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Coatings Ingredients
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Coatings Ingredients

High Jetness Coatings Drive New Carbon Black Developments: An Interview with Birla Carbon

SpecialChem – Oct 3, 2019

TAGS:  Powder Coatings      Automotive Coatings   

Alessandro Vulcano We interviewed Birla Carbon’s Alessandro Vulcano, Global Segment Director, Coatings. He shares his opinion on coating industry trends and the impact on new carbon black development.

Let's take a look...

1. What coatings industry trends and challenges impact carbon black use and development?

AV: The top two trends are ultra-high jetness and fit-to-purpose pigment selection. These are driving development of new specialty carbon blacks. Improving dispersion and stability for liquid and powder coatings is an evergreen challenge. Of course, cost optimization is a constant need for all applications and regions.

Ultra-high jetness is not a new trend. It originated from the automotive industry quite a few years ago. Both end users and automotive coating producers strive for the ultimate black coatings. They want to achieve that “luxury”, higher quality differentiation. High-end industrial applications also want ultra-high jetness. Industrial applications examples could include appliances or consumer electronics materials.

Fit-to-purpose addresses the replacement of over-engineered and often higher-cost carbon black. Often, coating producers will opt for a highly engineered carbon black grade instead of optimizing their formulations to improve color performance. Improving dispersion and stability has an underestimated impact on color performance.

Coatings producers need to be flexible to improve their formulations to achieve higher color performance out of the pigment and even to save processing time. And, of course, this can be supported by carbon black suppliers with a deep understanding of formulation science.

In a recent webinar, we presented the specifics of pigment selection, formulation changes and dispersion time and how these factors can be managed to meet requirements for any particular color target.

High Jetness For Coatings

2. How is Birla Carbon adapting to meet these needs?

AV: These market needs are really driving our innovation work and our market approach. We want our customers to know us as a responsive solution provider. Our customers look to us for new developments but also rely on our existing best in class products.

Our teams are focusing on building formulation expertise and increasing customer collaboration. We are investing in the development of new products that are problem-solving solutions.

Birla Carbon has already launched new products this year. And we will offer the next generation of ultra-jetness carbon black solutions starting early next year. We are very excited by the first lab results! We are seeing ground-breaking improvements in jetness.
Consumer Appliances and Automotive Products

3. Can you share more about your new product launched this year?

AV: We launched Raven 5100 ULTRA Powder at the European Coatings Show. This is our first innovation for higher jetness with an improved formulation cost/performance ratio.

  • It provides the same best-in-class color of our Raven 5000 family.
  • Plus, it offers significant optimization potential in waterborne coatings.

This launch strengthens our benchmark position in OEM and Refinish Coatings.

4. Can you share where Birla Carbon stands on their sustainability initiatives today?

AV: I would like to quote Birla Carbon CEO, Dr. Misra, “Sustainability isn’t a fashion for us – it’s a long-term commitment. It is the leader of the hour and is not driven by regulations but by heightened business and customer awareness. Thus, we’re in partnership with customers to understand their needs and concerns. Our employees continue to make better products and cleaner technologies that are safer for our customers.

At Birla Carbon, sustainability is our constant aspiration. Every decision is influenced by our Sustainable Operational Excellence (SOE) strategy: from how we design and run our plants, to how we interact with our customers, our suppliers and local communities.

Birla Carbon was the first carbon black supplier to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment and was recognized by EcoVadis, the leading sustainability rating agency, with a Gold rating for advanced sustainable practices for the third consecutive year. More details on our sustainability can be found on our website.

5. What is your 2020 outlook for carbon black in the coatings market?

AV: We expect an increase in demand for fit-to-purpose pigments in 2020. This will be especially true in Asian countries like China and India. The trend continues towards fit-to-purpose solutions at better cost structures. The market demands locally produced formulations for local players in industrial and automotive applications.

Carbon black for Automotive Coatings

Further, we expect an accelerated growth in the powder coatings segment.

  • Carbon black improves end-product performance and is being used in more application fields. Environmental requirements and technology improvements drive the speed in this powder coatings segment.
  • Birla Carbon supports these powder coating formulators as they strive to achieve higher quality. Their goal is to achieve color that is comparable to liquid colors. This becomes possible with improved dispersion of carbon black.

6. Any last thoughts to share with us?

AV: Coating formulators should watch for our ultra-jetness product launches next year. We will announce them on SpecialChem and feature them in our technology center. We also welcome any questions or requests for technical discussion. We can be reached through SpecialChem » Contact Birla Carbon.

 »  Click Here to Download Raven 5100 ULTRA Powder Datasheet!

 »  Explore Carbon Black Technology Center by Birla Carbon!

About Alessandro Vulcano

Alessandro Vulcano joined Birla Carbon in 2017 as Global Segment Director Coatings. He has 24 years of supply chain, marketing and sales experience in both silica and carbon black, much of which has been devoted to the application of carbon black in various types of coatings. He is based at the Birla Carbon Headquarters and Technical Center in Marietta, GA USA office since 2018 after relocating from Frankfurt, Germany. As part of his role, he is working on identifying actual and future customer requirements and initiating the related development work at Birla Carbon.

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