By Philip Green
Earlier this year, I attended the European Coatings Show in Nuremburg, Germany. The show takes place every two years, and this was a record-setting year: 1,135 exhibitors and more than 30,000 trade visitors, all in seven halls. Even in three days you can only touch the surface; you have to be very selective on how you use your time. In case you didn’t get to see everything you wanted to see, I have gathered some highlights below.
TiO2 is apparently in very short supply and prices are going up.
By June, all titanium dioxide (TiO2) grades will have reached USD3000-3100/T and in some markets, the Chinese grades are now more expensive than European grades. A lot of the major TiO2 suppliers are at present not accepting orders for August and September. For the European summer months, even the biggest European paint companies have already been put on allocation by the TiO2 majors.
At ECS, the TiO2 stands for some of the smaller producers were quite busy as the larger paint companies scramble to meet all their TiO2 requirements for the northern summer. Some TiO2 producers are saying that TiO2 prices may reach USD3500-4000/T by year end. They also feel that the Cristal/Tronox merger will increase costs as the new entity will decrease costs by cutting unprofitable TiO2 production units out of their portfolio.
Continued shortage of MMA/BA and Styrene monomer
Polymer producers are saying that they do not see any easing in the shortage of methyl methacrylate/n-butyl acrylate (MMA/BA) and Styrene Monomer until at least the last quarter of 2017, with Pure Acrylic/styrene acrylic (PA/SA) latex prices continuing to rise as the polymers remain in short supply.
Also I picked up from several Polymer stands that a lot of European and North/East African PA and SA end users are relooking at vinyl acetate (VA) and vinyl esters of versatic acid (VeoVA) for medium-low quality end uses. Whether this trend will reach the Republic of South Africa (RSA) is debatable, but I feel that it should be discussed with local polymer suppliers. It might relieve other monomer shortages but it might also put pressure on VA and VeoVA stocks, possibly making the local supply situation worse, not better.
Meetings and discussion topics
Then I spent 30 minutes with the American/Dutch marketing team of Shephard; we looked at their range of IR Black pigments.
- Chromaflo: One of the largest and possibly busiest stands at the show. Most of the staff were either European or Australian; nobody from Chromaflo RSA was present. Apparently Chromaflo RSA’S area of influence/sales stops at the northern end of Mozambique;
- Colouris is a 19-year-old French Colourant supplier who specializes in cloned tinting systems (Me Too and Me Too +) so that the customer’s original DB can be continued to be used.
- Fluid Management is in the process of re-designing their tinting machine to make it purge free and more accurate, and provide more statistics for the end user. Fluid Management is still favored by a lot of large Colourant producers.
I found the following quite interesting:
- Byk-Chemie GmbH:
- Make an economic epoxy easy-to-clean and robust
- “Colorful” corrosion protection and high stain resistance with waterborne coatings
- Dow Europe: New 2-in-1 self-priming solution with advanced PRIMAL PR 45
- Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals: Efficient paint production with Bermacoll and Bermacell cellulose ethers
- Covestro Deutschland: New thermally-activated PU hardener for waterborne 1K stoving systems
- IMERYS Minerals: Wollastonite in industrial coatings
- Coatex, Arkema Group:
- Angus Chemical Company: Improving paint stability with versatile amino alcohols
Need a game plan for your next trade show?
Check out these articles:
- Connecting the Dots: Attending Other Industry Trade Shows for Inspiration & Innovation
- Strategies for Conferences and Trade Shows – What, Why, How
About the Author
Philip Green, born and educated in Manchester, UK, has an Honour Degree in Nuclear/Radiation/Environmental Chemistry. After working at a Research Nuclear Reactor in the UK, then as an Explosives Chemist in South Africa, he finally joined the South African paint industry in 1982. He first worked for Dulux South Africa from 1982-1996, working his way up from bench chemist to Senior Development Manager for all Decorative Products in Southern Africa. He then went to Mauritius where he was Technical/Production Manager for a paint company SOFAP LTEE. He returned to South Africa in 1998 and has been an independent Paint Technology Consultant ever since. He has worked in 48 countries around the world, 21 in Africa, and has had over 50 papers published in journals and at paint conferences.