Coating additives soon to be deemed as ‘elixirs of tomorrow’ for paint formulators

03 March 2023

Since time immemorial, paint manufacturers have been blending additives into their formulations and experimenting with numerous chemicals to come up with unique, vibrant colours. One of the most infamous examples of such experimentation is Scheele’s Green or Schloss Green from the Victorian Era. It contained high levels of acidic copper arsenite that gradually poisoned occupants of homes that used this colour for wallpapers.

Since then, advancements in the paint additives industry have come a long way. Latest formulations are mainly designed to add up new useful characteristics that can provide environmental, decorative, as well as functional benefits.

At present, the industry utilises a wide range of coating additives and leading manufacturers are constantly investing in research activities to expand their existing portfolios. They are, hence, enabling enhancements such as preventing growth of mildew, quick drying paints and superior adhesion.

Numerous companies are focusing on improving the antibacterial properties and smell of coating additives. As the demand for enhanced characteristics such as UV protection, dispersion of solids, scrub resistance, gloss control, wetting, improved leveling, and foam-reduction is skyrocketing, key companies are striving to refine their product offerings to generate high shares.

Alongside these improvements, a long line of stringent norms has come along as a result of consumer and political pressure. These norms aim to prevent harm to the environment and humans by compelling manufacturers to develop new paints that would contain zero volatile organic compounds. Surging desire to upgrade the way paints work and lower their negative influence is expected to pave the way for new coating additives.

Fact.MR, a leading market research firm, estimates that the global coating additives market is estimated to surpass US$9.3bn in 2023 and exhibit considerable growth at a CAGR of 5.0% in the next 10 years from 2023 to 2033. Increasing utilisation of innovative coating additives in construction paints to improve the surface effectiveness, as well as viscosity of substrates, is one of the prominent factors propelling sales.

Burgeoning demand for architectural and industrial applications is another vital factor that is estimated to bode well for the coating additive industry. Consumers are expected to choose those exterior coating additives that are highly effective against algae, fungi and bacteria. On the back of changing demand, prominent companies are likely to focus on introducing high-quality coating additives in the foreseeable future.

Recent innovations

In December 2022, Evonik Industries AG, a renowned speciality chemicals manufacturer based in Germany, introduced a new multifunctional polymer additive named TEGO Powder Aid D01. It can be used for powder coating formulations and would help to make them disperse by effectively reducing melt viscosity, as well as promoting pigment wetting during extrusion. The newly launched additive can ensure better Distinctness of Image (DOI) and optimise gloss development on the surface of coatings. TEGO Powder Aid D01 is also versatile in nature as it can be utilised in formulations containing both organic pigments such as carbon black and inorganic pigments & fillers.

Solvay, a multinational chemical company headquartered in Belgium, introduced a new alkylphenol ethoxylates (APE)-free1 polymerisable surfactant called Reactsurf 2490 in November 2022. It is a cutting-edge emulsifier that can accelerate the performance of coatings and additives. It was mainly designed to act as a primary emulsifier for styrene-acrylic, vinyl-acrylic, and acrylic latex systems. The new product can boost performance of emulsion to provide superior aesthetic and functional benefits in pressure sensitive adhesives, as well as exterior coatings. It can perform well even at high temperatures, unlike conventional surfactants. According to Solvay, Reactsurf 2490 can be utilised in building & construction, paint binders, paper coatings, nonwoven & textile binders, and sealants & adhesive applications.

Meanwhile, increasing preference for sustainable formulations and stringent government norms associated with products that emit volatile organic compounds is encouraging key manufacturers of paints and coatings to launch eco-friendly products. They are also creating awareness either with the help of social media campaigns or by developing digital tools to help consumers get a better understanding of numerous additives.

In October 2022, Clariant AG, a multinational speciality chemicals manufacturer based in Switzerland, for instance, unveiled a results-focused web application named ClariCoat for additives. It enables customised property selection that covers a wide range of performance criteria- right from sustainability and workability to liquid paint stability.

Once the user completes criteria selection, the product recommendation engine offers results of suitable additives that would meet the requirements of paint formulators. The new digital tool would help address high demand for sustainable coatings and paints. Surging inclination toward water-based paint systems is another factor that would push sales of paints and coatings additives. Hence, Clariant AG aims to provide formulators with proper guidance through ClariCoat 24/7.

What does the next decade hold for coating additive manufacturers?

One of the most prominent trends in the coating additive industry that is anticipated to progress in the next 10 years is development of waterborne formulations. Consumers are set to shift toward powder-based and waterborne coating additives from solventborne products due to strict environmental regulations.

Demand for fluoropolymer coating additives is further estimated to catapult the coating additive industry. These additives deliver excellent protection against corrosion, chemicals, temperature and abrasion, among others. Expansion of both residential and commercial sectors in the USA, China, Germany, Canada, India and Japan is another vital factor that would fuel demand for coating additives as they are extensively used to protect buildings.

In the USA, for instance, around 90% of all architectural coatings sold are water-based, finds Fact.MR. Increasing demand for these coatings for the development of a vast network of infrastructure such as electrical grids, ports and bridges is projected to drive sales.

Fact.MR further states that total exports of acrylic polymer from the USA is anticipated to reach US$1490M by 2023, while imports are likely to go up by US$1178M during the same year. Surging use of acrylic additives in waterborne coatings for applications in outdoor glazing, especially in construction and architecture, would accelerate sales of coating additives in the country.

In Canada, on the other hand, investments in non-residential construction were up by 0.2% in November 2022 and reached US$5.5bn, whereas single-family home construction investments fell by 2.0% to nearly US$14.9bn in the same month.

The aforementioned factors prove that booming building and construction activities, especially in the non-residential and commercial sectors would augment demand for superior coating additives for protecting the exteriors of structures. Leading companies are predicted to soon adopt eco-friendly manufacturing processes for keeping up with strict guidelines provided by government bodies worldwide.

These insights are based on a report on Coating Additives Market by Fact.MR.

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