Shift from solvent to water-based

Paul Boughton

Reflecting the trend in the European and the US paint/coatings marketthere has been a slow but perceptible shift from solvent to water-based or high-solid coatings in China.

This augurs well for the paint additives marketsince more additives with various functions will be required to compensate for the reduced amount of solvent applied.

With the top 10 global coating manufacturers having entered the Chinese market with their classic formulations and high-grade as well as high-performance coatingsChinese coating counterparts have been encouraged to significantly increase the use of additives. This improved use has impelled the market to hike not only its volume of productionbut also to enhance its technologies and functions.

The tremendous rise in the coatings production volume is very likely to cause a consequent increase in the use of paint additives. In 2004the Chinese paint market had nearly 8000 coatings producers that were rolling out 3798900tonnes of product. This has benefited all additive segments of rheology modifierspreservativesas well as dispersants and wettingflow/levelling and flattingfoam controldriers and catalystsand film forming agents.

China’s booming economy has also contributed in great measure to the development of industries such as real estateautomotive and infrastructure reconstructionwhich in turnwill drive coating applications and thereforepaint additives that improve coatings properties and applications significantly. The Beijing Olympics 2008 and Shanghai Expos 2010 are expected to give a further fillip to the Chinese economy in future.

As coatings formulations expand to include various applicationsenvironmental concerns will simultaneously increase. The growing consciousness among the Chinese about the qualitycredibilityhealth and environmental compliance of coatings has made consumers gravitate towards efficienteasy to handle and environment-friendly products.

This has generated significant demand for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from coatings and environmentally safe paints that are either water-based or have high solids contentdepending on the application.

Such moves toward environment-friendly formulations are expected to drive the additives marketsince these paints need a larger amount of paint additives than traditional solvent-based coatings.

In 2004China experienced substantial decline in investment in steelaluminiumcement and real estate. Subsequentlyaffiliated coating segments including automotive and coil coatings were adversely affectedwhich had a resultant impact on the additives market. 

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