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International Wood Congress Awards Holbrow Medal to Dow Coating Materials

Dow Coating Materials was awarded the prestigious Holbrow Medal at the 7th International Woodcoatings Congress for a technical paper on the latest advances in water-borne products for protecting wood.

The paper entitled “The Impact of Durability on Formulating More Environmentally Advanced Architectural Paints for Wooden Substrates,” was chosen by the congress organisers, the PRA (Paint Research Association), as the top paper out of nearly 40 presented to industry leaders and academics at this year’s event held recently in The Netherlands.

Painting a brighter future

For Dow – the pioneers of waterborne ingredients to the coatings market nearly 50 years ago - the accolade is a fitting recognition for its ground-breaking and innovative research over that time. These efforts have been heightened in recent years with Dow Coating Materials continuing to spearhead advances in the development of new and innovative waterborne technologies which provide a practical, viable and more durable alternative to solventborne products, and enable more environmentally enhanced wood coatings for industrial and architectural applications.

“For many years we were very much a lone voice in pioneering this technology,” said Dr Andrew Trapani, technical director for Dow Coating Materials EMEA. “Now, when I go to technical conferences, such as this, the subject of sustainability is always high on everyone’s agenda. There is a growing movement towards sustainability and sustainable products in the European paint and coatings industry, and for us it is particularly pleasing to hear our early conceptual words coming back to us. It re-affirms our position as the industry’s leading voice on the move towards sustainability.”

Improved durability crucial to sustainability

In the paper - co-authored by Dr Houshang Kheradmand, Dr Anne Koller, Dr Marie Bleuzen and Francine Signoret - Dr Trapani explored the essential role that durability plays in the aim of delivering more environmentally enhanced architectural coatings. He presented the results of ‘a cradle to grave’ life cycle, weathering and durability analysis for low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) pure acrylic and acrylic hybrid binder technologies. With their improved environmental profile and carbon footprint over the total lifecycle, relative to other products on the market, the binders facilitate less frequent repainting – and, in turn, require fewer resources and less energy over the lifecycle of the applied paint film.

A prime example, he said, was in road-marking paint. “Paints made with waterborne constituents last twice as long as their solvent-based counterparts. The fact that you don’t have to paint so often has benefits right along the whole supply and life-cycle chain.”

“Durability is often overlooked in the development of more sustainable coatings processes and products,” said Dr Trapani. “We are convinced, based on scientific evidence and years of experience, that bringing more sustainable coatings to market requires a multi-faceted approach. While we continuously aim for lower VOC content and explore the use of more renewable raw materials, we also need to address the long-term effects of a given technology. This is where we have a great opportunity to improve the durability of our products.”

Breakthrough approach for lowering VOC in industrial coatings

In response to increased governmental regulation and consumer demand, specialty materials manufacturers like Dow Coating Materials, continue to seek new ways of reducing hazardous air pollutants and VOCs, and creating products and manufacturing processes that have an improved environmental profile. This has resulted in the development of a new one-component waterborne technology which lowers not only VOC content, but critically, the level of VOC emission from finished wood products.

The results of this unique combination of acrylic latex and polyurethane dispersion polymers were also examined in another Dow paper presented to the congress, entitled: “Accelerating the Release of Volatile Organic Content from Industrial Wood Coatings Using a Novel Acrylic/Urethane Hybrid Technology”.

Presented by Jérome Caron, development leader, European industrial wood products, Dow Coating Materials, the paper revealed how the faster coalescent release of volatile materials prior to the packaging and use of the wood/coated material can lead to better indoor air quality for the consumer. In turn, this could create a competitive business advantage for the manufacturers of furniture, cabinets and building materials.

As Jérome explained. “We believe that this acrylic/urethane hybrid technology represents a major step forward in developing more environmentally enhanced coatings, because it addresses not only VOC content, but where and when the VOCs are released. What that means is the potential for an improved quality of life, for the wood manufacturer and end-consumer alike.”

The technical paper also compared this innovation to other commercial solventborne and waterborne industrial wood coatings, and revealed improved performance in essential properties, such as hardness, block, print and mar resistance.


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