The increasing use of water-borne coatings in industrial applications is expected to gain pace in coming years, with companies driven by tightening global and local regulations that restrict VOC emissions and hazardous air pollutants. Consumer pressure is also growing, with greater awareness of sustainability and green building issues leading to increased manufacturer responsibility and improved user safety.
What are water-borne coatings?
Water-borne coatings use water rather than solvents to disperse resin, making them easy to apply and much more environmentally friendly. Their smaller environmental impact and low emissions lead to better indoor air quality and a lower risk of allergies. Generally, they also provide sufficient surface protection properties, including corrosion and abrasion resistance as well as color and gloss stability.
Sustainable solutions for wood
Durability is essential for industrial wood applications. For exterior claddings, for example, the coating needs to last a minimum of ten to 15 years. Manufacturers of water-borne coatings need to develop the best possible product to protect the substrate, while also complying with increasingly strict regulations. Two-in-one solutions are another big trend, with products suitable for use from the top to the bottom of an application, as both primer and overcoat.
Doing more for metal
In metals protection, despite improvements in raw materials and rapid advances in product development, industrial water-borne coatings are still less tolerant when it comes to application conditions and surface preparation. They are also often weaker in performance when compared to solvent-borne products. To enable wider use, the performance of water-borne coatings needs to match that of solvent-based alternatives, but the higher costs of high-performance water-based alternatives often outweigh the sustainability benefits of making the switch. More work needs to be done in this area, and a joint effort from multiple stakeholders will be needed to drive technology and encourage change.
For decades Tikkurila has been a pioneer in the manufacture of sustainable solutions that are safe for both people and the environment. We have over 300 eco-labeled products, and 85% of the decorative paints we sell are water-borne. All of our low-emission, water-borne paints are manufactured from high-quality raw materials, and the product properties ensured with a thorough set of field and laboratory tests. Our water-borne products have also been proven to be durable, enabling long maintenance painting intervals.