The material selection platform
Coatings Ingredients
The material selection platform
Coatings Ingredients

Getting to Know Omya: A Leading Supplier of Lightweight Fillers

SpecialChem – Oct 25, 2021

An Interview with David Gonzalez Amago, Global Application Development Manager for Lightweight Fillers at Omya

Omya's Lightweighting Fillers/MicrospheresOmya is a leading global producer of industrial minerals – mainly derived from calcium carbonate, dolomite and perlite – and a worldwide distributor of specialty chemicals. The company provides a wealth of innovative product solutions that contribute to its customers'​ competitiveness and productivity in multiple industries such as Construction, Paper & Board​, Polymers​, Food ​an​d Personal & Home Care.

Omya further provides Environmental Solutions targeting the agriculture, water and energy markets. Committed to implementing the principles of sustainability at all company levels, Omya provides added value products and services from responsibly sourced materials to meet the essential needs of current and future generations.

The ComfortBoost technology inspired by Omya offers a unique portfolio of lightweight fillers to the construction industry. It will support approaches to reducing the weight of products while enhancing properties and adding value in the reformulation of existing recipes.

Let us hear directly from David Gonzalez Amago, Global Application Development Manager at Omya, to understand more about the features of Omyasphere, a unique family of lightweight fillers (perlites and hollow glass microspheres) used in diverse applications.

#1 - What is Omya’s positioning in the world of fillers and lightweight fillers?

Omya is a global leader in Calcium Carbonate products and other industrial minerals, offering comprehensive and innovative solutions to enhance our customer's products and processes. Based on selected minerals and proprietary process technology, Omya offers a unique portfolio of lightweight fillers (based on closed-cell expanded perlite and hollow glass microspheres) to the broader construction industry (e.g., paints & coatings, plasters, renders, joint compounds, adhesives & sealants, concrete & mortar, and polymeric based materials).

Besides the key functionality of reducing weight, Omya's lightweight solutions bring additional benefits to customers' end products through enhanced application and comfort properties, such as improved insulation, reflecting, cooling, or sound dampening properties.

Applications of lightweight fillers

#2 - How is Omyasphere, the family of lightweight fillers/microspheres, unique and why is it relevant?

The demand for lightweight fillers is rapidly growing around the world due to increased demand for efficient use of raw material and functional performance. Omya’s answer to these industry and society trends and needs is a complete portfolio of effective lightweighting solutions such as:

The selection of the right product from Omyasphere's family depends on customer needs and application requirements (e.g., higher shear or high pressure applied during the application process).

Omyashpere Lightwight Fillers: Key Features
Features of Omyasphere Lightweight Fillers (Perlites and Microspheres)

Omya entered the production of lightweight fillers/microspheres after two acquisitions in 2019:

  1. Omya acquires Termolita: Termolita S.A.P.I., Mexican leading perlite producer with several mines and manufacturing plants in North America. Omya integrated and developed additional grades of closed-cell expanded perlite/microspheres that were launched as the Omyasphere 200 product series in September 2020. The main applications served by this technology are ready-to-use products (e.g., joint compound, elastomeric roof coating, polymeric renders) and dry-mix systems (e.g., tile adhesives, renders & plasters). In these applications, Omyasphere 200 products provide clear and tangible benefits like:

    • Less weight/higher yield per unit volume of product applied leads to transportation and labor savings
    • Improved thermal insulation properties (e.g., elastomeric roof coatings, insulating paints, renders & plasters)
    • Outstanding workability and excellent sanding properties allowing for easier and faster application
    • Improved ready-to-use systems (e.g., joint compound, paints and coatings) storage stability with hydrophobic products
    • Lower environmental emissions in the transportation of finished goods

      Omyasphere 200 series – Download Brochure

  2. Omya acquires ADF: ADF, an Austrian company with machinery and patents for producing unique hollow glass microspheres. After installing and expanding production capabilities and product development, Omya has launched the first generation product in August 2021, the Omyasphere 953, hollow glass microspheres for applications that require more demanding mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance (e.g., paints & coatings, adhesives & sealants, spray-applied renders). Key benefits are:

    • Support of harsh processing conditions by withstanding high pressure and mechanical forces.
    • Perfect and uniform sphericity enables outstanding rheological properties leading to easier and faster final application.
    • Improved finishing and aesthetic (e.g., lightness) properties based on high and consistent brightness enhancing solar reflectance and insulation properties.
    • Boron-free technology provides outstanding temperature and chemical resistance and enhanced surface properties.

#3 - What are the most critical challenges customers are facing nowadays, and how are your innovative solutions helping them?

The use of lightweight fillers is becoming more important in many Construction applications like joint fillers and compounds, tile adhesives, plasters and renders, leveling compounds, thermal insulation mortars, whereas the required properties of the used lightweight filler may differ significantly depending on formulation and performance of the final product. The use of lightweight fillers is often driven by the need or desire to achieve improvements in two areas: reduce weight and enhance comfort properties (e.g., thermal and acoustic insulation). In some cases, the use of Omyasphere will lead to significant improvements in both areas, as confirmed in several real applications:

  • In a thermal insulation paint, replacing other mineral fillers by Omasyphere 953 led to a reduction of thermal conductivity (λ) by 38% and diffusivity (α) by 28%, thus significantly enhancing comfort properties in addition to reducing the density of the final paint by 28% and improving yield by 33%.

    Thermal conductivity diffusivity in exterior paint

  • In elastomeric roof coating, replacing mineral fillers by Omyasphere 953, it was possible to enhance the emittance and reflectance matching the category of cool roof (Solar Reflectivity Index ≥ 105) while reducing the density of the final coating by 20% and increasing yield by 30%.

    Emittance and SRI in elastomeric roof coating

  • In overhead spray-applied plasters, the use of Omyasphere 953 significantly reduced breakage during application. In fact, it was noticed that other lightweight fillers used in the original formulation were partially broken during spraying. However, when replacing incumbent lightweight filler by Omyasphere 953, based in its outstanding compressive strength, no breakage was identified during the application leading to higher yield, easier and faster application.

    Spray applied plasters

#4 - What are the current and future market trends/shifts and how are the Omyasphere's lightweight fillers leading them?

Lightweighting is an established and further fast-growing global trend in a variety of industries and applications. It makes manufacturing products lighter and the living in our world healthier, more comfortable and easier. Conveniently, formulators can achieve light-weighting by adding specifically engineered fillers to their recipes.

Such lightweight fillers can overcome challenges concerning product quality and functionality, especially in the construction sector. For building professionals, lightweight fillers offer a great potential to support improvements in product properties, especially weight and application procedures, which boosts health and comfort for workers.

Beyond lightweighting, Omya lightweight filler products also provide benefits to sustainability and environmental responsibility, helping our customers and end consumers address some of today’s key challenges the world and our societies face, e.g., climate change, increasing urbanization, and galloping demographic change. In fact, the use of Omyasphere products will not only improve worker’s health and well-being and cut carbon emissions during transport due to reduced end products weight but will also enhance comfort properties such as thermal conductivity, emissivity, reflectance, and sound deadening and this way contribute to better building efficiency and reduced energy demand.

#5 - Can you further detail lightweight filler innovation across industries and your contribution?

On the innovation side, there are many exciting developments ongoing that will further extend and complement our current Omyasphere lightweight filler portfolio such as:

  • Finer particle sizes
  • Higher crush strength intended for high shear-high pressure applications
  • Further reduced density

The portfolio continues to expand, allowing more and more customers and market applications to benefit from the significant improvements and the value that Omyasphere lightweight fillers provide to application and final product performance.

Omya's Omyasphere Product Range

View a wide range of Omyasphere grades available in the market today, analyze technical data of each product, get technical assistance or request samples.

David GonzalezAbout David Gonzalez Amago

David completed his education in B.S Civil Construction Engineering from Polytechnic of Madrid, Spain. He has been working in the construction industry with 20+ years of international experience, mainly for Cement chemistry, Concrete Admixtures, Paints and Coatings, Oil & Gas segments.

Most of his experience is in R&D, product, and application development. He has been with Omya for 1.5 years leading globally lightweight fillers development for all market segments. Currently, he is the Global Application Development Manager for Lightweight Fillers at Omya.

Be the first to comment on "Getting to Know Omya: A Leading Supplier of Lightweight Fillers"

Leave a comment

Your email address and name will not be published submitting a comment or rating implies your acceptance to SpecialChem Terms & Conditions and SpecialChem Privacy
Back to Top