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At the European Coatings Show 2015 from April 21-23 in Nuremberg, Germany, Bayer MaterialScience will be introducing new milestones in polyurethanes.
“Our objective is to incorporate our partners along the value chain and their know-how into our development efforts as early as possible to ensure that our customers are successful in the market,” says Daniel Meyer, Head of the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties Business Unit and member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience. “We will increasingly offer material solutions resulting from development partnerships. We need to understand today what the customer needs from us tomorrow, that in turn provides him with new opportunities in the market.”
According to Bayer, customers are increasingly demanding products based on renewable raw materials. Environmental compatibility is becoming a market requirement. At the European Coatings Show, Bayer says it is showcasing a milestone in this field: Pentamethylene diisocyanate (PDI) is a new isocyanate, 70 percent of whose carbon content comes from biomass without generating any direct competition for food production. With this addition to its portfolio, Bayer can offer its customers an eco-friendly hardener component, which for them is a key differentiating factor. A comprehensive technology platform currently is being developed to evaluate additional uses for PDI-based raw materials in coatings, adhesives and other applications.
Bayer intends to bring the first PDI-based product to market in April 2015. Commercial manufacturing is to follow in 2016 with an annual capacity of up to 20,000 metric tons. These products will be manufactured in existing plants using energy-efficient gas-phase technology.
The need to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is spurring the development of lightweight motor vehicles made from a mix of different materials. For automakers, the cost- and energy-efficiency of the coating process plays a crucial role. Also very important is the appearance of a coating – from the purchase of a car to resale. Bayer explains it has developed an innovative and sustainable technology for coating plastic add-on parts at low temperature, which is designed specifically to address these issues.
Bayer claims the topcoats cure up to 30 percent faster than with established two-component polyurethane coatings, without compromising the outstanding appearance. In the medium term, the coating system will most likely be suitable for the mixed coating of plastic, composite and metal substrates. The low temperature makes it possible to fire the oven with alternative energy sources, such as district heat. This offers automakers a significant time and cost advantage, while also harbouring substantial ecological savings potential: A study conducted by the project team showed this technology can reduce energy consumption by 15 percent and CO2 emissions by 10 percent compared with the best current process.
The new technology is based on the use of a thermolatent hardener. After application, a coating formulated with this product initially flows unimpeded over the surface of the plastic, forming a uniform film. Not until the temperature is subsequently raised to approximately 90 °C is the hardener activated. It ensures rapid curing of the coating on the plastic substrate. No significant changes to the coating formulation are required.
Meyer took the presentation of this development as an opportunity to talk with experts in the field, Dr. Michael Hilt (Fraunhofer IPA Institute) and Dr. Karl-Friedrich Dössel (Dössel Consulting), about the “Future of Automotive Coating.”
Bayer says it remains committed to its planned global capital expenditures. The company plans to complete construction next year of a new, 50,000 tpa production facility for hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) in Caojing, China. 2016 will also see capacities for polyurethane dispersions (PUD) expanded at the Dormagen site. Over the next few years, plans for Caojing include an expansion of PUD capacities – until 2017 – and a new production facility for isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI).
Market-driven innovations are a key factor contributing to future growth. “Through partnerships with customers along the value chain, we have acquired detailed knowledge about needs and trends in key customer industries,” explained Meyer. “We then develop custom solutions for these markets.” By so doing, the company enhances the competitiveness of its customers. Furthermore, new applications and technologies – also outside the coatings and adhesives industries – are playing an increasingly important role.
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