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Editorial

Evonik Invests in Fumed Silica Capacities, Clariant and Huntsman Present Update on Merger, Azelis Acquires Chemcolour

SpecialChem / Mark Drukenbrod – Aug 3, 2017

Hello and welcome to your late week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, Axalta opened a training and product development center in Western Australia and Dow announced that they will build a silicone and organic chemistry innovation center in Midland. INEOS Phenol announced that it will build a cumene plant in Germany and Praj Industries and Gevo formed a JV for renewable bioproducts. 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…

Evonik Invests in Fumed Silica Capacities in Belgium


Evonik has invested an amount in the upper double-digit million euro range in the expansion of its fumed silica capacities in Antwerp, Belgium. The production complex is scheduled to become operational in the summer of 2019. Typical applications of these specialty silica, which Evonik markets under the name AEROSIL®, include coatings and paints, modern adhesive systems, transparent silicones as well as non-flammable high-performance insulation materials. “This investment is a good fit for our strategy to concentrate more on distinct specialty chemicals businesses and to gradually create a more balanced portfolio," says Christian Kullmann, Chairman of the Evonik Executive Board. Silica are part of “Smart Materials”, one of Evonik’s four strategic growth engines with above-average market growth and margin potential.

Clariant and Huntsman Present First Update on Planned Merger of Equals


Clariant and Huntsman Corporation have presented a first update on the planned merger of equals to keep their shareholders informed. The preparations to create HuntsmanClariant are showing continued strong progress and are proceeding as planned with an unchanged closing targeted for December 2017 / January 2018. Huntsman have agreed on a joint strategic direction for near- and long-term value creation based on continued focus on higher growth and higher margin businesses, expansion of existing strong downstream presence, reaping benefits of complementary product portfolios and breadth of reach to deliver an additional organic sales revenue growth of around 2% p.a. at approx. 20% EBITDA margin and delivering synergies in excess of $400m as well as the $25m tax savings. The merger brings together two strong specialty chemicals businesses with similar EBITDA margins at 17.2% (including synergies). It will reap complementarity benefits between Performance Products, Care Chemicals and Natural Resources, which represent approx. 35% of HuntsmanClariant combined sales and hold a comprehensive surfactants portfolio in high-end niche markets globally.

Azelis Acquires Chemcolour, Expands Market in Australia & New Zealand


Azelis has agreed to fully acquire Chemcolour. Chemcolour is a provider of specialty chemicals and food ingredients in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). The company employs a highly knowledgeable team of 90 people, who will all transfer to Azelis. The acquisition strengthens and positions Azelis among the top distributors in ANZ. Chemcolour is well positioned in the local markets and has shown steady growth over the years, both in specialty chemicals and food ingredients sectors. The company has built a strong portfolio of globally established suppliers due to its solid values, technical expertise and innovative, problem-solving approach. Dr Hans Joachim Müller, Azelis CEO, commented on the deal, “Australia and New -Zealand are wealthy countries with a growing population and rich in natural resources. The fact that the fundamentals of the countries positively contribute to the strength of Chemcolour’s business, makes this acquisition a great platform to extend mandates with our existing, global principals into Australia and New Zealand.”

FTC Approves Final Order on Sherwin-Williams and Valspar Merger


Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order resolving concerns that the acquisition of the Valspar Corporation by The Sherwin-Williams Company would likely allow the new company to exercise unilateral market power in the North American market for industrial wood coatings. These coatings are used to manufacture wood items such as furniture, kitchen cabinets and other building products.

As announced in May 2017, the order requires Sherwin-Williams to divest two Valspar industrial wood coatings plants – one in High Point, North Carolina and the other in Cornwall, Ontario – to Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. Axalta will also acquire certain Valspar research and development facilities, warehouses and testing facilities, as well as customer contracts, intellectual property, inventory, accounts receivable, government licenses and permits and business records.

The Commission vote approving the final order was 2-0. (FTC File No. 161 0116)

PPG Brochure Celebrates 50 Years of DURANAR Coatings


PPG has published “The Gold Standard in Architectural Metal Coatings: Celebrating 50 Years of DURANAR® Coatings,” a 16-page brochure commemorating the 1967 introduction of one of the industry’s first high-performance polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) coatings for metal building components.

According to Brian Knapp, PPG director, coil and building products, the booklet illustrates the historical significance of Duranar coatings.

“Our PVDF coating was one of the first products that enabled architects to design metal components and facades with color,” he explained. “Until we introduced Duranar coatings, anodized aluminum was virtually the only metallic option trusted to provide long-term performance on monumental buildings. It wasn’t until Duranar coatings were specified for several major projects that architects and building owners felt comfortable considering color finishes as a design option for metal.”

Over the past half-century, Duranar coatings have been specified by renowned architects to protect and enhance some of the world’s most recognized architectural landmarks. Buildings profiled in the brochure include the Empire State Building in New York, Shanghai Tower in China, The Louvre Pyramid in Paris, and Centre Videotron in Quebec City.

Other prominent landmarks finished with Duranar coatings include One World Trade Center in New York; Shanghai World Financial Center in China; Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

The brochure is organized by building type—skyscrapers, landmarks, convention centers, transportation facilities, libraries and sports venues. Each building profile includes photographs, location, approximate opening date, the selected Duranar coatings color and the architect’s name.

In addition to publishing the brochure, PPG will highlight Duranar coatings in trade-show displays throughout the year and offer special customer promotions and giveaways. A dedicated web portal—duranar50.com—features images and descriptions of other landmark buildings finished with Duranar coatings, as well as articles, white papers and additional educational materials.

Dow’s To Build New Innovation Center in Midland


On July 31, Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, announced that the Company will begin construction of a new, $100 million Innovation Center designed to drive innovation at the intersections of silicone science and organic chemistry at the heritage Dow Corning corporate campus.

The new facility will host approximately 200 research and development employees who will explore future technologies at the intersections of silicone chemistry and Dow’s unparalleled knowledge of materials science and organic chemistry. Dow, which started exploring silicone chemistry nearly 80 years ago upon creating the Dow Corning joint venture, enhanced its ability to combine these technologies after completing the ownership restructuring of Dow Corning in June, 2016.

“This is a monumental day for Dow, our employees and for Michigan as it marks another tremendous milestone in our company’s more than 120 year history,” said Liveris. ”This world-class facility could have been located anywhere and we chose to invest right here in Michigan because both the U.S. and the state have a growing and vibrant research, development and manufacturing sector creating new opportunities every day.”

The new innovation center will be a key enabler in Dow achieving its initial $100 million growth synergy target, as well as more than $500 million of additional Dow-enabled bottom-line growth the Company now expects to achieve across the enterprise from integrating silicones into the Dow portfolio. This bottom-line growth, coupled with Dow’s latest cost synergy target of more than $650 million, greatly enhance silicones’ profitability. Dow now expects EBITDA to increase to more than $2 billion by the end of 2019 – more than double its initial projection.

This added R&D power will complement the work of Dow’s more than 1,200 researchers and developers already based in the Great Lakes Bay Region, to focus on market opportunities such as advancing technologies for home and personal care products, enhancing and broadening Dow’s energy-saving building technologies, advancing materials science for critical infrastructure and driving closer partnerships with customers and value chain leaders.

These investments further illustrate Dow’s long-term commitment to investing and growing in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, as the Company also celebrated today the grand opening of its new global headquarters building in Midland - a state-of-the-art, 184,000 square-feet, six-story building that will host approximately 470 employees and contractors.

During the last 10 years, Dow and its regional development partners have driven more than $400 million of investment and downtown economic redevelopment in the Great Lakes Bay Region, home to the Company and nearly 13,000 of its employees and contractors.

Dow has created more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the United States in the last four years alone. A significant portion of that job creation is the result of the Company’s more than $6 billion of manufacturing investments currently underway on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which employed 7,000 construction workers at the construction peak and will result in 500 full-time Dow jobs. Dow recently announced a next phase of strategic investments spread over the next five years, extending Dow’s U.S. growth investments to more than $12 billion over a 10-year period. These will support job creation in the U.S., reaching approximately 3,500 construction jobs and creating 200 full-time technical, vocational and professional careers, further supporting nearly 2,000 jobs across the broader economy.

INEOS Phenol Plans Cumene Unit in Germany


On Friday, July 28, INEOS Phenol announced it is planning to build a world scale Cumene in Germany with planned start up in 2020.

The construction of a new cumene plant will support customer demand improve the security of raw material supply to INEOS phenol and acetone plants located in Gladbeck and Antwerp.

INEOS Phenol is the world largest producer of phenol and acetone and the largest consumer of cumene, which is an essential raw material. This investment reinforces its commitment to its customers across its world markets.

The company has confirmed that the unit will use Badger cumene technology and a full study of investment options is to be completed by the end of 2017.

“Our plan to invest in our own world scale cumene plant with best in class technology shows a clear commitment to our European Phenol sites and our business” said Hans Casier, CEO of INEOS Phenol. “We expect a full study of investment options will be complete by the end of this year.”

“INEOS Phenol already owns and operates one of the world’s largest single train cumene plant at its Pasadena site in Texas, which uses Badger proprietary technology. We are delighted that INEOS Phenol has also chosen us for this new and exciting project.” said Dana Johnson, President of Badger.

Omya to Expand Sylacauga Plant


Sylacauga's Omya plant is planning an expansion, with construction to begin this summer.

The company recently announced the expansion, which will "serve the growing polymers and packaging markets," according to a news release.

There were no details released on the size or cost, which should be fully completed by 2019. The plant is located on Sylacauga Fayetteville Highway and has been in existence since 1992.

It produces fine calcium carbonate filler and coatings grades for paper and packaging manufacturers, and treated products for the paint and plastics industries.

Omya was founded in Switzerland and has 180 locations in 50 countries. Its North American operations are based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Axalta Coating Systems Opens New Training Center in Western Australia


Axalta Coating Systems has recently opened a new training facility in Bentley, Perth, Australia. The center will become the key training destination for refinishers from the Western Australian region, focusing on the use of Axalta’s refinish and industrial products to help maximize refinishers’ skill-sets and keep them up-to-date with latest technology and techniques.

The new training center, was initiated to help customers and business partners in the Western Australia avoid having to travel vast distances, often up to 4,000km. It provides easy access to world class product and consultancy training programs that address business and product requirements, sharpening customers’ competitive edge.

“Axalta’s new Western Australian training center highlights our commitment to supporting our customers,” said Paul Polverino, Axalta’s National Training Manager. “Our new training facility focuses on commercially-oriented training that drives process optimization, so that body shops can be more efficient and productive, while maintaining the highest possible repair quality and maximizing their business performance.”

Located south of Perth, on the premises of Axalta distributor Global Autocoat, the 400m2 training center is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, tools and layout. It has two training rooms with the latest audio/visual equipment, two mixing rooms, a functional production planning room, two dry sanding floors and an adjoining color study. Two spray booths, one down draft and one down draft with GAS IR Arch, with full-length glass walls optimize the un-restrictive viewing capability for training application techniques and demonstration, as well as the latest waterborne drying technology. They also include special climate control settings so training can replicate varying temperature conditions commonly found in the different regions of Western Australia.

“By providing advance training techniques of our refinish and industrial brands - Standox®, Spies Hecker®, Cromax® and Nason® Industrial – we will ensure the best usage and application of our products, color tools, and the latest in coating technologies, including waterborne basecoats,” Polverino added.

Sherwin-Williams Commits to Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab


Sherwin-Williams, through its Industrial Wood Coatings Division, formalized a $300,000 investment in the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL), the Colorado national training center teaching the next generation of wood manufacturing tradesmen and women.

The investment was formalized during a ceremony in the Sherwin-Williams booth at the AWFS Fair, attended by Dennis Karnstein, president and general manager, Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood Coatings Division; Dean Mattson, director, Peyton Woods Manufacturing, and founder of the MiLL; Timothy Kistler, superintendent, Peyton School District; and Scott Campbell, superintendent, Widefield School District 3. The presentation included a $30,000 commitment for 2017 activities.

Opening in Colorado Springs, Colorado in August 2017, the 46,000-square-foot MiLL will offer classes to primary and post-secondary students in the Peyton and Widefield School Districts, industry personnel and members of the military. Its curriculum will center on hands-on education that uses machines and technologies the students will encounter on the job.

“The MiLL provides a fantastic opportunity for students to master the skills that will launch their trade careers with unparalleled access to industry-leading educators and equipment,” said Dennis Karnstein. “There is no greater way to support our mission to grow the success of the wood industry than to ensure our future leaders have the best tools and knowledge.”

AkzoNobel Appoints Canadian Manager for Refinish Products


AkzoNobel has appointed a new Canadian country manager for its Vehicle Refinishes business. Sylvain Seguin, an employee at AkzoNobel since 2004, takes on the role after most recently serving as AkzoNobel’s regional sales leader for Performance Coatings Vehicle Refinishes.

In his new role, Seguin is responsible for developing and executing sales strategies in the Canadian marketplace and leading the team to deliver results. With the promotion, he also is a member of the North American Vehicle Refinishes management team.

“The Canadian market is extremely important to AkzoNobel,” said Doug Holmberg, business director for AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes North America. “We are fortunate to have a history of strong leadership in Canada thanks to Sylvain’s predecessor, Dave Smith, who recently transitioned to become East market regional sales leader in the United States. Sylvain reported to Dave and proved himself as a strong results-driven leader, and we are looking for him to continue his success in his new position.”

In addition to regional sales leader, Seguin also served as key account manager and district sales leader in previous roles at AkzoNobel. He also represents the organization as an active member in many Canadian industry associations and business groups.

Sadara Brings First Saudi Polyols Plant On-stream


Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara), the largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase, has successfully started up the Kingdom’s first Polyols plant. This manufacturing facility produces specialty chemicals that go into the production of polyurethanes and specialty foams.

The polyols plant is one of the last of Sadara’s 26 chemical facilities to start up. It is also one of Sadara’s 14 facilities that will produce specialty chemicals never before produced in Saudi Arabia.

Commenting on the announcement, Sadara CEO Ziad Al-Labban highlighted the added value that Sadara brings to the Kingdom, saying, “Sadara has long been identified as a Game Changing player in the petrochemical arena in the Kingdom and the region. The Polyols facility will enable manufacturers in Saudi Arabia to obtain the specialty chemicals needed for a broad spectrum of applications. This will help create new industries domestically as well as generate enormous job opportunities for the Kingdom’s young professionals.”

Sadara has two Polyol trains which use propylene oxide and ethylene oxide to produce multiple grades of polyether polyols. The products are used in a broad range of industrial applications, including the production of specialty foams for trim and seating applications, TDI molding and formulating systems, noise/vibration/harshness molding, flexible molding, high-resiliency molded foams and more.

Siegwerk Teams Up with Brand Owners for Innovative Optimal Packaging Solutions


Siegwerk is offering its packaging expertise and creativity skills to brand owners and converters who are looking for outstanding packaging designs improving their impact at the point of sale (PoS). With this service Siegwerk aims to further shape the future of packaging. It can be considered as the company’s innovation factory to identify optimal packaging solutions.

It’s all about combining individual design ideas and functional demands of brand owners with the technical requirements of packaging converters and the necessary compliance with existing regulations for packaging inks. Siegwerk offers brand owners brainstorming, feasibility and technical setup studies with the goal to pave the way for the final realization of any jointly developed packaging idea.

Vice President of Business Units Tobacco, Sheetfed and Brand Owner Business at Siegwerk, the goal of his department, Sebastian Specht described: “Our Brand Owner Business offers brand owners the possibility to directly discuss packaging trends, regulatory efforts and new ink developments with one of the leading ink manufacturers. Based on exchanges about design ideas, material requests as well as functional and technical needs we are able to trigger joint R&D projects to bring innovative packaging ink solutions to life.”

Siegwerk strongly believes in a network approach covering an open and direct exchange between all three parties: brand owners, converters and ink manufacturers. This three-way communication enables active discussions and helps to get the most out of all packaging applications.

Global Head of Brand Owner Business at Siegwerk, Dr. Thomas Boucoiran said: “We always appreciate the openness and trust of all of our customers. Our job is to fulfill the individual needs and to support our customers’ success with innovative ink solutions to finally strengthen the differentiation of their packaging at the PoS.”

Increasing competition for consumer awareness at the PoS leads brand owners to develop extraordinary and attractive packaging and label designs. Packaging is much more than just providing information, it is key for food protection, convenience and functionality. Packaging creates brand awareness by its ‘look and feel’ and therefore plays a significant role in attracting consumers.

Dr. Boucoiran added: “New packaging requirements of brand owners and converters also have an impact on inks and varnishes. New substrates and design effects as well as novel ways of packaging drive the need for innovative ink solutions. That’s why an early and open exchange with brand owners and converters is a win-win situation to all three parties. When we as ink manufacturer concretely understand what brand owners need, we can either better support our customers with state-of-the-art ink solutions or drive our R&D efforts towards a specific direction to make the packaging idea feasible and ensure high quality solutions on a global level.”

In the packaging market, there is a steady increase in regulatory efforts worldwide that is driven by stringent regulations like for example the Swiss ordinance. Also large global brand owners have introduced own policies based on current regulatory requirements. Product safety is the most important and challenging aspect in packaging.

Dr. Boucoiran said: “We’ve successfully performed several Brand Owner INKdays and innovation workshops. We received a very positive feedback and the INKday provided great opportunities to share creative ideas and look at new future innovations. We have already gathered very interesting ink development ideas that are already considered in more detail by our technology and R&D teams.”

Praj & Gevo Form JV for Technology Development of Renewable Bioproducts


Praj Industries Ltd and Gevo, Inc. have unveiled a new commercial opportunity in renewable bioproducts, jointly announcing that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugar cane juice and molasses at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology taking place in Montreal, Canada.

This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugar cane and molasses feedstocks.

A Joint Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement were entered into between Praj and Gevo in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was for Praj to adapt Gevo’s isobutanol technology to using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology development was performed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.

In the first phase of development, Praj worked with Gevo’s technology using sugar cane and molasses feedstocks, undertaking test-runs in order to develop a process design package that will now be offered for commercialization to cane juice and molasses-based ethanol plants, as licensees of Gevo’s isobutanol technology. Licensing is expected to be focused on Praj plants located in India, South America and South East Asia, with initial capacity targeted to come on-line in the 2019/2020 timeframe.

Chief Executive Officer of Gevo, Dr. Patrick Gruber said: “We are pleased with the work that Praj has done in adapting our technology using cane juice and molasses as feedstocks. Praj is a great partner who shares our vision of low carbon fuels made from sugars in high yields. Praj has a massive footprint across the world. We look forward to working with Praj to license the technology out, leveraging their access and capabilities.”

Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman, Praj, added: “We are excited to offer this technology to our global customers who stand to benefit from an additional revenue stream from isobutanol. Praj has worked on 750 projects for ethanol plants across 75 countries. This isobutanol platform can be offered as ‘bolt-on’ to an existing ethanol plant or as a greenfield plant. This isobutanol technology is the latest addition to Praj’s diverse product portfolio and reinforces our organization’s leadership in the bioenergy space.”

Gevo is expected to be the primary off-taker, marketer and initial distributor for isobutanol produced from the plants built by Praj that use Gevo’s isobutanol technology.

In the next phase of commercialization, Praj is working to adapt Gevo’s technology to Praj’s 2nd generation bio-refineries, enabling the production of isobutanol from lignocellulosic biomass.

In other news, LyondellBasell has announced the final investment decision to build a propylene oxide plant in the Houston area. The project is estimated to cost approximately $2.4 billion. PO is used in the...more about this

Merck has opened its new application laboratory for Performance Materials business. The TANC helps to integrate pigments in waterborne coatings, automotive and architectural coatings. The new...more about this

Axalta has made a binding offer to acquire the European and Chinese operations of IVA. IVA’s portfolio consists of wire enamels including top coats for industrial and automotive applications...more about this

And finally, BASF presented a case study on the use of its scratch-resistant iGloss® clearcoat. iGloss clearcoat technology improves scratch resistance and appearance by more than 25 percent. iGloss repairs...more about this

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