Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. There were quite a few deals and research announcements at the end of last week, and they will be the primary stuff of this issue.
It has been pretty quiet at Altana recently, but last week Elantas Electrical Insulation, a division of the specialty chemicals Group Altana AG, announced the acquisition of the casting resins business for electrical and electronic applications of the Italian Marbo Group. The casting resins business of Marbo includes products for the encapsulation or coating of electronic components with insulation materials (compounds). Elantas mainly takes over Marbo's customers and know-how. The production will be incorporated into Elantas Italia's facilities in Collecchio, Italy.
"With the acquisition of Marbo's casting resins business we expand our electronics and engineering materials business line. Following similar acquisitions, the present acquisition consistently enhances this business area and strengthens the locations of Elantas in Italy. We will offer our new customers a smooth transition of the casting resins products as well as further innovative solutions in the area of electrical insulation," stated Dr. Wolfgang Schütt, President Division Elantas Electrical Insulation.
In sustainables news, Graal Bio's first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol Plant will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and is among the first plants announced in the world. The first Brazilian cellulosic ethanol plant will be constructed in Alagoas and will initially run using sugarcane bagasse and straw as feedstock, which will be eventually replaced by energy cane. The plant will work in cooperation with first generation mills located in the state, which the company understands is an associative business model as it complements the first-generation ethanol industry, presenting significant synergies to both sides. With a total investment of R$ 300 million, the plant will have a nominal production capacity of 82 million liters of ethanol.
Sugarcane bagasse and straw offer the potential of expanding domestic ethanol production by 35% compared to current installed capacities, presenting a potential solution to the annual ethanol deficit of 1 billion liters. This will be achieved without additional investments in land, and there will be no competition with food production.
In nano news, Nanostart Asia Pacific has acquired a stake in Singapore-based Stella Specialty Chemicals Pte Ltd via Nanostart Singapore Early Stage Venture Fund I. Stella offers a wide range of specialty chemical products for surface treatment of metals and plastics. Consequently, the company is an all-round provider for the coating industry. Stella originated from the Advanced Material Technology Centre at Singapore Polytechnic and has years of experience in nanotechnology and green chemistry research and development.
Stella has already started its marketing activities. The fund has initially acquired around 10% of the shares in Stella. There are plans to increase the stake to around 23% at the beginning of 2013. The purpose of Nanostart Asia Pacific's investment is to develop and implement the marketing concept and build up a sales team for the Asian market. Said Dr Yin Xi Jiang, Founder and Director of Stella: "This investment fund will accelerate the growth of Stella Specialty Chemicals. It is able to help Stella to continuously validate products and innovations to meet the needs of customers."
In additional deal news, Royal Adhesives & Sealants, a portfolio company of Arsenal Capital Partners, announced that Royal will acquire substantially all of the assets of Clifton Adhesives.
Clifton Adhesives is a major supplier to the aerospace, military, recreational and commercial marine market of thermoplastic (Polyurethane) and elastomeric (Polychloroprene) adhesives and coatings, which are used in the fabrication of inflatable structures. The acquisition builds on Royal's strong platform of leading adhesives, sealants and coatings solutions.
"We continue to identify leading niche companies that will enhance our product offerings to the markets in which we have chosen to compete. The addition of Clifton will broaden our customer base in the aircraft and marine markets," said Ted Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Royal. "Clifton's elastomeric adhesives will add to our growing portfolio of leading adhesives and sealants technologies and we look forward to working with the Clifton team to successfully integrate the Clifton business into Royal."
Tim Zappala, a Partner at Arsenal Capital said, "Clifton has a long history supplying adhesives to the demanding aircraft and marine markets. The acquisition of Clifton and merger with Royal represents another important milestone in our strategy to further build a leading adhesives, sealants and coatings business offering customized and proprietary solutions and is the third Royal acquisition in the last six months underscoring our determination to build a market leading adhesives, sealants and coatings business."
Clifton CEO Bob Lefelar stated, "Clifton's success and exponential growth over the past 66 years as a family owned business was the direct result of offering quality products, exemplary service, and customized products. The time is now right for Clifton to be part of a larger organization with the same operating philosophy and where we have a great market fit. The company is now better positioned to continue offering the customer support and service going forward that our customers demand."
In EU deal updates, the Competition Commission is to investigate Akzo Nobel NV's proposed acquisition of Metlac Holding S.r.l. The Office of Fair Trading has referred the case to the CC, which will decide whether the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets for goods or services in the UK.
AkzoNobel's subsidiary (AkzoNobel Coatings International B.V. (ANCI)) and Metlac Holding's subsidiary (Metlac S.p.A. (Metlac)) both manufacture and supply metal packaging coatings. These are used, for example, in the production of beverage and food cans. Between them, the parties supply around 40 to 50 percent of the European Economic Area market. The OFT received a number of third party concerns relating to the loss of Metlac as a competitor in the supply of metal packaging coatings.
ANCI has an existing stake of 49% in Metlac Holding. Akzo Nobel has an additional 44.4% share in Metlac. ANCI has a call option to buy the remaining shares in Metlac Holding, which it has decided to exercise. Upon transfer of the shares Akzo Nobel's shareholding in Metlac would increase to 100%.
The CC is expected to publish its final report by 6th November 2012.
In awards news, The American Coatings Association (ACA) and coatings conference organizer Vincentz Network (VN) presented Dow Coating Materials' research team with the 2012 American Coatings Award.
Dow Coating Materials' Dr. Antony van Dyk, global research & development leader for Dispersants and project leader for Rheology Modifiers, and Dr. Alan Nakatani, Dow senior research scientist in the Core Research & Development Analytical Sciences Rheology Group, were awarded for their technical paper, "Shear Rate Dependent Structure of Polymer Stabilized TiO2 Dispersions," on May 7, 2012 at the American Coatings Show and Conference in Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. van Dyk and Dr. Nakatani were awarded for their documentation of a series of studies on titanium dioxide's response to forces that occur when paint is stirred or applied to a surface with a brush, roller or sprayer. Working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the team tracked how molecular weight and hydrophobicity of various polymeric dispersants affect TiO2 dispersion in paints. Using an advanced technique called Rheo Ultra Small-Angle Neutron Scattering, or Rheo-USANS, the Dow team was able to pinpoint conditions under which aggregates of small TiO2 particles break apart or cluster together in liquid paint. As a result, Dr. van Dyk and Dr. Nakatani were able to identify polymers that work best in keeping TiO2 particles well dispersed.
In research news the folks that brought you the fax machine and GPS havecome up with another potentially world-changing invention: a bottle coating so slick that every last bit of ketchup slides out quickly and easily.
In what could be a disruptive technology for the ketchup industry, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor has found a solution to getting the last clingy globs of ketchup (or honey or jelly) out of a bottle.
No word yet on how it could affect ketchup sales, but the technology uses a new type of food-grade coating that has the slipperiness of a liquid but the rigidity of a solid. In other words, it makes the ketchup come out faster. The slick coating - dubbed LiquiGlide - was developed by the Varanasi Research Group, a lab run by Kripa Varanasi, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.
Varanasi's lab has put videos online showing ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and jelly sliding right out of containers treated with LiquiGlide, urged by nothing more than a gentle tilt of the container itself.
Varanasi, who worked at General Electric Co. and did research for a Defense Department agency before starting his lab at MIT, is surprised and amused by the amount of attention his upgraded ketchup bottle has generated.
"It just went completely bonkers," he said.
As a mechanical engineer who develops nano-engineered surfaces and coating technologies, Varanasi usually works on large-scale energy and water projects, like developing surfaces that keep ice off wind turbines and airplanes or dust off solar panels.
His other research projects include inventing coatings that enable oil and water to flow through pipes with greater efficiency and considering how to cool nuclear reactors more effectively.
"We usually think about big things," he said. "Big, big things."
Varanasi's research is generally funded by federal grants and money from private industry, but in the beginning of this year he decided he wanted the lab to bring a product to the consumer market. The super-slippery structured liquid coating that his team invented back in 2009 seemed to be a good candidate.
"The real idea for this came from honey," he said. "I was thinking about honey and how hard it is to scrape honey out of the bottom of the jar. At the end, it is very difficult to get anything out."
Varanasi said LiquiGlide is food grade and made of FDA-approved food materials. "It could even be made of organic food materials for the Whole Foods crowd," he said.
The coating can be applied to plastic, glass and metal, and Varanasi said it can be applied relatively inexpensively using techniques that already are used to coat the insides of bottles.
"We've talked to all the people in the supply chain going from equipment makers to bottle makers to food companies, and they love the idea," he said.
Variations on LiquiGlide could be applied to other types of bottles as well.
"Now we're thinking about bottled cosmetics," Varanasi said. "You buy this expensive lotion and half of it is in the bottle and doesn't want to come out. All of us have been there. At least, my wife has been there."
In personnel news, Quest Specialty Chemicals, a portfolio company of Audax Group and Moelis Capital Partners, announced the appointment of Doug Mattscheck as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 29th.
Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA, Quest formulates and manufactures coatings for automotive aftermarket, architectural, industrial, and roofing applications. Fred Quinn, Quest's Co-Founder and CEO, will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors and maintain an active role in directing Quest's strategy and leading acquisitions. Gerry Loftus, Quest's Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, will join Quest's Board of Directors and maintain an active role in supporting the growth of the business.
Mattscheck has extensive experience and a proven track record of growing companies through acquisitions and improving operations in the Specialty Coatings and Building Materials industries. He was most recently the President and Chief Executive Officer of AGY, one of the world's leading manufacturers of specialty glass fiber and related coatings. Prior to AGY, Mattscheck was President of the Technical Fabrics Division of Saint-Gobain and held executive positions with H.B. Fuller, Schlegel Corporation, and DuPont.
Quest Specialty Chemicals, a leader in the specialty coatings industry, is a family of proven technologies and specialty coatings for the construction, industrial, transportation and automotive aftermarket industries. Quest operates under the Matrix Systems, RAABE, Hydro-Stop, United Coatings, Patriot Paint, StreetBond, Foxcolor, and Zolatone brand names.
In nanotechnology news, coating multiwalled carbon nanotubes with a polymer appears to reduce the surface reactivity of the tubes and so makes these materials safer for biomedical applications, like imaging and drug delivery. This is the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and Northwestern University in Chicago who say that the polymer forms a "brush-like" structure on the surface of the tubes that prevents them from reacting with biological cell membranes.
"We have shown that coating MWCNTs with the polymer Pluronic F108 makes the tubes disperse more easily and also reduces their surface reactivity," team member Xiang Wang told nanotechweb.org. "Surface reactivity is responsible for inflammatory reactions in lung cells, for example."
The researchers say that such potentially hazardous interactions take place inside cellular structures called lysosomes. Damaged lysosomes in lung macrophages switch on pathways that ultimately lead to chronic inflammation and fibrosis, explains Wang.
According to the team, PF108 forms a protective brush-like structure on the surface of the nanotubes that stabilizes the tubes inside lysosomes and prevents the nanomaterials from interacting with the lysosomal membrane.
"We believe that PF108 could be used as a coating for MWCNTs so that they can be more safely used in nanotherapeutics, diagnosis and imaging," said Wang. "Our study also demonstrates the principle of 'safe-by-design' strategies for nanomaterials in general by rationally changing the surface properties of a material."
The same group has already performed similar experiments on zinc oxide nanoparticles and silver nanoplates and has found that certain shapes are safer than others. The researchers plan to continue their studies on a wider range of nanomaterials still, such as those routinely being used in industry.
The present work is described in Nano Letters.
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BASF will participate in Offshore Wind China 2012 Conference & Exhibition from May 30-June 1, 2012 to demonstrate its high-performance wind energy-related products and comprehensive solutions that increases production efficiency and durability of wind energy equipment. BASF will showcase its fullest series of wind energy related solutions to date in Asia...more
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And finally, with more than 120 materials and technologies, Bayer MaterialScience LLC's building solutions make it easier for architects to meet their green building goals without sacrificing design aesthetics. Bayer featured its broad portfolio of building materials and technologies during this year's American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention and Design Expo held in Washington, D.C...more
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