BASF to Sell Part of Relius, Novozymes Develops Fungus, Stanford Develops Hardcoat
- Aug 21, 2012
Hello and welcome to your early week international coatings industry update, brought to you by SpecialChem. Deals and research were the order of the day for the latter part of last week, and they will be among our topics for this issue.
BASF and Prosol Lacke + Farben GmbH signed a contract regarding the sale of the decorative paints business of Relius Coatings GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and Relius France SAS in France. The business encompasses construction paints and plaster as well as varnishes and glazes for construction application and is mainly based in Germany, France and some other selected countries in Europe. The sale of the business includes the Memmingen site in Germany as well as 30 distribution points in Germany and France. The transfer is scheduled to be completed on November 30, 2012. Currently, about 350 employees work in the decorative paints business of Relius Coatings in Germany and France. Prosol will take-over the employment contracts of these employees.
The decorative paints business of Relius in the Netherlands is not part of the transaction. BASF is currently negotiating the sale of this part of the RELIUS COATINGS business. The industrial coatings business of Relius Coatings at the Oldenburg site in Germany is also not affected and will remain an integral part of BASF.
Here's some potential good news for the BDO market. Novozymes has succeeded in developing a fungus that enables production of malic acid from renewable raw materials instead of oil. Malic acid is used as a flavor enhancer in the food industry and can be converted into other chemical derivatives used for a variety of plastic, polymer and resin products. Novozymes is now out-licensing the technology to partners who are interested in producing and commercializing malic acid and derivatives made from renewable raw materials instead of oil.
"This is our first biochemical building block and a major milestone towards building a biochemical industry together with partners," says Novozymes' executive VP Thomas Videbaek. "Oil-based products are all around us, and biochemicals produced from renewable raw materials meet a global need for sustainable alternatives. This need is growing due to concerns about crude oil scarcity and price fluctuations."
In research news, a superhard mixture of crushed carbon spheres and a hydrocarbon solvent is the world's first hybrid crystalline/amorphous material. Its creation by an international scientific team that included Wendy Mao, a Stanford University professor and SLAC researcher, was announced in this week's issue of Science magazine.
The new material is one of a class that is hard enough to dent diamond, the hardest known material. The team created it by squeezing a mixture of soccer-ball-shaped carbon-60 molecules and a xylene solvent to extremely high pressures - up to 600,000 times atmospheric pressure - in a device called a diamond anvil cell. The cell holds a tiny amount of material that is pressed between the flattened tips of two opposing diamonds. Scientists can shine lasers or X-rays through the transparent diamonds to observe and identify any atomic-scale changes caused by the rising pressure. The new materials were created at Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source by a team mostly associated with the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
As new technologies come online, no segment of our industry is growing faster than the corrosion resistant market. To increase their share of the market, Valspar recently introduced a new product. According to Valspar, its new Valspar MAX Anti-Rust aerosol paint provides two times greater corrosion protection than the leading competition, as proven in independent testing.
According to Katie Whiting, product manager, aerosols for Valspar, Valspar MAX Anti-Rust aerosol paint was independently tested against the competition using the ASTM B117 process. After 240 hours of salt-fog exposure, Valspar MAX Anti-Rust was found to provide two times greater corrosion protection than the leading competitor's product.
The product also features a new, award-winning "twist and lock" cap design, which makes the spray painting experience easier, faster and cleaner, the company says.
A fortune is made annually in the DIY market with widgets that make it easier to get the paint on a substrate. These products usually fall into the area of cleanliness and ease of coating.
Rockler Woodworking & Hardware has introduced a new lid for quart cans that makes it easier to store, mix, and pour paints and finishes.
The Mixing Mate has a built-in mixing breaker with a crank handle, so you can stir the contents before you open the can. A spout with a spring-loaded trigger - much like the spout on a syrup dispenser - makes it easier to pour out the paint or finish without drips or spills. Cam clamps lock the lid onto a standard can, creating a tight seal.
The device is made of nonmetal components, so it can be used with water- and solvent-based finishes and latex paints. The Mixing Mate sells for $14.99. It is available at Rockler stores and retailers that sell Rockler products, or it can be ordered from the company's catalog or website.
In an innovation in the nuclear maintenance coatings industry, Underwater Construction Corporation (UCC) Director of Global Nuclear Services, Philip McDermott announced that UCC and TFT Nuclear have recently completed an interesting nuclear industry project using their Advanced Underwater Coatings System. Yielding exceptional results, this project was the third phase in support of a nuclear plants "Life Extension Program".
The concrete, epoxy lined spent fuel basin and handling ponds were relined underwater by nuclear divers as dewatering was not a viable option.
The fuel basin contained fuel, radioactive components and radioactive debris accumulated over the course of many years of plant operation. The concrete fuel basins epoxy coating system had deteriorated to a condition which warranted relining. Coating deficiencies found with the original epoxy coating included blistering, delamination, cracking and mechanical damage.
The third phase of the project consisted of approximately 300 square meters of inspection, preparation and coatings application. The strategic use of nuclear divers proved to be a safe, efficient, and cost effective for the nuclear utility.
UCC's Advanced Underwater Coatings System utilizes TFT Nuclear's Bio-Dur 560 Underwater Coatings Product which has undergone extensive testing and has been in use in nuclear facilities worldwide for more than 15 years. This coatings system has continually proven to be the ideal underwater epoxy coating method for large areas, including concrete spent fuel basins.
EV Group, a supplier of coating equipment for the photovoltaics, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, and Brisbane Materials Technology, a specialty materials company, last week announced they are collaborating to provide a total solution for anti-reflective coatings for the PV market. Under a strategic cooperation agreement, EVG has optimized its large-area coating systems for BMT's unique materials and processes, enabling high-yield fabrication of AR coatings with industry-leading performance and cost.
The technology enables the creation of a nano-porous silicon dioxide film from a liquid precursor at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, making this technology compatible with all existing PV-module and solar glass manufacturing lines. The SiO2 film is covalently bonded to the glass surface to give maximum durability and field reliability. The coatings have undergone rigorous testing to IEC 61215 standards, and have successfully completed a 2.5-year accelerated aging test equivalent to more than 20 years of field application.
EVG has installed a pilot line for large-area coating demonstration at its Austria headquarters.
The International Technology Roadmap for PV (ITRPV) specifies the introduction of AR coatings on solar cover glass beginning in 2013, and then moving into mainstream production going forward. "Our AR coatings improve the peak power output of PV modules by 3 percent, at the industry's lowest cost per square meter," said Dr. Gary H. Wiseman, Founder and CEO of BMT.
"Our broadband AR coatings, with their excellent angular performance, should increase the energy output of a PV module by 5 to 6 percent or more when averaged over an entire day. Combining our unique materials technology with EVG's field proven manufacturing systems allows us to provide a complete turnkey AR coating solution to customers."
Added Dr. Thorsten Matthias, EV Group Business Development Director, "Working with BMT will allow EVG to extend to the solar market the expertise in coating systems that we have built up over more than 15 years in the semiconductor and display industries. Together, we will be able to advance ITRPV requirements while quickly ramping to a high-volume manufacturing coating solution with greater flexibility, reliability and cost-effectiveness compared to competitive offerings."
I thought seasonal affective disorder was frankly one of those "made-up diseases until my mother was diagnosed with it about five years ago. Autumn is a tough time for her, accompanied by general depression and malaise. But here is something that could help, and it's a coating. A window coating designed to let in additional light could be key to boosting people's mood in winter, suggest German researchers.
The team has developed an innovative coating that lets in more light than the average window, particularly at the blue end of the spectrum.
"A lack of light leads to high levels of melatonin, which can result in problems sleeping and concentrating, as well as depression and other psychological impairments," said researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research in Würzburg in a statement.
Nobody's ever made glass like this before. It makes you feel as if the window is permanently open," said researcher Walther Glaubitt.
So could this be the key to helping treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - also known as winter depression - which sees sufferers' moods drop in the autumn and winter months? Many respond to light treatments that boost the mood when days are shorter and darker.
"The coating we've developed helps people to feel they can perform better and makes it less likely they will fall ill," said fellow researcher Probst.
In research news, researchers at The University of Nottingham have discovered a new class of polymer material that is resistant to bacteria such as E-Coli. The breakthrough, they believe, could lead to a significant reduction in hospital infections and medical device failures, a problem which currently costs the NHS £1billion a year.
Intended as coatings in the first instance, these new materials prevent infection by stopping bacteria forming communities known as biofilms at the earliest possible stage. In the laboratory, experts were able to reduce the numbers of bacteria by up to 96.7% compared with a commercially available silver containing catheter. They were also effective at resisting bacterial attachment in a mouse implant infection model.
Bacteria don't seem to like to attach to the new materials, which could be used as a coating for medical devices -- a kind of Teflon for catheters and other hospital equipment whose contaminated surfaces can give patients infections, the researchers write in their paper, published August 12 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
"In a hospital, bacteria attach to glass or silicone," said Chien-Yi Chang, a biologist at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. who worked on the study. "The bacteria just love the glass. They hate our material, but that's a good thing."
Bacteria often like to gather and stick to surfaces in communities called biofilms. The new plastics resist biofilm formation. The body's immune system is more easily able to attack free-floating bacteria than these films, so devices coated in the biofilm Teflon might help the body ward off infections on its own, said Morgan Alexander, a University of Nottingham materials scientist who led the study.
Chang, Alexander and their team, including scientists in the U.K. and the U.S., discovered the biofilm-repelling plastics by testing thousands of plastic drops they arranged on small glass rectangles. When team members found plastics that seemed able to repel bacteria, they coated catheters with the materials and stuck the catheters in a soup with bacteria including E. coli and the bacterium that causes staph infections.
The researchers then compared their catheters with state-of-the-art, silver-coated catheters used in hospitals today. Medical devices now often incorporate silver in their coatings because silver kills bacteria. Yet the new plastics-coated catheters harbored 96.7 percent less bacteria than silver-coated catheters.
A plastic-coated catheter may have another advantage over silver-coated ones, too, the researchers said. The new plastics work by avoiding biofilm buildup without killing bacteria, so they may not lead bacterial populations to develop resistance the way antibiotic use can lead to resistant infections.
The team has also implanted their plastic-coated devices in mice and found the mice's immune systems are able to resist infections.
The next step is to find a cheaper, easier way to manufacture the promising plastics -- an essential step to getting device companies to try the new materials, Alexander said.
Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust, which funded the research, said: "Infections caused by microbial biofilms binding to the surface of implants often cannot be treated with conventional antibiotics. This makes them a significant challenge in patient care, particularly for those with inserted medical devices like catheters, heart valves and prosthetic joints.
"The discovery of these new polymers is a great example of how advances in materials science are being exploited in our efforts to improve the performance of critical medical components. Just as materials science gave us the non-stick saucepan, so we look forward to the day of the 'non-stick' medical device."
In other news, BlueScope and Nippon Steel Corporation have agreed to form a new joint venture encompassing BlueScope's ASEAN and North American building products businesses. Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) of Japan will be the world's second largest steelmaker following completion of its merger with Sumitomo Metals...
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Wacker will, for the first time, showcase a solvent-free silicone coating for electrical insulators at CIGRE 2012. The one-component emulsion called POWERSIL® 570 PLUS is applied by spraying and then cures to form a water-repellent silicone coating. The coating considerably increases the reliability and fail-safe characteristics of insulators for overhead T&D power lines...
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McCain Manufacturing announced the dramatic expansion of its North American powder coating operations. Housed at McCain's 100,000-square-foot, LEED-certified manufacturing facility in Vista, California - the two cutting-edge installations include an automated conveyor and large-scale batch powder coating system...
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And finally, Verdezyne, Inc. has been granted a US Patent for a bio-based adipic acid production process. U.S. Patent No. 8,241,879, titled "Biological Methods for Preparing Adipic Acid", covers one of the company's proprietary processes for selectively converting non-petroleum oils into adipic acid - a key component used to manufacture sustainable nylon 6,6, TPU resins and coatings from renewable sources...
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