BASF Opens Africa Dispersions, Lambiotte Re-ups Univar, Perstorp Names Innovia
- Sep 6, 2012
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In the news, the industry seems to be taking a breather after the DPC announcement, but there are plenty of other announcements, particularly in European distribution. But let's start with an important plant opening in Africa.
BASF has opened its first production plant for dispersions in South Africa located at Umbogintwini Industrial Complex in Durban. With this new production facility BASF will serve its customers in the fast growing South African and Sub-Saharan African coatings and construction industry with acrylic dispersions based on state-of-the-art technologies.
South Africa is the largest market for dispersions in Sub-Saharan Africa. "With this new facility, we are well positioned to support our customers' growth in South Africa and its neighboring countries providing BASF's high quality, premium service and reliable supply," says Mr. Jacques Delmoitiez, President, responsible for BASF's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In distribution news, Univar announced that it has renewed its agreement with Lambiotte & Cie. to distribute the company's range of eco-friendly acetals solvents. The agreement was first signed in 1995 and covers Belgium, France, Germany, Iberia, Italy, and Luxembourg on an exclusive basis, and Ireland and the United Kingdom non-exclusively. Lambiotte specializes in acetal synthesis and is able to produce very low-toxicity solvents, a large proportion of which are bio-sourced.
"Being able to offer our clients a diverse range of high-performance, eco-friendly products is an important part of our sustainability strategy and we are naturally delighted to continue our long-standing and successful relationship with Lambiotte in Europe," says Nicolas Lehmann, VP, Univar EMEA. "Our customers continue to look for ways to make their products more environmentally friendly and we expect this market to grow even further in the coming years."
In the UK and Ireland, Perstorp announced that a new collaboration has been agreed between Perstorp and Innovia Solutions Ltd in Q3 2012. Innovia Solutions Ltd will now be responsible for distributing a wider range of Perstorp products including polyalcohols, caprolactones, specialty polymers and coalescing agents. These products will mainly be aimed at customers in a number of key segments such as adhesives, coatings, resins, TPUs and plastics.
This agreement is an extension to the collaboration the companies have historically had with products specifically targeting the coatings and adhesives sectors. "In our efforts to better support existing and potential customers in the coatings and adhesives markets in the UK and Eire, Innovia Solutions fits our requirements very well," says Michael Austin, Market Development Manager - UK & Eire.
As we reported in our last issue, Washington D.C., USA-based private equity firm Carlyle Group LP announced the $4.9 billion acquisition of DuPont Performance Coatings, including its coatings plant in Mt. Clemens. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
DuPont Performance Coatings, a business unit of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., is expected to generate revenue of $4 billion in 2012, according to a news release.
DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said in a release, "The business continues to grow and deliver solid results. After a careful review, however, we have determined that DPC's full growth potential would be best realized outside DuPont and through the sale to Carlyle."
"This transaction is consistent with our vision to be the world's most dynamic science company and long-term strategy of driving competitive advantages in agriculture and nutrition, advanced materials and biotechnology, which represent high-growth, high-margin opportunities."
The coating unit, which primarily sold refinish product, was one of DuPont's lowest margin businesses and Carlyle believes that it can enhance the business.
"Through targeted investments we will support DPC's product development and growth objectives as it transitions to a stand-alone company. We look forward to working with management to fully realize DPC's great potential... DuPont Performance Coatings is a technology innovator and we look forward to building on its strong market presence to accelerate growth in emerging markets, particularly in China and Brazil."
DuPont publically characterized the deal in this way:
"After a careful review ..., we have determined that DPC's full growth potential would be best realized outside DuPont and through the sale to Carlyle. This transaction is consistent with our vision to be the world's most dynamic science company and long-term strategy of driving competitive advantages in agriculture and nutrition, advanced materials and biotechnology, which represent high-growth, high-margin opportunities."
DuPont also said that the company "plans to eliminate general corporate overhead costs that were previously allocated to DPC but are not part of the transaction." That sounds very like a layoff announcement, and DuPont said it would provide details at its next earnings announcement, which is scheduled for October 23. So look for more interesting news that might impact our industry then.
Delaware, USA-based DuPont will remain in the automotive sector after the sale, with its DuPont Automotive unit, which has its North American automotive business at its application development office in Troy, Michigan, USA. The remaining automotive arm for DuPont generates $3 billion in sales.
Also, in case you missed it, DuPont reported that it agreed to sell its insecticide business for $125 million to Switzerland-based Syngenta AG earlier last week.
There is also another deal that has been announced and on deck with another automotive paint manufacturer. Recently, PPG took a big step with the proposed spin-off of its commodity chemical business to Georgia Gulf. After the transaction is complete, it is estimated that more than two-thirds of PPG's sales will be generated by specialty coatings, optical, and material products.
In a structure used for tax efficiency, PPG's commodity chemical business will be spun off to PPG shareholders and then immediately merged with Georgia Gulf. The deal, which is expected to close in late 2012 or early 2013, will remove capital-intensive chlor-alkali production from PPG's books.
PPG's commodity chemical business is a major producer of chlor-alkali chemicals. In chlor-alkali production, the main feedstocks, salt brine and electricity, are combined to create chlorine and caustic soda -- two commodity chemicals used in a variety of end markets, including construction, industrial, and paper. The company's chlor-alkali business has performed well over the past year or so, as lower North American natural gas prices have brought down the cost of a key input, electricity generated from natural gas. However, in the long run, most financial types expected PPG's commodity chemical profitability to decline from recent operating margins of around 20%, as US natural gas costs rise.
So it seems that PPG has once again made a timely decision to enhance its long-term bottom line, while maintaining its primacy in the paint and coatings market.
In new products news, Hempel has announced the launch of its new solvent-free tank interior coating for storage and handling of crude oil and water at high temperatures. The Hempadur 35900 offers temperature resistance of up to 93°C, said the company which set up its operations in Qatar in 1981. The company has over 30 years experience offering quality coatings to the protective, marine and decorative segments.
The ISO 9001-certified production facility of Hempel currently supplies coatings and paints to all major industry projects in the country.
Being a low volatile organic compound (VOC) coating, the Hempadur 35900 is an environment-friendly product, Hempel said in a statement. A two-component solvent-free high-build amine-cured phenolic epoxy, Hempadur 35900 holds a Norsok approval and has already been approved by some of the world's largest oil & gas companies, making this coating extremely important to Qatar, which has 25.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the statement added.
Other claimed advantages include faster job completion, time, cost saving due to the fewer number of coats required. (it can be applied at high film thickness); excellent abrasion resistance; easy application (applied with standard spray equipment); enhanced corrosion protection; and glossy smooth coating surface, making it easy to clean.
Hempel said it expects major oil and gas companies in Qatar, especially those having ongoing maintenance programs, to use this 100 per cent solvent-free coating and leverage the benefits it offers.
In research news, there never seems to be any end to the things you can do with grapheme, one of the simplest forms of the most plentiful element on Earth. It has now been incorporated into a nanotechnological approach to synthesize superhybrophobic coatings which perform well both statically and dynamically. As you all know, the primary measurement to determine wettability is the angle between the solid surface and the surface of a liquid droplet on the solid's surface. For example, a droplet of water on a hydrophobic surface would have a high contact angle, but a liquid spread out on a hydrophilic surface would have a small one.
Surfaces where the contact angle is approaching 180° are called superhydrophobic and surfaces where the contact angle is approaching 0° are called superhydrophilic.
Researchers have now shown that it is possible to use graphene sheets to create a superhydrophobic coating material that shows stable superhydrophobicity under both static as well as dynamic (droplet impact) conditions.
Reporting their work in the August 22, 2012 online edition of Small ("Superhydrophobic Graphene Foams"), a team led by professors Hui-Ming Cheng from the Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science and Nikhil Koratkar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, demonstrated a novel macroscopic graphene structure composed of an integrated foam-like network of graphene sheets with well-controlled microscale porosity and roughness.
"Previous studies, including by my own group, had dispersed graphene in solution and drop cast or spin cast graphene coatings on surfaces to control their wetting," Koratkar said. "However, we found that under droplet impact conditions such films often fail as the droplet penetrates into the film and gets stuck or pinned into the surface roughness features. We wanted to create a more stable hydrophobic surface with strong entrapped air pockets. So we came up with the idea of the graphene foam which has large air pockets which can be preserved even under conditions of drop impact."
The researchers' novel idea was to grow graphene over a sacrificial nickel foam template and then leech away the nickel, leaving behind graphene foam with thin-layered graphene sheets that make up the walls of the foam. The foam is then coated with a 200nm layer of Teflon.
Since the graphene foam inherits the pore structure of the nickel foam template, this means that the pore size and structure of the graphene foam can be uniformly tuned by selecting the appropriate nickel foam template.
Koratkar explains that this type of porous structure excels at trapping air, which gives super-hydrophobicity to the structure. Also, as there are no physical breaks or interfaces in the macroscopic 3D graphene network, the graphene foam is mechanically strong and easy to handle and manipulate. "This is the first time that graphene has been used in such a systematic way to create super-hydrophobic structures," he added.
In order to gauge the ability of the foam to repel impacting water drops, the team performed droplet impact tests.
"Droplet rebound is important in lab-on-chip applications where droplet motion is desired and drop pinning is undesirable," explains Koratkar. "Similarly, self-cleaning and anti-fouling surfaces require mobile drops."
In their tests the team found that droplets remain completely intact during the collision and does not splinter into smaller drops. They rebound off the graphene foam without pinning to the surface or damaging the foam structure.
Koratkar pointed out that it would be interesting if one could use electro-wetting to control the wetting in real time: "Since graphene is conductive we can coat it with a dielectric and then use electric field to build charge across the water/graphene interface. This should allow us to control the surface tension of water, which should allow us to control the wettability in real time.
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Flint Group Print Media Europe's operation in Sweden and Denmark has appointed Heidelberg as its exclusive distributor for industry leading brands: K+E sheetfed offset inks, Varn Press Room Chemicals and dayGraphica blankets. The appointment of Heidelberg, as an exclusive partner to Flint Group creates a very attractive proposition to customers of both companies in Sweden and Denmark...
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Researchers from NCSU have developed a nanolithography technique to create technologies with biomedical applications. The technique relies on cantilevers which can be tipped with spheres made of polymer or with naturally occurring spores. The spheres and spores are coated with ink and dried. The spheres and spores are absorbent and will soak up water when exposed to increased humidity...
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And finally, the Inorganic Pigments business unit of the LANXESS has now published a case study on flagship buildings in Colombia. "Colombia Special" from the Colored Concrete Works series of publications describes the Plaza de la Libertad complex in Bogotá. The stately structures with impressive architectural features owe their distinctive coloration to pigments from the LANXESS Bayferrox range...
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