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Huntsman Expands PU Business with Purchase of IFS Chemicals, BASF & UC Berkeley Extend Research Collaboration, Flint Group Starts-up Global Innovation Centre

SpecialChem / Mark Drukenbrod – May 9, 2017

Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. In industry news since last issue, Axalta opened its headquarters office for India and PPG will discuss automotive coatings technologies at the FOCUS Conference. Wanhua Chemical has opened its N.A. MDI Technical Center and Merck KGaA will work with Schmid Rhyner AG to commercialize its virtual embossing 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…

Huntsman Expands PU Business with Purchase of IFS Chemicals

Huntsman Corporation has announced that it has completed the acquisition of IFS Chemicals Limited (IFS), one of the UK’s leading independent formulators of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) based systems. The purchase price was not disclosed. Located in Kings Lynn, England, IFS was established more than 35 years ago and its customized MDI systems are used in a diverse range of end markets, including insulation, appliances, automotive and elastomeric applications. Commenting on the acquisition, Tony Hankins, President of Huntsman’s Polyurethanes division, said: “With their highly experienced team and loyal customer base, IFS provides us with excellent access to the UK’s growing downstream MDI systems market. It will serve as a strategic platform to expand our business and consolidate our position as a market leader.”

BASF & UC Berkeley Extend Research Collaboration

Many scientific discoveries and patent applications have resulted from more than 25 research projects underway since West Coast universities and BASF established the California Research Alliance (CARA) by BASF in 2014. This multidisciplinary collaboration headed by the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) conducts research on new inorganic and other advanced materials, biosciences and their applications. To mark three years of CARA researchers working alongside BASF counterparts, members of these universities, guest professors, students, and BASF have convened for an Anniversary Symposium, April 24-25, 2017, at UC Berkeley to address recent research advancements. During the event, leaders from UC Berkeley and BASF announced a five-year extension of the CARA collaboration at a signing ceremony.

Flint Group Starts-up Global Innovation Centre for Inks

Flint Group has opened a Global Innovation Centre (GIC) in Malmö Sweden. A new normal is now established in the industry where the highest standard of service and support for packaging printers is now a reality. At the center of this facility is Flint Group’s new 8-station SOMA printing press equipped with the latest web handling and both water-based and UV printing capabilities. Kim Melander, VP Sales EMEA & Global Strategy Paper & Board for Flint Group, says this, “We are extremely proud to announce this next achievement for our Paper & Board packaging inks business. The center has been specially designed to focus on the development of products that will shape the future of Paper & Board printing. “The investment in our new state of the art SOMA printing press is a significant milestone and a clear demonstration that we are fully committed to invest in our industry and support our customers’ growth through an innovative development workflow.”

On Your Coatings Radar: Crayola Introduces New Color Based on Really New Pigment

On your coatings radar for this issue, we update you on a new application for a new pigment developed recently in conjunction with Oregon State University, a happy accident that hits the sweet spots of a distinctive color, durability and economy – and it is non-toxic.

Crayola announced on Friday that YInMn blue, which was discovered by Oregon State University Mas Subramanian and his team in 2009 while experimenting with materials for electronics applications, is being added to its iconic box of crayons.

YInMn blue gets its name from the elements yttrium, indium and manganese.

The new blue replaces Dandelion, the color Crayola retired from the box in March. The company said in a news release that the color blue topped the list as a fan favorite to replace Dandelion.

“We are a company all about kids, creativity and color, so we strive to keep our color palette innovative and on trend," Crayola CEO Smith Holland said in a statement. "The new blue crayon color will help Crayola to continue to inspire kids and kids at heart, to create everything imaginable."

The pigment forms in such a way that red and green wavelengths are absorbed, and light reflects back only blue. It's super-durable and stable and does not fade. Also, because of this unique structure, it can be used on buildings and roofs to keep them cool by reflecting infrared light.

And none of the pigment ingredients are toxic, though we're not suggesting you use them as a food ingredient.

"The more we discover about the pigment, the more interesting it gets," said Subramanian in the press release. "We already knew it had advantages of being more durable, safe and fairly easy to produce. Now it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency."

The pigment, in its non-crayon form, is available from Shepherd Color Company.

Axalta Opens New India Headquarters to Support Future Growth

Axalta Coating Systems opened its new headquarters office for India located in Gurugram within the National Capital Region (NCR) yesterday. The new location will also house an Axalta Global Business Resource Center which will provide a variety of services to the company’s operations in the region and around the world.

The 35,000 square feet facility will enable Axalta to integrate its corporate office and other key country business functions within a single office leading to improve efficiency and business process management. The opening follows Axalta’s plant expansion plan in India announced in 2015.

“We are very excited to see another significant investment support our future growth in India,” said Robert Bryant, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Axalta Coating Systems, who officially opened the facility. “The new face of Axalta in India has been designed with Axalta’s global standards in mind and enables our company to showcase its commitment to both long-term growth and customer support in the market.”

Axalta’s business in India serves customers in the transportation OEM, refinish and industrial sectors of the economy. According to the World Bank, India’s economy overall is projected to grow by 7.2 percent in the current fiscal year, up from 6.8 percent in 2016. The auto industry has started to show strong growth with a CAGR of approximately 7 percent over the next five years. In line with original equipment sales, the local car parc is also expected to grow and lead to increased demand for Axalta’s refinish products with leading brands such as Cromax®, Standox®, Duxone®, Lucite®, and Nason®. Sales of Axalta’s industrial coating products such as AquaEC™ and Voltatex® are poised to take advantage of infrastructure expansion.

“As a key emerging market, India continues to be a focal point in Axalta’s growth plans in the Asia-Pacific region. With our new headquarters, Axalta has taken the next step in establishing itself as a leading coatings supplier in India to better meet the future requirements of its customers,” said Sobers Sethi, Axalta Vice President and President, Emerging Markets.

Axalta established its India business in 1996, and today operates a manufacturing plant in Vadodara within the state of Gujarat along with offices and regional training centers in Gurugram, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Vadodara, and supports an extensive product distribution network across the country.

Wanhua Chemical Opens Technical Center to Expand its MDI Business

Based in Yantai Shandong Province PR China, Wanhua Chemical is one of the largest and most competitive MDI producers in ADI market. Since the sales company established in Philadelphia in 2006, Wanhua constantly adhere the concept of “Customer First” and “Customer orientation”, lead the market share in stepped and solid increase. Wanhua has become a major and one of the leading suppliers in N.A urethane and CASE industry.

In order to better serve and demonstrate its commitment to local customer, Wanhua has launched the N.A. Technical center project in parallel with the 400kt MDI manufacturing project in 2013. This tech center is positioned as regional customer service base and will be utilized primarily for local customers’ troubleshooting, recipe adjustment and sample property analysis. Wanhua will take the advantage of U.S abundant talent and research resource, explore the potential talent training, joint research collaboration with local academic and research institutes.

Wanhua invited more than 80 persons from MDI and ADI key partners, local stakeholders to participate in this opening ceremony. During the ceremony, Mr. Gil Staley, the CEO of The Woodlands Economic Development partnership, express his welcome to Wanhua to join the community and willing to communicate more cooperation regarding contribute to local community.

The SVP&CTO of Wanhua, Dr. Weiqi (Carl) Hua, gave a short speech about Wanhua’s milestone, global presence and future development strategy and emphasized Wanhua has deployed solid R&D resource worldwide and this tech center will be a significant footprint for Wanhua to achieve its ambitious goal in U.S.
Wanhua will keep moving forward its 400kt MDI production project and target to put into operation by the end of 2020. Dr. Howard Ding and Jacob Sturgeon, the heads of Performance Chemical BU and N.A. sales company, expresses that they appreciation the customer’s constant support respectively and look forward to co-development and co-growth with them.

Eastman Speaks on Sustainable Resins for Auto & Industrial Coatings

Eastman has developed a new coatings technology that provides both superior performance and sustainability advantages. Tetrashield™ protective resin systems show significant improvements in weathering and a better balance of hardness and flexibility when compared to traditional resins used in industrial and automotive coatings.

Attendees of the Future of Coatings Under Study (FOCUS) Conference in Troy, Michigan, will get an overview of this new technology during a presentation on Thursday, May 4, from 3:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Dr. Linqian Feng, an advanced research scientist in coating application development at Eastman Chemical Company, will explain how Tetrashield improves the weatherability, appearance, and scratch resistance of automotive coatings.

Tetrashield provides appearance improvements and extend the life of coatings. It can enable OEMs to achieve a 10-15 percent reduction in VOCs creating a potential 10-15 percent increase in throughput.

Eastman has a long track record of building customer relationships and developing innovative coatings ingredients that help its customers solve tough industry challenges. The company’s table at FOCUS will provide additional information on our line of materials for automotive coatings. Conference attendees are invited to stop by the Eastman table to learn more about Tetrashield and other automotive coating technologies.

PPG Earns 2016 John Deere Supplier of the Year Award

PPG announced last week that it was named Supplier of the Year and earned recognition as a Partner-level supplier in the John Deere Achieving Excellence Program for 2016. Partner-level status is Deere & Company’s highest supplier rating.

PPG earned the honors in recognition of its dedication to providing electrocoat (e-coat), liquid and powder coatings, and pretreatment chemicals products and service of outstanding quality to John Deere’s global operations, as well as its commitment to continuous improvement. PPG representatives Viktor Sekmakas, executive vice president; Shelley Bausch, vice president, global industrial coatings; Andrew Carroll, global technical and product management director, industrial coatings; and Jill Buckley, global John Deere account manager, industrial coatings, accepted the awards on behalf of the company.

Suppliers who participate in the Achieving Excellence program are evaluated annually in several key performance categories, including quality, cost management, delivery, technical support and wavelength, which is a measure of responsiveness. John Deere Supply Management created the program in 1991 to provide a supplier evaluation and feedback process that promotes continuous improvement.

Dow’s U.S. Apprenticeship Program Receives U.S. Department of Labor Registration

The United States Department of Labor has formally recognized The Dow Chemical Company’s U.S. Apprenticeship Program as having approved National Standards of Apprenticeship. As an industry leader in the apprenticeship space, with over 40 years of successful apprenticeship programs across Europe, it has been Dow’s intent to obtain the U.S. Department of Labor registration for its U.S. program.

“We are honored to receive this U.S. Department of Labor recognition, further evidence that our Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program is successfully advancing Dow’s vision of increasing the availability of highly skilled technical workers to support business growth and advance skill development in manufacturing and engineering,” said Andrew Liveris, chairman, and chief executive officer of Dow, who was appointed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to lead the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, which has the goal of increasing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. “With Dow’s vast experience and leadership in workforce training we’re sharing these ideas with the Trump Administration and demonstrating the opportunity we have to scale national programs to create a 21st century workforce. This focus on workforce training is essential to creating a growing and vibrant U.S. manufacturing sector.”

Launched in 2015, the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program offers a pathway to manufacturing careers through both formal education and on-the job training. This program is among a portfolio of apprenticeship programs within Dow which support STEM education and Dow’s STEM career pathways. The program has already grown to just under 100 apprentices at seven sites across four states - Michigan, California, Texas, and Louisiana - with projections of reaching 130 by the end of 2017 with continued expansion expected.

The journey to today’s implementation of the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship program began in 2013 with the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0 Steering Team. Dow’s Liveris co-chaired this team along with Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within one year, the team produced the Employer’s Playbook for Building an Apprenticeship Program, co-authored by Dow, Alcoa and Siemens. This same year, Dow piloted the U.S. Apprenticeship program, with the first wave of apprentices hired in 2015. Also in 2015, Dow began to participate in ApprenticeshipUSA activities. ApprenticeshipUSA is a Department of Labor initiative focused on doubling the number of registered apprenticeship programs by 2019.

“Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for the public and private sectors to partner in a meaningful way and to prepare the next generation of Americans for tomorrow’s high-skilled, high-paying advanced manufacturing careers. Through the Dow U.S. Apprenticeship Program, we are building our workforce of tomorrow and strengthening our global competitiveness,” said Johanna Soderstrom, chief Human Resource officer, corporate vice president Human Resources and Aviation.

PPG Earns Metal of Honor Supplier Recognition from Metal Roofing Magazine

PPG last week announced that it was named a “Metal of Honor” winner by Metal Roofing magazine, after readers selected the coatings company as one of the top industry suppliers of 2016. In an annual survey of the magazine’s 26,000 readers, respondents ranked PPG in the top 10 percent of companies that provide products and services within the metal roofing supply chain.

Brian Knapp, PPG director, coil and building products, said the recognition is especially gratifying because it is based on feedback directly from industry customers. “There are hundreds of companies involved in the metal building and roofing industries, so it is a privilege to be among the small number chosen as ‘the best’ by satisfied customers.”

PPG manufactures a full range of premium DURANAR® liquid and powder fluoropolymer coatings for metal roof applications. Products include Duranar ULTRA-COOL® and color-shifting Duranar VARI-COOL® coatings, which are available in more than 250 dark, medium and light colors to meet cool roof requirements established by the LEED®, ENERGY STAR® and Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC®) programs.

Last year, PPG introduced DURASTAR® ULTRA-Cool coatings as a value-focused alternative to Duranar ULTRA-Cool coatings. Combining PPG’s newest polyester coating technologies with pigment and primer systems developed for premium Duranar coatings, Durastar ULTRA-Cool coatings achieve high levels of weatherability, durability, and color and gloss retention. They also are available in a wide range of dark, medium and light colors registered or certified to industry-accepted cool roof standards.

The Metal of Honor program was created by editors of Metal Roofing magazine to give readers the opportunity to honor suppliers that consistently provide quality products and great service.

Water-based Inks Lead to Higher Eco-efficiency, Finds BASF’s Analysis

BASF’s water-based resins for inks and adhesives in flexible packaging are an economically compatible and environmentally friendly alternative to solvent-based technologies.

This is the result of a recently completed Eco-Efficiency Analysis conducted by BASF and based on previous Eco-Efficiency Analysis for water-based printing inks for flexible packaging in 2009 as well as data from a recent EEA for adhesives in 2016. The study considers a broad range of environmental categories of the final product and its raw materials (cradle-to-grave) ranging from climate change and resource depletion to water over-fertilization.

The BASF Eco-Efficiency methodology was validated by NSF International while the results of the study were critically reviewed by DEKRA as an independent third party. The outcome of the EEA demonstrates that water-based inks and adhesives lead to a higher eco-efficiency than solvent-based inks and adhesives. The main driver of environmental differences among the alternatives is the production of inks and solvents.

The analysis showed that solvent-based inks and adhesives perform worse in all impact categories which is mainly due to the environmental impact related to the production of the organic solvent for use in the printing process, ink raw materials and adhesive production.

Furthermore, the EEA demonstrates that a shift from solvent-based inks and adhesives to water-based technologies will allow a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents) of up to 15 %. This reduction of the carbon footprint is of increasing importance for brand owners and converters.

Water-based technologies also have a positive impact on health and working place safety. “As water-based inks and adhesives contain neither organic solvents nor aromatic isocyanates, production risks are reduced to a minimum”, says Ulf Neidlein, Vice President Business Management Resins & Additives Europe. “They offer a great improvement in industrial safety and are therefore an important step towards more sustainable and safer solutions for flexible food packaging.”

The results of the EEA reveal that solvent-based inks and adhesives have the highest overall costs, due to a high volume of required solvents. “Conversion to water-based systems will result in reduced investment and maintenance costs since solvent incineration or recovery will not be required anymore”, adds Jürgen Pfister, Vice President Dispersions for Adhesives & Fiber Bonding Europe. “Furthermore, the overall production time for our customers can be significantly reduced with water-based adhesives as converters can laminate and deliver within one day.”

An industrial printed and converted flexible packaging exclusively produced with water-based technologies and therefore benefiting from the advantages proven in the EEA will be exhibited at Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf from May 4-10 at booth 43, hall 10.

US EPA Recognizes AkzoNobel Business in Safer Choice Program

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced AkzoNobel’s Surface Chemistry business as a 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year. The business was recognized for its role in proactively advancing the safer chemistry and safer product goals of the EPA Safer Choice program.

The Safer Choice program evaluates the environmental and human health impacts of every chemical ingredient in a product. The EPA chooses Partners of the Year in five categories; AkzoNobel was selected in the “Innovators” category.

The Surface Chemistry business recently unveiled an innovative ingredient for cleaning products, Berol® DR-B1,which caught the attention of the EPA due to its sustainability benefits, according to AkzoNobel Technical Service and Product Development Manager Butch Dery.

Berol DR-B1 is categorized as a direct-release surfactant, meaning that it passed very stringent requirements to be approved by the EPA for direct release into the environment. Customers can therefore use it for a wide range of outdoor applications where very low environmental impact is a priority, such as cleaning of mass transit vehicles, car washes, or cleaning of house exteriors and garden furniture.

“The recognition from the EPA is an important validation of AkzoNobel’s efforts to make safer and more sustainable products for our customers,” Dery said. With AkzoNobel’s inclusion as an EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year, products that include Berol DR-B1 can carry the EPA Safer Choice Label. This indicates that the EPA has evaluated a product and determined it contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class, he added.

The EPA will recognize AkzoNobel at the 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards on May 15, 2017.

Huntsman Announces Public Filing of Registration Statement for Proposed Initial Public Offering of Venator Materials

Huntsman Corporation announced Friday that Venator Materials, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huntsman, has publicly filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) for a proposed initial public offering of its ordinary shares. Once separated from Huntsman, Venator will own Huntsman’s Titanium Dioxide and Performance Additives businesses. Venator’s products comprise a broad range of pigments and additives that bring color and vibrancy to buildings, protect and extend product life and reduce energy consumption.

All the ordinary shares to be sold in the offering will be offered by Huntsman, as selling shareholder. The date, number of ordinary shares to be offered, and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. The offering is expected to commence in 2017, subject to, among other things, completion of the SEC review process and suitable market conditions.

BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as a lead book-running manager in the proposed offering.

The registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the SEC has not yet become effective and the ordinary shares to be registered may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time when the registration statement becomes effective. Copies of the registration statement can be accessed through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

The proposed offering will be made only by means of a prospectus.

Axalta Opens Americas Technology Center for Next Generation Coatings Development at Michigan Facility

Axalta Coating Systems held the grand opening event of its Americas Technology Center (ATC) located at its Mount Clemens, Michigan manufacturing and research complex. Reflecting Axalta’s commitment to innovation and performance, the ATC will provide product research and development resources dedicated to customers across the Western Hemisphere as one of the company’s four principal global technology centers.

The ATC project was an 18-month endeavor to transform and expand existing laboratory space and spray facilities. Axalta scientists, chemists, and engineers will develop the next generation of coatings products for light vehicle, commercial vehicle, refinish, and industrial customers throughout the Americas. Previous R&D conducted at the facility principally served the light vehicle segment in North America.

“As a strategic part of Axalta’s global network of technology centers, the ATC will combine our global expertise and research resources with local talent and market knowledge across the Americas,” said Barry Snyder, Axalta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “This new space adds new capabilities to aid the Axalta team in further advancing our coatings technology to increase the durability of coatings, enhance customer productivity and, of course, provide beautiful colors. Michigan is home to nearly 400 automotive research and development centers, and we are proud to count our Americas Technology Center among them.”

In other news, with its latest innovation in football footwear, PUMA has set new standards in design, precision and comfort. Topaz-DOTS, the coating technology from Trans-Textil, is based on INSQIN® waterborne PU...more about this

SolarWindow has successfully completed of freeze/thaw performance testing necessary for the commercialization of its coatings. SolarWindow™ modules were subjected to more than 200 freeze/thaw...more about this

Merck KGaA will work together with Schmid Rhyner AG, to develop and commercialize its virtual embossing (VE3D) technology. It is a patented process...more about this

And finally, Flint Group has received 2017 FTA Technical Innovation Award for EkoCure® ANCORA, a UV LED low migration ink. The ink combines groundbreaking technology of UV LED curing along with low migration...more about this

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