Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. Coatings research and partnership are at an all-time high around the globe, and most of our news in this issue repeats this trend. For instance...
High-temperature superconductors can be manufactured much more efficiently and with less environmental impact by means of the innovative production process developed by technology company Deutsche Nanoschicht GmbH. Superconductors carry current virtually without loss, so they allow potentially huge savings in generating and transporting electricity. BASF Future Business GmbH supports Deutsche Nanoschicht as a cooperation partner.
The wires for high-temperature superconductors are manufactured by a coating process developed by Deutsche Nanoschicht that uses chemical solution deposition. The ceramic layers produced in this way have superconducting properties because they feature flawless crystal orientation. "Chemical deposition processes are technically challenging but hold enormous economic potential," explained Dr. Michael Bäcker, Managing Director of Deutsche Nanoschicht. Industrial and energy sector customers, in particular, can benefit from the company's patented solutions.
Industrial Nanotech announced that the company is opening a sales office in India with the next 4-6 weeks. Industrial Nanotech, Inc has seen significantly increased demand in India for their Nansulate energy saving and protective coatings from OEM manufacturers as well as end manufacturing users to reduce energy costs. The company plans to establish an office first in Southern India, in or near Bangalore, with expansion to Northern India and Western India in the near future.
"India has become an increasingly important country as their manufacturing sectors and economy as a whole continue to have a healthy growth rate," stated Francesca Crolley, VP of Business Development for Industrial Nanotech, Inc. "We began a strategy this year focused on boosting our marketing and brand presence in India as an energy saving solution and it has returned significant results.
In JV news, CSM, Royal DSM and Delft University of Technology are participating in a joint venture for bioprocess research. The new company Bioprocess Pilot Facility BV (BPF) is based in Delft and aims at scale-up research and education for next generation bioprocesses. The official opening of the facility was on May 15, 2012. The BPF is an open access facility where other companies, universities, institutes etc. can execute their scale-up research on bioprocesses. CSM, DSM and Delft University of Technology have decided to join forces in order to obtain a world class facility to test new bioprocesses in the scaling-up from laboratory and pilot plant to industrial size.
In this facility process development research can be facilitated in the entire field of biomass pre-processing, biomass pre-treatment, fermentation and downstream processing. The set up of this facility starts with equipment already existing on the site of DSM, which will be brought in into the Joint Venture. Additional equipment and facilities, especially related to the pre-treatment of biomass, will be implemented in the coming 12-18 months.
The Saw Mill River in New York, USA turned a milky white from paint and paint products that ran into it as Yonkers firefighters doused the Dunham Paint warehouse with water for hours to put out a stubborn, smoky blaze Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The Saw Mill River was dumping the discolored water into the Hudson River where the two meet at the Yonkers City Pier and a large slick was flowing south toward New York City.
Wendy Rosenbach, a spokeswoman for the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation, said most of the paint is soluble latex paint. "It is not as problematic as oil-base paint would have been for the environment," Rosebach said Thursday.
Nine of the 54 Yonkers firefighters battling the three-alarm fire were injured. Officials said the fire broke out shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday. The blaze was brought under control around 4 a.m. Thursday, but firefighters remained at the scene Thursday evening, dousing 6 feet of smoldering rubble.
Officials reported no injuries to workers at the warehouse because it was closed at the time.
The cause of the fire is not known, Fire Commissioner George Kielb said.
The DEC is working with the warehouse owner on a plan to demolish the building, which burned to its foundation, Rosenbach said. The state agency is also working with Dunham Paint on a cleanup at the plant and the river. Dunham hired a Long Island company to clean up the spill, officials said. Absorbent booms were placed in the Saw Mill River to try to stop or slow the flow of paint products into both rivers.
The Long Island company used large vacuums to suck up the paint around the plant. Trenches were also dug to contain the water runoff from the factory.
Caren Halbfinger, a spokeswoman for the Westchester County Health Department, said her department took air and water samples at the plant. The air samples showed no contamination.
The Saw Mill River water samples are at the county laboratory, and test results are expected next week, she said. Halbfinger said some oil-based paints and paint thinners were stored in the warehouse just 30 feet from the Saw Mill River.
The DEC, the Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are monitoring the spill.
In regulatory news, for the first time in 20 years, U.S. health officials have lowered the threshold for lead poisoning in young children.
The new standard announced last Wednesday means that hundreds of thousands more youngsters could be diagnosed with high levels of lead.
"Unfortunately, many, many more parents will be getting bad news," said Rebecca Morley, Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, a Maryland-based nonprofit focused on hazards to kids in homes.
The standard is for children younger than 6 years old. Recent research persuaded experts and government officials that young children could be harmed from lead levels in their blood that are lower than the old standard.
The CDC announced the change Wednesday, adopting recommendations made in January by an advisory panel of experts. At the same time, CDC officials acknowledged they don't have additional funds to help doctors or local health departments do more testing of children or find and clean up lead contamination.
Lead poisoning is detected through a blood test. The change means poisoning will be defined as 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The old standard was 10 micrograms.
Under the old standard, lead poisoning in children had been declining in the U.S. Experts estimated that somewhere between 77,000 and 255,000 children had high levels of lead, though many of them are undiagnosed. The change could raise the count to 450,000 cases.
Usually, children who get lead poisoning live in old homes that are dilapidated or under renovation. They pick up paint chips or dust and put it in their mouth. Lead has been banned in paint since 1978. Children have also picked up lead poisoning from soil contaminated by old leaded gasoline, and from dust tracked in from industrial worksites.
Most cases of lead poisoning are handled by tracking and removing the lead source, and monitoring the children to make sure lead levels stay down. A special treatment to remove lead and other heavy metals is used for very high levels.
Specialists describe children as having lead poisoning only at those very high levels, but others use the term more broadly to describe any child with levels that can impact intelligence or cause other harm.
In research news, University at Buffalo researchers are making significant progress on rust-proofing steel using a graphene-based composite that could serve as a nontoxic alternative to coatings that contain hexavalent chromium.
In the scientists' first experiments, pieces of steel coated with the high-tech varnish remained rust-free for only a few days when immersed continuously in saltwater, an environment that accelerates corrosion.
By adjusting the concentration and dispersion of graphene within the composite, the researchers increased to about a month the amount of time the treated steel can survive in brine. (Because brine is an extremely harsh environment, the coated steel's survival time in the real-world would be many times longer.)
The UB chemists leading the project are Sarbajit Banerjee, PhD, an assistant professor, and Robert Dennis, a PhD student. Their next step is to use a $50,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute to enhance the graphene composite's lasting power, as well as the quality of its finish.
Tata Steel, an international company that has provided past funding for Banerjee's projects, has been helping the scientists test larger sample sizes, Banerjee said. Bringing the coating to the market could not only benefit public health, but also save jobs, said Dennis and Banerjee.
"Our product can be made to work with the existing hardware of many factories that specialize in chrome electroplating, including job shops in Western New York that grew around Bethlehem Steel," Banerjee said. "This could give factories a chance to reinvent themselves in a healthy way in a regulatory environment that is growing increasingly harsh when it comes to chromium pollution."
Graphene, the thinnest and strongest material known to man, consists of a single layer of carbon atoms linked in a honeycomb-like arrangement. The material's hydrophobic and conductive properties may help prevent corrosion, repelling water and stunting electro-chemical reactions that transform iron into iron oxide, or rust, Banerjee said.
UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR) has submitted a provisional patent application to protect the coating Banerjee and Dennis are refining. As sponsors of the research and due to inventive contribution by Tata employees, Tata Steel also has certain rights to the technology.
"Tata Steel has always displayed leadership in motivating innovative research and product development by leveraging partnerships with universities. UB has been one of our choices for cutting-edge coatings technology development on steel substrate," said Debashish Bhattacharjee, PhD, Tata Steel's group director for Research, Development and Technology.
"The development of an environmentally friendly alternative to hexavalent chromium would truly revolutionize this sector," said Anahita Williamson, PhD, director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), a research and technology transfer center funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "The metals plating industry identified this as a high-priority research project and NYSP2I is excited to support UB researchers in their efforts to develop solutions."
The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, headquartered at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), is a partnership between RIT, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, UB and the state's network of Regional Technology Development Centers.
Banerjee, a materials chemist, has worked closely with industry and STOR to commercialize his research since joining UB in 2007.
In addition to his work on graphene, Banerjee has spoken to companies in the building materials industry about his research on vanadium oxide, a synthetic compound that could be used in "smart" windows that reflect heat from the sun only on hot days.
"UB 2020, our university's long-range plan, asks faculty to take an active role in translational research, and our rust-proofing project is an example of research that benefits communities on both a global and local scale," Banerjee said.
Finally, in other business news, in what Appleton Papers referred to Wednesday as a "business combination" with Dallas-based Hicks Acquisition Co. II, the 105-year-old maker of specialty paper coatings will operate under a new name Appvion.
The new name is a combination of the words "applied" and "innovation" to reflect its evolution from papermaker to a company that will focus on coating formulations, applications and specialty chemicals when the deal closes this summer.
It will be business as usual, said Bill Van Den Brandt, company spokesman. The company's executive staff and 870 workers in Appleton, also its headquarters, are unaffected. The move will give the company more cash, which can be used to pay down debt, he said.
"We're really going back to our roots," Van Den Brandt said. When the company launched in 1907, it was built on placing coatings on paper products.
"It's our core strength, the idea of putting coatings on paper and chemistry formulation," Van Den Brandt said. "We are thinking of ourselves more like a specialty coating company and less than a papermaker."
The deal is valued at about $675 million and turns the privately held company into a publicly traded firm that will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker APVN.
Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist with the investments group of Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, said an infusion of cash will benefit the business. "Equity companies are actually good for business," he said. "They can help clean things up. Instead of withering and dying in a slow-growth industry with mountains of debt, equity companies help turn things around."
In other news, Dürr presented innovative technologies to industry professionals. Dürr demonstrated solutions in painting, gluing and automation technology. Aspects such as the reduction of emissions and energy consumption, material savings and efficient use of space, flexibility, and efficiency in planning, process and maintenance from the Eco⊕Efficiency system are guidelines for Dürr's operations...more
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The paints and varnishes market in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries valued over US$29 billion in 2011, representing an increase of 56.3% from the value recorded in 2007. The market recorded positive annual growth rates every year during the review period (2007-2011), apart from in 2009 when it declined by 3.2% due to the adverse impact of the global economic crisis...more
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From May 22 to 25, Dubai will be hosting the Automechanika Middle East, the biggest international trade fair for the automotive industry in the Middle East. In Dubai, BASF Coatings' paint brand Glasurit will be presenting new technologies along with the Glasurit RATIO Concept Plus portfolio of services that accompany its products...more
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And finally, Hydromer, Inc. announced that during its last fiscal quarter it had entered into License Agreements with three separate Chinese medical device manufacturers. Under the terms of these agreements, each Chinese company is licensed to use certain proprietary Hydromer® medical coatings on medical devices...more
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