Image: © AkzoNobel, via coatingsworld.com
According to a new study, “Powder Coatings Industry: The Focal Point of Technical Innovation,” from Grand View Research, powder coatings have emerged as the new staple in many applications and have contributed significantly to the global coatings market. “Substitution of conventional coatings with powder coatings is expected to contribute to the healthy projection of the market,” Dhanush Honnappa, senior research associate at Grand View Research reported. “Powder coatings, which are available in powdered or free-flowing form, does not involve the use of solvents compared to liquid coatings and hence offers environmental sustainability.”
Powder’s low environmental impact coupled with the ability to reuse overspray make it an attractive option to liquid.
“Over the past years, the global powder market has grown slightly above GDP – and 2018 is no exception,” said Daniela Vlad, business unit director Powder Coatings, AkzoNobel. “We expect the market to continue its healthy growth path driven by general economic growth and the ongoing adaptation of powder coatings as an alternative for liquid coatings in the marketplace. Despite external price drivers like raw material inflation, powder coatings continue to be a sought-after solution in the marketplace. This is a strong indicator that the value of powder coatings is recognized and appreciated by customers all over the world. This, in turn, increases the value of the total market.”
“The global powder coatings market has seen substantial growth in 2018 and leads all major coatings technologies for forecasted growth over the next five years,” said Shelley Verdun, PPG global product manager, Powder Coatings. “We attribute this to a strong global economy coupled with a strong technology that represents a high-performing, sustainable, environmentally-friendly coatings solutions.”
Powder Offers Advantages Over Liquid
In 2017, powder coatings made up 12 percent of AkzoNobel’s overall business, and the company said it’s increasing every year.
“With increasing demand for sustainable solutions and the ambition to reduce environmental impact, customers continuously aim to find greener coatings solutions,” said Vlad. “Powder coatings contain no volatile organic compounds (VOC) and no toxic heavy metals such as lead or chromium (VI). The ease of application, quality of finish, cost efficiency and constant innovation of powder technologies has developed at a rapid pace. A reduction in baking temperatures means powders can be applied on more and more substrates, resulting in lower energy consumption, without using any solvents, therefore providing a more sustainable alternative to liquid coatings and anodizing.”
“Powder coatings have a high utilization of material – up to 99 percent – and any overspray can be recycled, minimizing waste,” Vlad added. “Wider color options and textures reinforce powder as a strong substitute for liquid coatings. In conclusion, powder coatings are clean, safe and sustainable; they offer excellent performance characteristics and can offer significant cost benefits compared to liquid paints.”
Verdun noted that powder coatings are important to PPG’s overall business strategy and have proven to be one of its fastest growing technologies with continued growth above GDP. “We have successfully invested in powder over the last five years with two acquisitions (Spraylat and IVC) and will continue to invest in powder opportunities in the future.”
“Powder coatings offer advantages over liquid coatings at every point on the lifecycle,” Verdun continued. “Powder coatings have enhanced durability, are low in VOC and are cost efficient due to high transfer efficiency and reclaimability. From a worker perspective, powder coatings have low PPE requirements, do not use a solvent for clean-up and have minimal impact to the environment.”
Steady Growth in Key Markets
According to Vlad, for powder coatings, there is an over-arching growth theme of replacing alternative finishes such as liquid coatings, in the areas where it will provide comparable or better appearance, protection and functionality.
“There is region by region difference in terms of market segment development: for example, the U.S. is observing more powder application in the architectural segment where traditionally it’s majority liquid,” said Vlad. “China is seeing a large wave of powder applications in various industrial applications such as commercial vehicles and ACE. Powder on different substrates than traditional ones is also a trend that is gaining tractions as the powder technology and application know-how advances.”
The heavy-duty equipment, architectural, general metal and appliance markets are all showing steady growth, along with automotive, Verdune noted. “While powder has traditionally been used in these areas, confidence in powder coatings is growing. While powder has proven exceptional durability and corrosion performance, advances in the technology have proven that powder coatings are capable of higher appearance standards, lower and faster cure rates, thinner films and wider metallic color space.”
Recent developments in AkzoNobel’s powders product offering include creating a chrome-look coating, hammered effects, sparkling metallics, textures and an ultra-matte, low gloss powder coating.
Newly launched Interpon D2015 Précis is a super-durable, ultra-matte powder coating with gloss levels of only 5-15 (a typical matt is 25). The ability to make weather-resistant, ultra-matt powder coatings (gloss levels <10) is an important advancement because these coatings can mimic the sort of anodizing finishes that are currently very popular on commercial buildings, whilst avoiding the problems that often come with anodizing. Available in 12 shades and meeting AAMA 2604, Qualicoat Class 2 and GSB Master, Interpon D2015 Précis is the latest architectural powder coating.
Earlier this year AkzoNobel also introduced Interpon D3020 Brilliance, a bright sparkling, metallic, single-coat, hyper-durable powder coating for architecture, offering a combination of appearance and performance previously unavailable in a powder coating.
PPG recently launched the Envirocron Extreme Protection dual-coat powder coating technology. This innovative technology is formulated to provide significant advancements in chip and corrosion resistance to extend the life of high-tensile automotive coil springs on OEM vehicles, according to the company. The dual-coat process features a sustainable approach and an entirely new impact-absorption mechanism for chip mitigation.
“Based on a proprietary fiberglass-free technology platform, PPG Envirocron Extreme Protection powder coating system surpasses 150 cycles of testing as prescribed by SAE International’s J2334 Laboratory Cyclical Corrosion Test, which is the automotive industry’s most stringent performance standard for this type of testing,” said Verdun. “Specifically formulated without fiberglass enables applicators to easily reclaim and recycle the coating, providing safety and environmental advantages. PPG will feature the dual-coat system at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January 2019.”
PPG also launched MeasureColor Mobile, an innovative color platform that combines a color matching app and a hand-held scanning device that can immediately identify color matches to more than 2,500 commonly specified colors in the PPG color library. “The MeasureColor Mobile platform increases productivity, improves customer responsiveness and reduces costs by significantly accelerating the color-matching process,” said Verdun. “Color-matching in the lab takes time. With the MeasureColor Mobile scanner and app, the results are immediate, so customers can place orders for the products they need right on the spot.”
Innovation Drives Growth
Looking ahead, all indications are that the powder coatings will continue to enjoy growth and manufacturers will work to develop new innovations to meet this demand.
“Notwithstanding the high growth opportunities for powder coating manufacturers in the automotive sector, the market has offered a host of technological advancements relating to raw materials, instrumentation, and pigmentation,” Honnappa, of Grand View Research reported.
In his report, Honnappa noted: “In the past few years, new raw material suppliers in the powder coatings market have focused on innovations to improve the production process. One such innovation is the development of self-healing coating technology by Autonomic Materials, Inc. (AMI). This technology employed microcapsules derived from core-shell morphology. Such futuristic developments in the industry have encouraged manufacturers to target new and prospective business segments.”
PPG focuses a lot of energy on developing new products to meet the needs of their customers.
“At PPG, we are committed to innovation and are focused on developing benchmark technologies that will delight our customers and that are in alignment with global powder trends and regulatory needs,” said Verdun.
“Everything we do is driven by market needs and providing more sustainable solutions for our customers around the world – whether that’s reducing baking temperatures, removing process steps through dry-on dry-application, improved material usage through lower applied film builds, improving the longevity of the coated article through improved UV durability/corrosion-protection performance, or adding more functionality to the coatings,” said Vlad. “Providing the ultimate powder solutions and helping our customers to reach their sustainability goals are at the core of our work. Our ambition is to make powder coatings available to as many markets as possible, as it is a very sustainable technology.”
Major Market Developments
- In January 2017, AkzoNobel expanded its powder coatings facility in Chengdu, Western China. The new site will help the company to meet growing product demand and also offer a wide range of powder products to its customers from automotive, construction, furniture and IT industries.
- In January 2017, PPG acquired DEUTEK S.A., a leading Romanian paint and architectural coatings manufacturer. The acquisition adds the fastest-growing paint brands in Romania.
- In February 2017, Axalta entered into an agreement to acquire Century Industrial Coatings, a manufacturer of high-performance industrial coatings for structural steel, oil & gas, rail cars, and other OEM applications.