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AkzoNobel Makes Major Acquisitions, Ferro to Increase Ultramarine Pigments Capacity, Evonik Forms New Crosslinkers Business Line

SpecialChem / Mark Drukenbrod – Jul 11, 2017

Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business is investing about Euro 20 million to increase production of expandable microspheres and HMG Paints has partnered with AGM to develop and commercialize graphene coatings. TCI developed a special red powder coating for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Bodo Möller Chemie Group will offer Huntsman products in Israel. 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 Makes Major Acquisitions

AkzoNobel has announced the acquisition of UK-based Flexcrete Technologies Ltd and an agreement to acquire French manufacturer Disa Technology (Disatech). The deals will further strengthen AkzoNobel’s global leadership position in supplying innovative industrial coatings and aerospace and automotive coatings. Flexcrete Technologies manufactures products primarily used for the protection and repair of concrete substrates. Disatech supplies innovative adhesive films used in the aerospace, transportation and industrial equipment sectors. Headquartered in Limoges, the company specializes in the manufacture of self-adhesive vinyl, polyester and polycarbonate films used on aircraft, vehicles, agricultural machinery and other equipment, and is the leader in aerospace technical marking systems. The deal will bring new technologies and services that complement AkzoNobel’s existing portfolio of coatings and films for aerospace and transport sectors.

Ferro to Increase Capacity of Ultramarine Pigments

Ferro Corporation has announced it is making investments in its Ferro Pigments business to increase capacity and optimize production of its Ultramarine pigments product lines. “As a global leader in Ultramarine pigments, we are committed to meeting growing demand for our products and enabling the success of our customers through continuous innovation, supply of high-quality products, and through superior technical support and service,” said Matthias P. Bell, Vice President, the Americas and Color Solutions. “This comprehensive program will be implemented globally over the next 18 months, with immediate focus on increasing capacity for high-grade product lines and optimizing production by early 2018.” In addition to increasing capacity, investments will focus on equipment and technology upgrades supporting environmental/health/safety, quality, and future product development objectives.

Evonik Brings Crosslinkers & Epoxy Curing Agents Under One BU

Evonik Industries AG combines its isophorone chemistry and epoxy curing agents business in the new Crosslinkers Business Line. The newly formed Business Line, headed by Min Chong, will be part of the Resource Efficiency Segment. With the acquisition of the Air Product's epoxy curing agents business and Evonik's long-time experience in isophorone chemistry, Evonik has a very broad technology platform and expertise in crosslinker technology. The new Crosslinkers Business Line offers a broad range of products and competences for coatings and adhesives, civil engineering as well as for high-performance elastomers and composites. “Combining both businesses to one new unit gives Evonik the chance to offer a variety of products for epoxy and polyurethane applications under one roof now – be it basic amines, isocyanate monomers, polyisocyanates or formulated epoxy hardeners”, Dr. Claus Rettig, Chairman of the Board of Management, Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH.

On your Coatings Radar: Elliott Advisors Renews Bid for AkzoNobel UEM

A couple of weeks ago we noted for our readers that Elliott Advisors had taken an additional large stake in AkzoNobel and asked in passing that you “stick a pin” in that fact for future reference. On Friday, July 7, US-based hedge fund manager Elliott Advisors launched a renewed bid to oust the chairman of AkzoNobel. The activist investor, which now owns 9.5 percent of shares in the company, said it had filed a petition with an Amsterdam court asking it to order an urgent extraordinary shareholders' meeting.

The first attempt by Elliott to convene such a meeting was thrown out by the Dutch Enterprise Chamber -- a specialized division of the Amsterdam Appeals Court which rules on corporate issues -- in a preliminary ruling in late May.

Elliott’s purpose for the meeting is once again to try to oust AkzoNobel chairman Antony Burgmans, who it saw as the main obstacle to the takeover of Akzo by Pittsburgh-based PPG earlier in the year. Elliott said it has now filed papers before the Interim Relief Court, which is part of the Amsterdam District Court, to get a new ruling.

Elliott said it has "irretrievably lost confidence in the ability of the current chairman and supervisory board to guide AkzoNobel in a manner which benefits all stakeholders," adding that it already called on April 10 for an extraordinary shareholders meeting "with significant shareholder support" but that AkzoNobel denied the request. In June, AkzoNobel stepped-up its shareholder communications and once again stands firmly behind their chairman.

The case is set to continue but could still take months, unlike the latest filing before the Interim Relief Court which could come before the court in a matter of weeks.

AkzoNobel Increases Capacity for Expandable Microspheres

AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business is investing more than €20 million to increase production capacity in Sweden for its Expancel product line for expandable microspheres.

Increasing demand for the product – an essential ingredient in many consumer goods, industrial applications and the construction industry – means the company will expand its Stockvik facility near Sundsvall. Completion is expected by the end of 2018.

“Expancel microspheres are used in a number of important growth markets, such as food packaging, paints and the automotive industry,” says Sylvia Winkel, Director of Expancel at AkzoNobel. “We are seeing a strong increase in demand for the product and the expansion will ensure our ability to serve our customers globally.”

Expancel consists of expandable, microscopic spheres comprising a thermoplastic shell encapsulating a gas. When heated, they expand dramatically – up to 60 times in volume – making them ideal for a variety of uses, such as insulation in shoe soles or as filling material. The number of applications for microspheres is growing all the time, particularly for products where weight is critical, such as cars and wind turbines.

“We continuously develop new solutions to fulfil new and exciting customer needs,” adds Winkel. “For example, we worked with key customers to introduce microspheres to corks, allowing better preservation of bottled wine. Another niche growth market is the use of microspheres in porous ceramics, such as for diesel particulate filters in trucks, which lead to lower emissions.”

Added Thierry Vanlancker, AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee member responsible for Specialty Chemicals: “This is an important strategic investment which will support our customers and strengthen our leadership position in this market. The increasing demand mirrors the growing trend towards more sustainable and smart solutions, and with Expancel, we can contribute to the cost-effective development of innovative products which are lighter and more durable.”

HMG Paints Partners to Develop & Commercialize Graphene-based Coatings

HMG Paints has partnered with Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) to develop and commercialize Graphene containing coatings for a variety of industries.

HMG is combining its coatings experience with Graphene and product integration expertise of Applied Graphene Materials. The newly developed products will possess specifically enhanced characteristics. The products can be applied for a number of coatings applications.

Following an initial stage of controlled environment testing, which produced some extremely positive results, the two companies are now testing their product in a real world environment. Tests will focus on the application of Graphene based coatings in both the Commercial Vehicle and Construction Equipment markets.

Jonathan Falder, Head Technician of the HMG Graphene Project said: “We’re delighted with how our initial testing has gone and have now progressed to life trials in the environments they’d ultimately be used in.”

“We’ve found AGM’s Graphene dispersions to integrate well using conventional processes and seen some significant performance gains from our own testing of commercial products. We are moving onto full scale trials and commercial launch as we believe that these benefits can add real value to our customers.”

Bodo Möller Chemie to Distribute Huntsman’s Chemicals in Israel

The Bodo Möller Chemie Group has established a branch in Tel Aviv. Bodo Möller Chemie will offer the product range of Huntsman Advanced Materials.

These includes, among others, base resins on epoxy basis, formulated systems and special components. "Israel is a high-tech location and there is great demand for specialized solutions in many complex industries. A suitably qualified team on site is needed to provide advice and handling, "says Frank Haug, CEO of the Bodo Möller Chemie Group.

The product portfolio is addressed to companies in the adhesives and electronics sector as well as users of coating systems. The main focus is on the aviation and aerospace industry and the processing of composite materials.

For qualified on-site consultancy, four established regional specialists are starting work for the Bodo Möller Group in the new office in Tel Aviv. Under the supervision of Frank Haug, Jürgen Ihrybauer will coordinate the team in Israel as Managing Director.

In addition to modern office space, the team also has spacious storage areas to provide customers with fast and proper service. With its new location, the Bodo Möller Chemie Group is expanding its international business in the Middle East. In the long term, Israeli customers will benefit from further products and an expanded raw material portfolio.

PolyOne Acquires Mesa Industries

PolyOne Corporation last week announced the acquisition of Mesa Industries, a North American producer of color and additive materials and services.

Founded in 1990 and privately-owned, Mesa produces both solid and liquid colorant technologies and operates two facilities located in Phoenix, Arizona and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Mesa serves a diverse range of end markets including packaging, consumer products and outdoor equipment.

"Our color and additives offerings continue to expand, and we're very excited that Mesa is the latest addition to our leading portfolio of solutions," said Robert M. Patterson, chairman, president and CEO, PolyOne Corporation.

"Mesa is our fourth specialty color acquisition in the last eight months," Mr. Patterson said. "We continue to focus on these successful bolt-on opportunities where we can invest to grow, leverage our service and innovation expertise, and collaborate across all our PolyOne businesses."

“Our recent portfolio actions are representative of the momentum we have and will continue to build upon as we accelerate specialty growth," Mr. Patterson added. Along with the recent acquisition of Rutland and the announced divestiture of Designed Structures and Solutions, the company plans to discuss Mesa in more detail on its second quarter investor call.

PPG to Host Free Seminar on Newly Revised UL Fire Standard

PPG protective and marine coatings (PMC) business will host “Is Your Specified Fireproofing Ready to Meet the UL 1709 Changes?” a free educational seminar addressing the new UL standard in passive fire protection (PFP). The event will be held on July 13 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Westin Houston, Memorial City hotel in Houston, Texas, USA.

Richard Holliday, PPG global director, PFP, and Juan Pablo Leon, PPG manager, PFP Americas, will be joined by two other industry experts to examine revisions to UL 1709, as well as fire hazards, recent fire-related incidents and guidelines for proper design and specification of fireproofing.

“UL 1709 5th Edition represents some of the biggest changes in the market,” said Pablo Leon. “It’s vital for oil, gas and petrochemical facilities and engineering, procurement and construction firms to thoroughly understand these changes and learn the best solutions to meet these new requirements.”

Other presenters are Fred Hervey, UL global business manager, building and life safety technologies; and Graham Boaler, principal consultant, MMI Engineering.

Seminar attendees will be eligible to earn continuing education units (CEUs) from AlChE, a leading global organization for chemical engineering professionals.

UL 1709 5th Edition, which went into effect on Feb. 24, 2017, incorporates changes in durability testing in accordance with UL 2431/Class 1A testing of horizontal members, multi-section and multi-temperature testing and certification, as well as ISO 22899 (Determination of the resistance to jet fires of passive fire protection materials).

Flint Group Launches New UV LED Sheetfed Process Ink

Continuing the pioneering trend; first to market with new technology and breakthrough sheetfed ink formulations, Flint Group last week announced the global launch of its latest version UV LED process inks, XCURA EVO.

“EVO” is short for evolutionary,” explains Trevor Amps, Global Product Management Director for Energy Curing inks. “This signals a step change from our world renowned XCURA formulations which, for the past four years, have served our customers very well as an industry leader. XCURA EVO is our next generation offer to the UV LED and low energy sheetfed market, and we are very pleased to announce its global launch today.”

“More and more sheetfed press manufacturers are heading their technology development with LED and low energy curing, and we see growing numbers of retro-fit conversions from lamp providers and OEMs as well,” stated Mr. Amps. “Some of the main drivers encouraging commercial printers to switch to UV LED are improved efficiency, reduced energy costs and the ability to break into new markets. XCURA EVO helps to maximize all of these with its excellent flow characteristic, superb transfer and high gloss.”

Based on the new and unique energy curing “Platform Technology” that premiered in May 2017 with UltraCURA® Sens Low Migration process inks and bases, XCURA EVO is created out of the new advanced resin technology system, which delivers increased stability and performance consistency.

“We’re very pleased with the number of improvements we’ve achieved with “Platform Technology.” revealed Dario Zarantoniello, UV Inks and Coatings Technical Manager who managed field trials of the new inks. “We tested EVO on all the main presses and many formats, straight and perfecting, with and without IPA, highest production speeds and quality standards and we drew critical comparisons against our existing products and all of our main competitors. The customers noted better gloss levels, exceptional colour strength and sharper dots. They also commented on much better stability, as production speeds increased, offering tangible efficiency benefits.”

“XCURA EVO is the second global launch this year to be created with these unique formulations,” Mr. Amps tells us. “As well as all the improvements Dario just mentioned, one more main impact from EVO is the low waste generated thanks to excellent transfer properties on all substrates. Add to this the fact that all Flint Group sheetfed energy curing products are compliant with current raw material exclusion lists, National and International regulations and manufacturing best practice, as laid down by advisory bodies, such as the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA), and the result is a very positive, sustainable product offering in our latest energy curing product range. Considering we are the only manufacturer offering just one product for both UV LED and the low energy systems, I think we’ve come up with an excellent new product that will prove to be a real winner!”

Researchers Develop New Ceramic Coating for Hypersonic Travel

A new type of ceramic coating has been developed by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK, which is expected to significantly change hypersonic travel for air, space and defense purposes.

Co-developed in partnership between the university’s Royce Institute and China’s Central South University (CSU), the newly developed carbide coating is capable of resisting temperatures up to 3,000°C.

The new coating has also proved to be 12 times better than the existing ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTC), such as Zirconium carbide (ZrC), an extremely hard refractory ceramic material commercially used in tool bits for cutting tools.

University of Manchester Regius professor Philip Withers said: “Future hypersonic aerospace vehicles offer the potential of a step jump in transit speeds. A hypersonic plane could fly from London to New York in just two hours and would revolutionize both commercial and commuter travel.

“But at present, one of the biggest challenges is how to protect critical components such as leading edges, combustors and nose tips so that they survive the severe oxidation and extreme scouring of heat fluxes at such temperatures cause to excess during flight.”

“Future hypersonic aerospace vehicles offer the potential of a step jump in transit speeds."

In addition, CSU’s Powder Metallurgy Institute has manufactured the coating’s structural make-up and features, which include improved resistance against heat and oxidation.

The coating’s features and structural make-up were studied at the University of Manchester’s School of Materials.

While developing the coating, researchers used a process called reactive melt infiltration (RMI), which considerably reduces the time needed to make such materials, and has been in reinforced with carbon-carbon composite (C/C composite).

The process has made the material strong and extremely resistant to the usual surface degradation.

Two New Categories Announced for 2017 BCF Awards

The British Coatings Federation (BCF) recently announced that entries for their 2017 Awards are now open. New for 2017, the BCF have introduced the Young Leader of the Year Award which will recognize an exceptional individual under the age of the age of 35 within a BCF member company who has proved to be an effective, innovative, and impactful leader. A second new addition for the year, is the Corporate Social Responsibility Award which will be presented to a BCF member company which has clearly demonstrated an outstanding or successful charity or CSR campaign across any aspect of social responsibility.

The BCF Awards are an opportunity to showcase organizational brilliance and celebrate the achievements of BCF members and the students from their Coatings Training Institute (CTI). The winners will be announced on Thursday 23rd November at the Cranage Estate, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.

The full list of awards categories are as follows:

Sustainable Innovation Award, sponsored by Veolia
Customer Service Award, sponsored by Bulk Meter Services
Excellence in Training Award, sponsored by Cogent skills
Young Leader of the Year Award – New for 2017, sponsored by Fenton Packaging
Corporate Social Responsibility Award – New for 2017
Student of the Year Award, sponsored by Synthomer
Coatings Care Progress Award
Coatings Care Overall Best Performer Award

The BCF Awards are free for BCF members to enter. The deadline for submission is Friday 29 September. Entry forms and further information is available the BCF.

Spain Takes Initiative for Research on Graphene-based Inks & Coatings

The collaboration between Spanish companies, technology centers and research organizations has enabled the implementation of a new research initiative in the field of graphene for the development of new industrial applications with high added value and advanced properties.

The project GRAPHOS is led by the company of specialty chemicals CROMOGENIA and has the participation of ANTEX, ARZUBIALDE, BECSA, ELIX POLYMERS, MAIER, NANOINNOVA and POLYMEC.

It kicks off with the ambitious aim of achieving the incorporation of graphene and carbonaceous nanostructures in a broad range of polymeric matrixes. In this way, it is expected to achieve the integration in different products with advanced functionalities and improved physical-mechanical properties.

In particular, the project GRAPHOS focuses its activity in the automotive, plastics, paints, Inks (and coatings,) construction, textile and electronics industries markets.

In this way, four out of the eight large sectors where developments in graphene and carbonaceous nanostructures are expected to have a higher impact: energy aerospace, automotive, biomedicine, coatings, composites, sensors, electronics and defense.

The consortium GRAPHOS covers the value chain from production and functionalization of graphenes and carbonaceous nanostructures to the development of thermoplastic matrixes and thermosetting matrixes according to GRMs (Graphene and Related Materials) until the integration in final product of acrylics, polyester, polyurethane, polypropylenes, SBS, SAN and ABS.

Besides, the consortium relies on four technology centers with recognized prestige in the plastics, textile and chemical sector with an extensive experience working with nanomaterials and carbonaceous materials, AIMPLAS, AITEX, CIDETEC and LEITAT and three prestigious public research bodies in the field of research and characterization of nanomaterials, what will provide technical-scientific support to the participant companies in R&D tasks: CSIC ICMM, CSIC IMM and UPC.

The project is funded by the program CIEN, co-funded with ERDF funds with a budget of EUR 7,200,022.00 million and a grant of EUR 5,400,016.50 million in a period of four years

Green Biologics Obtains REACH Certification, Targets European Market

Green Biologics has announced that it has received REACH certification, a regulation of the European Union that promotes protection of human and environmental health from risks posed by chemicals.

By registering with REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals, Green Biologics is now able to supply Europe with larger bulk quantities of its bio-based n-butanol.

The company has also obtained pre-registration for its bio-based acetone and various derivatives, allowing it to ship up to 100 tons of these chemicals to Europe through June 1, 2018. This achievement underlines Green Biologics’ commitment to embracing a global view on customers and business. It also enables the company to solidify its long-term position as a supplier to customers and markets in Europe.

“Although Green Biologics’ first manufacturing site is based in North America, as the only producer of bio-based n-butanol and acetone in the world there are a wide range of opportunities for our products to be adopted across Europe as replacements to their traditional petroleum-based counterparts,” said Sean Sutcliffe, Chief Executive at Green Biologics. “Europe will be a key growth market for our company and the REACH registration of our n-butanol will help us navigate the many complex regulatory requirements associated with importing chemicals into the region.”

AkzoNobel Adds Golden Touch to China’s High-speed Train

China’s latest generation of high-speed trains is creating a colorful golden blur across the country after AkzoNobel’s color expertise was called upon to create a special custom coating.

The company’s Vehicle Refinishes business had less than two months to develop a bold new look for the sleek Fuxing CR400BF, which has been dubbed the Golden Phoenix (fuxing means rejuvenation).

Capable of a top speed of 400km/hour – while using 17% less energy than previous models – the new gold version features AkzoNobel’s coatings both on the body and the interior. It’s one of only two Fuxing trains to have been launched so far, although China has plans for mass production in the future.

“We are honored to have been involved in the Fuxing project and help bring a new generation of high-speed trains to the people of China,” said Kevin Liu, Business Director of AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes in North Asia. “The project reflects our ability to meet the highest technical standards while providing essential color and protection for the country’s transport network.”

The debut of the Fuxing underlines China’s status as the world leader in high-speed train technology. Adopting a more elegant look and feel and smooth body design, the new model has also been designed to be more passenger-friendly.

AkzoNobel has been working with China’s high-speed train manufacturers since 2005 and the company’s products are widely used across the country’s urban transport network. Past projects include coating eight metro lines in Shanghai and various other major cities.

“As a market-leading supplier of coatings to the entire industry, we pride ourselves on meeting customer needs and requirements, no matter how challenging,” added Kevin Liu. “We are dedicated to supporting innovative transport solutions that make people’s lives more livable and inspiring.”

The special golden metallic coating supplied by AkzoNobel represents a first for China, as previous high-speed train models featured more neutral colors. The new product will ensure that the Fuxing is kept in perfect condition in all weathers – and at all speeds.

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