Sustainability drives powder coatings industry

12:52 | 27/08/2018
The great demand for more sustainable solutions, together with growth in the manufacturing and construction markets, is creating new opportunities for powder coatings. Raw material suppliers and coating formulators, including AkzoNobel, are developing new powder coatings products that can be applied more efficiently, exhibit improved performance, and have a greater range of potential end uses. Alan Alex, business director for AkzoNobel's Powder Coatings business in South Asia, regaled Kim Oanh with the company’s recent achievements in sustainability and its strategy in high potential markets like Vietnam.
sustainability drives powder coatings industry

What drives technology development for powder coatings? How have these drivers changed in the last 5-10 years? Do you anticipate any major shifts in the near future?

Powder coatings technology is considered a sustainable option in many industry applications, due to its numerous advantages. Powder coatings’ efficiency, economy, excellent performance, and environmental compliance have compelled finishers to consider it as an alternative to solvent-borne coatings for decades. The increasing demand for both sustainable solutions and enhanced performance is also driving the development of the coatings industry.

Removing coatings steps or better utilising coating materials are amongst solutions to reduce environmental impact and improve process efficiencies. Powder would be a more sustainable alternative to liquid coatings and anodising for a reduction on baking temperatures that makes it can be applied on more substrates at lower energy consumption and almost no harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Sustainability is one of the most important drivers for the development of powder coatings. How has AkzoNobel been following this trend?

Staying one step ahead in the development of environmentally friendly coatings is one of our leading priorities. The company manufactures to the highest environmental standards in order to minimise harmful emissions and waste, both in the factory and at customers’ plants.

This is particularly evident in our proven expertise as the world leader in technological innovation, fashion trends in colours and special effects, with AkzoNobel’s sustainability efforts having been recently verified by an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Having first undertaken the complex process in 2015, AkzoNobel was the first global powder coatings supplier to obtain the declaration. The renewed EPD, for our Interpon D range of architectural powder coatings (D1000, D2000, and D3000), lasts until 2023. The results show an improvement against our previous score and highlights various factors that are contributing to lower environmental impact, including a reduction in both waste and energy usage.

What would you say were the most important recent advances in powder coatings technology?

The ability to make weather-resistant, ultra-matt powder coatings (gloss levels lower than 10) is a notable advance. Powder coatings can be applied to more than just aluminium, have greater colour consistency between parts, and can be repaired. Specifiers of architectural coatings now have access to more sustainable alternatives to liquid or anodised ultra-matt finishes, backed by long-term warranties and industry certification.

Beyond aesthetics and substrate protection, powder coatings have combined functionality attributes such as easy clean for outdoor furniture and high temperature resistant coatings, used for example on vehicle exhaust systems.

Providing the ultimate powder solutions and helping our customers reach their sustainability goals is at the core of what we do. For example, AkzoNobel was the first to bring to market a range of ultra-matt coatings with high scratch resistance several years ago.

In which areas are AkzoNobel’s powder coatings used? How can AkzoNobel ensure consistent quality for customers all over the world?

AkzoNobel provides powder coatings for a wide variety of markets, including agricultural and construction equipment products, appliances, architecture, automotive, functional and furniture.

We are the undisputed leader in powder coatings globally, with unique solutions and a worldwide distribution network. As the technology base is centrally controlled, AkzoNobel can replicate any paint anywhere to ensure absolute consistency and quality.

Customers want to be able to make faster and better-informed decisions. We have rolled out a number of digital apps, supported by Instamatch, a highly accurate colour measurement tool, pairing with mobile software to allow fast and accurate colour selections on the go.

Apps such as AkzoNobel Design can be even used to develop a bespoke technical specification shortly by offering filters for each decision-making stage based on substrate/construction material, environment, geographical location, durability requirements, colour choices, and finished look.

What is AkzoNobel’s powder coatings strategy in Vietnam?

Vietnam has proven to be a strategic market for AkzoNobel in Southeast Asia and we are strongly committed to expanding our position. Not only in the domestic market, as we also supply to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In Vietnam, AkzoNobel offers world class local services, consistent and reliable quality (30 years warranty on products), and solutions for customers across the country through its Interpon and Resicoat brands.

Interpon, the market leader in Vietnam, is the fastest powder coatings company in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, architectural and general industrial coatings are the biggest segments, which also occupy 60 per cent of our total business. In terms of sales area, we are based in South Vietnam, but also supply nationwide with sales offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hanoi, and a joint warehouse with our distributor in Haiphong.

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