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Powder paints, constantly growing

Countless advantages continue to make powder coatings an attractive product for the consumer, as it continues to grow and cover more market in specific segments.

by Duván Chaverra A.

Little by little powder paints are gaining ground and positioning themselves much more in the market, because for no one it is a secret that there are many advantages they offer to the consumer compared to liquid paints, especially in the industrial market, thanks to their characteristics in the care of the environment, reduction in costs and ease of application.

For this and other aspects in which we will delve into in this article, powder coatings are already in the same line of liquid paints in terms of consumption, although much must still improve to monopolize a greater portion of the market, especially in the automotive part, in which this segment still has many weaknesses, however, the trend seems to indicate that powder paints will soon take advantage of liquid paints.

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This is foreshadowed by the sources consulted by INPRA LATINA, who are optimistic about the increase in the use of these paintings, although they are aware that there is still a long way to go to cover the demand in its entirety.

Narciso Moreira, general director of Arpol Tintas in Brazil, said in this regard that "today the powder coating market is growing in relation to the liquid paint market, mainly because in industrial lines there is a very large migration of liquid products to powder".

In this statement agrees Hugo Haas, president of the Argentine company Pulverlux, who assures that the land gained by this type of products is partly due to the respect they have for the environment and the chemical-physical properties it has.

"More and more they are introduced into fields where only liquid paints could be applied, as is the case with heat-sensitive substrates, such as wood, chipboard, plastics, etc. It would not be an exaggeration to say that practically the volumes of use of both technologies are equivalent at this time, with a wide tendency to outperform powder paints."

The advantages
A better surface appearance, less environmental pollution, cleaner operation, longer duration, performance in the application, and countless advantages make this product an attraction for the consumer and for the applicator who nevertheless feels some fear for making the change from liquid to powder. This is due, in part, to the investment in equipment that must be made, although experts say that the expense in a few months will become a notable saving.

This is confirmed by Moreira, who commented that "the costs of powder coating are relatively higher in relation to the investment. You have to invest in equipment that must be compatible with the application system, but that investment becomes fully payable for the savings you get relative to the other systems."

According to Rocío Alvis, head of division of the Colombian company Oxyplast, performance is presented as another factor to highlight when using powder paints: "With liquid paint more than 50% is used because the rest you have to evaporate with the solvent, harming the environment. With powder coating you can have a yield of 95% and with the best system up to 98%, I think that's a big cost reduction."

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Working for perfection
As not everything can be rosy, the disadvantage of the product protagonist of this article has to do with the variety of tones and effects that it can not yet develop in an effective way, something that liquid paint does.

Rocío Alvis says that "the ease of obtaining colors with agility" is the goal they intend to fulfill through research, a thought shared by Narciso Moreira, who is aware of weaknesses.

"The great advantage of liquid paint over powder coating is that you can get colors with better individualization performance. For example, you can work with petroleum and metallic, creating various types of colors that have nicer finishes, that is important when it is one of the main requirements. Also, the metallic effects in powder paint are a bit harder to come by."

Work on curing
More than talking about novelties, the main objective of the companies that manufacture paints is to formulate products that allow a final curing at a lower temperature: "No substantive changes in technology are foreseen, but we continue in the evolution to systems of lower thicknesses and curing temperatures, and of search for a possible dyeing system on the powders already prepared", commented Hugo Haas.

For her part, the head of division of Oxyplast has already investigated some automatic application equipment for the use of metallic paint, while in terms of finishes she expressed that "they still have metallic and pearl finishes that they like very much". He added that he hopes to continue removing polluting materials: "Heavy metals with which powder coating was produced must continue to be removed to achieve a cleaner product."

Likewise, Alvis commented that in his company they are working on research to improve the segment of paints for wood, with the purpose of achieving the same results as in metal.

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Raw materials: oil-dependent
As is well known, the way oil behaves will be the prices of raw materials, and so will the dollar. Today, costs maintain a downward trend, an element that companies can put in their favor.

In Brazil, the most expensive raw materials at the moment are epoxy resins and polyesters: "In Brazil we feel a little more the effects with respect to some of the costs of pigments, because here the dollar has risen and fallen more than we were used to. But in relation to resins we have experienced a fall that we do not know how long it will be maintained."

In Colombia, they expect oil prices to tend to decrease or to be preserved: "The behavior of raw materials goes hand in hand with the dollar. Now as the price of oil is low and a large percentage of powder paints are resins, then this should tend to go down or stay. Pigments or raw materials containing metals have also suffered a significant decline," Alvis said.

Additives and biocides
There are several types of additives that can be used when looking for improvements in powder paints, all according to the needs of application. The president of Pulverlux in Argentina says that the effectiveness of these chemicals must be found through specific tests.

"The issue is one of permanent development and it is not easy to mention one or another molecule that allows these applications to be generalized. But you get very effective results," he said.

In Brazil and Colombia there is a wide demand for the use of protective additives: "You can create textured and microtextured effects. In protection lines such as civil construction, additives can be used to prevent attacks by fungi and bacteria," said the CEO of Arpol Tintas.

While in the coffee country the need for additional protection requires that the paints contain antifungal and antibacterial: "At least they are beginning to be consumed, it is widely used for paint aimed at the hospital sector, such as dental equipment and stretchers," said Alvis.

The added value

To finish this analysis on a constantly growing market, the issue of added value makes the product much more attractive to the consumer. Therefore, companies spare no effort so that their client feels greater comfort in results and costs when using powder coatings.

Advice, accompaniment and follow-up are part of the package that the consumer acquires, and to this must be added the basic characteristics of the product as such.

Rocío Alvis affirms that in Oxyplast they have an accompaniment program that allows the good use of powder paints by the applicator and its system, in order to avoid wasting paint and money.

"They're always going to have ongoing training and we're open to questions that are needed. If they need visitors, they are checked from their oven (thermography) to see how the paint is curing in there, because if this is not met, the piece does not look good and we would have quality problems. "

Finally, for Narciso Moreira, the key to success in the use of powder coatings is to risk making the necessary investment, because according to him, that will end up being a differential plus. "For example, in the types of applications where two or three hands of paint were used to achieve good corrosion protection, with powder coating you can make a formulation that allows you to achieve that application with fewer hands of paint and obtain a faster production and with the same results."


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