recipes for them.
During the last few years, Archroma has launched several eco-advanced innovations in the area of food packaging. Its solutions are widely accepted in the market and the company is continuing to strengthen its capacities in order to support the segment’s increasing demands.
Examples include: Cartaguard® KST liq: A cationic fluoropolymer providing a strong and long-lasting barrier to grease and water. FDA and BfR approved, Cartaseal® HFU liq: A recyclable wax alternative coating for corrugated packaging and multipurpose water barrier coating. Fluorine-free and FDA compliant. Cartaseal® VWF liq: Extremely flexible water vapor barrier coating imparting grease, oil, fat and solvent resistance. It is a FDA and BfR approved fluorine-free alternative providing complete protection ideal for ream wrap, food and pharmaceutical packaging.
“These products are great examples highlighting Archroma’s ability to provide a specific solution for every individual packaging challenge: be it superior barrier properties to oil, water and water vapor, be it excellent printability, glueability, and heat sealability, or temperature resistance. With the new Center of Excellence for Surface & Coating we will be able to collaborate even more closely with customers,” said Andy Bell, Global Product Manager Surface & Coating. “Safety and sustainability are two areas to which we pay special attention, which is why our innovation pipeline is geared up to provide new food contact approved solutions with a strong focus on recyclability and biodegradability,” added Andy Bell.
LANXESS Invests EUR 100 Million, Primarily in its German Sites
Specialty chemicals company LANXESS continues to target growth. During the next three years, its business unit Advanced Industrial Intermediates will be investing some EUR 100 million in expanding production facilities for chemical intermediates. Around EUR 40 million each will be invested in the Leverkusen and Krefeld-Uerdingen sites in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The rest will be used to expand the facilities in Brunsbüttel (federal state of Schleswig-Holstein), and Antwerp (Belgium). The expansion project is scheduled for completion by 2020.
“Organic growth is a key success factor as new LANXESS heads forward. This investment program accompanies the dynamic development of our customers and their sectors. A high proportion of the planned new capacities is already backed by customers’ orders. At the same time, we are also strengthening our sites, particularly in North Rhine-Westphalia,” said Hubert Fink, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG.
At the Krefeld-Uerdingen site, the plan is to expand production facilities for trimethylolpropane, hexanediol and menthols to accommodate growing demand on global markets. Trimethylolpropane and hexanediol are important for products in the automotive, furniture and construction industries, for example. Synthetic menthol is a key component of many aromas and pharmaceutical products. LANXESS had already started gradually increasing the capacities for these products in recent years. Now the company is planning new expansion measures. Construction work is set to commence during the coming year.
At the Leverkusen site capacity expansion for special amines is scheduled to start this year. Special amines are mainly used as intermediates for further processing and ultimately in the automotive sector.
LANXESS will considerably increase the capacity of the MEA plant at Brunsbüttel in the course of the year and will invest up to EUR 15 million for this purpose. The abbreviation MEA stands for 2-methyl-6-ethylaniline, which is required mainly as a precursor for crop protection herbicides.
At the Kallo/Antwerp site in Belgium, LANXESS will be investing a mid-single digit euro million figure to expand its production capacities for rubber chemicals.
The Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit employs around 2,100 workers and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality industrial chemicals. Aromatic compounds play a prominent role in the product range. The aromatics network forms the core of production and is regarded as the largest of its kind worldwide.
LANXESS’s high-quality intermediates are primarily used in the manufacture of agrochemicals, polymers, paints, coatings and pigments. Further important applications include cosmetics, flavorings, fragrances, fuel additives, lubricants, tires, technical rubber goods and construction chemicals.
The business unit is part of LANXESS’s Advanced Intermediates segment, which recorded sales of around EUR 1.74 billion in fiscal 2016.
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