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Bronze Cognis Innovation Award for Waterpoxy® : new ecologically friendly epoxy coating systems

Published on 2005-01-28. Author : SpecialChem

In today's society, no business can afford to ignore environmental issues. On the one hand, consumers are increasingly demanding that the products they buy be environmentally friendly and of low toxicity, while on the other, ever stricter legislation on environmental pollution and product safety is being enacted all over the world. In response to customers' more demanding environmental requirements, the Functional Products Business has developed its Waterpoxy range of water-based epoxy coating systems designed to outstanding concrete and metal protection. Cognis has now recognized the achievement of the team responsible for three new environmentally friendly high-performance products by giving them its Bronze Innovation Award, worth 10,000 euros.

Conventional epoxy resins are two-component systems, in which both the resin and the curing agent are solvent-borne. New environmental regulations place severe restrictions on the use of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in coatings, which is a problem for manufacturers, as neither epoxy resins nor conventional curing agents are water-soluble. Until recently, there were only a few water-based alternatives to solvent-borne epoxy coating systems available for low-thickness and high-thickness flooring applications. However, the Cognis Waterpoxy range now provides a solutions for these applications: Waterpoxy 1455, an epoxy resin, Waterpoxy 751 and Waterpoxy 760, both hardeners.

Water-based epoxy coating systems for corrosion protection and civil engineering

Waterpoxy 1455 is the solid epoxy resin emulsion in water. Waterpoxy 751 is a water-dilutable solvent-free curing agent for protective coatings as well as for civil engineering, that is virtually amine-free. The biggest advantage of Waterpoxy 751 is its versatility, which allowed to formulate primers, coatings and also medium thickness self leveling floorings. Waterpoxy 1455 is used with Waterpoxy 751 as an anti-corrosive curing agent, an application for which its combination of fast drying times and excellent protective properties make it particularly suited. The new Waterpoxy 760 curing agent is used in high-thickness (>2,0 mm) flooring applications.

Cognis Waterpoxy range enables manufacturers to comply with the European Council directive on solvent emissions. As well as the environmental advantages of their reduced VOC content, Waterpoxy coating systems also deliver a range of other practical benefits. Because they are solvent-free, Waterpoxy products:

  • are non-flammable/non-explosive
  • have a low free-amine content, significantly reducing the health risk to production workers and craftsmen
  • enable equipment to be cleaned with water (instead of a solvent, as is the case with conventional coating systems)
  • can be thinned with water
  • can be applied direct to wet concrete
  • are water breathable.

Improved manufacturing process

The basic manufacturing method for waterborne epoxy coatings involves incorporating hydrophilic fragments into the resin and the curing agent. These fragments enable manufacturers to turn the solid resins into PIT dispersions, and enables the curing agents to emulsify even untreated liquid epoxy resins and disperse additional fillers. Waterpoxy 760 uses a new polymerization technique first described by Cognis, called Phase Inversion Polymerisation (PIP). This inverts the epoxy emulsion from an O/W to an W/O emulsion during the polymerization and curing process, so that when the oily outer epoxy layer hardens, the water cavities it contains prevent shrinkage. Moreover, it delivers much better overall curing performance at low temperatures. Comments project team: "The three Innovation Award-winning products represent a major breakthrough in waterborne epoxy technology for civil engineering applications. We are now the technology leader in this market, and are able to satisfy even the most stringent demands."

The Cognis Innovation Award

Global specialty chemicals company Cognis believes innovation is the key to the long-term success for any business, and it was this insight that led to the creation of the company's annual Innovation Award in 2001, which recognizes the success of teams that have achieved outstanding results for Cognis and its customers through their performance, commitment and creativity. This year's Gold Award and 25,000 euros in prize money has been awarded to "CLA products with high isomeric purity for animal feed and human nutrition", while the Silver Award, worth 15,000 euros, has gone to "Gluadin WLM - the wheat microprotein with depth effect".

About Cognis:

Cognis is a worldwide supplier of innovative specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients. As at September 30, 2004, the company employed about 8,100 people, and it operates production sites and service centers in 30 countries. Cognis has dedicated its activities to a high level of sustainability and delivers natural source raw materials and ingredients for food, nutrition and healthcare markets, and the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries. Additionally, Cognis provides solutions for a number of other industries, such as coatings and inks, lubricants, textiles and plastics, as well as agriculture and mining.

Cognis is owned by private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners, and SV Life Sciences. In 2003, Cognis recorded sales of 2.95 billion euros and an Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and exceptional items) of 312 million euros.

Source: Cognis

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