A Look at the Powder Coatings Market

by Kerry Pianoforte, editor, Coatings World

Powder coatings, unlike some traditional liquid coatings, do not require solvents in their formulation and are considered to be 100 percent solids. Powder coatings are typically applied electrostatically and then oven-cured. The end result is a hard finish that is often tougher than most conventional liquid coatings. Powder coatings can be used for a wide variety of applications and end-use markets, such as automotive parts, outdoor furniture, home appliances and metal furniture and architectural metal.

According to Chemark Consulting Group, powder coatings continue to take small, meaningful SOM (share-of-the-market) chunks of the global coatings market segment real estate.

While aggregating all types of global coatings together, it grew from $125.5 million in sales revenue in 2015 to $126.5 million in 2016, only a 1.1 percent AGR.

Conversely, powder coatings increased its SOM by 1 percent (from 6 percent in 2015 to 7 percent in 2016) and grew at 3.7 times the remainder of the coatings industry rates, at 3.9 percent.

According to Chemark analysts, powder coatings 2015 revenue at $7,951MM in 2015 grew at 3.7 percent to $8,248MM in 2016.

Powder coatings manufacturers that Coatings World spoke with reported growth for 2017. “The powder coatings market has continued to see substantial growth in 2017,” said Michael Cash, president, Industrial Coatings, Axalta Coating Systems. “We attribute this to a strong global economy and the ongoing desire to use the most sustainable and environmentally safe coating solutions. Continued advancements in technology have increased customer confidence in powder coatings, as they prove competitive to liquid solutions in color, design and durability, as well cost of application.”

“Powder coatings comprises a meaningful part of Axalta’s overall business and has proven to be one of our fastest growing segments,” Cash added. “Our sales growth in powder has remained at around twice the market rate consistently over the past four years. This year we’ve had the privilege of supplying powder coatings for monumental, global projects such as the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic torches and the sound barriers installed on Shanghai’s new Metro Line 17.”

Sherwin-Williams saw continued demand for powder coatings globally in 2017 with growth levels above GDP, and expect that this trend will continue throughout 2018. “This demand is in part driven by all the advantages that powder coatings can offer to the finishing marketplace,” said Tabitha McLeish, global marketing director-Powder, General Industrial Coatings, The Sherwin-Williams Company. “As customers continue to push the capability envelope on improved appearance of finishes; the ability to cure at lower temperatures or at much faster cure rates; extended durability for color, gloss and corrosion; thinner films; and greater metallic color space, powder coatings continue to step up to meet the challenge.”

Powder vs. liquid

Powder coatings often have an advantage over liquid for a number of reasons. “In suitable applications, powders provide excellent coverage, especially on corrosion-vulnerable edges,” said McLeish. “They also can deliver higher film thicknesses; up to 99 percent of powders can be recycled or reclaimed; and the ability to oven-cure induces the chemical reaction that provides a smooth finish.”

“Powder coatings are traditionally applied at a lower cost and are better for the environment, emitting zero or nearly zero volatile organic compounds (VOC),” said Cash. “Overspray can be recycled, eliminating product waste in contrast to liquid waste which can be more energy intensive to recycle and/or dispose of. Powder also has some aesthetic advantages, such as specialty effects like textures, veins and hammertones being easier to achieve than with other coating processes.”

Chemark reports that Asia-Pacific region continues to dominate in size at 43 percent SOM in 2015 and moved up a point to 44 percent SOM a year later in 2016. Western Europe follows at 25 percent for both years, with North America third but losing an SOM point at 16 percent in 2016, down from 17 percent in 2015. The remaining regions combine for a total of 14 percent in 2015 and remaining at 14 percent in 2016.

According to McLeish, the heavy equipment market has been strong in both Asia and South America due to the comeback of the construction market in Asia and a stronger agricultural equipment market in South America.

“Growth in these regions is expected to continue,” she stated. “Although the military market had been experiencing flat growth, that market is beginning to rebound, and some nice growth is anticipated. The US Department of Defense budget increases under the new administration are resulting in contract awards specific to asset protection programs requiring paint for durability and corrosion resistance. Environmental compliance will drive continued powder growth.”

Cash noted that he sees North America following the trend in Europe and China of using more powder coatings in the architectural extrusion market.

“For example, in Philadelphia we’ve been constructing our Global Innovation Center using Axalta products throughout and have found, whether it be in extrusions for the building, windows and doors, or lab furniture, that it’s logistically and economically beneficial to coat most of the building components with our powder coatings,” he added. “Automotive and Agricultural, Construction and Earthmoving equipment (ACE) are two other markets in which we see strong potential for growth. While powder has been a part of these markets historically, we’re finding businesses in these segments becoming more confident in the durability and performance of powder, using it on more parts and larger surfaces, including priming the exterior of vehicles.”

New products

Sherwin-Williams recently launched POWDURA 4000 Super Durable Polyester Powder TGIC-free line of products, for metal building product OEMs and job shops needing to provide AAMA 2604 level of performance. They are designed to address resistance to abrasion, impact, scuffing and scratching, and deliver a finish with long-term durability for a broad range of architectural applications. Most popular colors are available in stock, and available in 48 hours.

“It has long been recognized that although super-durable polyester TGICs are very robust systems, there are limitations in their flexibility, especially at higher film thicknesses or in multi-layer scenarios,” said McLeish. “To overcome this gap, Sherwin-Williams has developed a line of flexible super-durable TGIC coatings that will be launching in 2018. These coatings are formulated to have great flexibility at those higher film builds and in multi-coat applications, without sacrificing the appearance and durability characteristics our customers have come to expect from our products. We also continue to be excited about the acceleration of our One Cure systems.”

In January 2017, Axalta launched Alesta Lync, an innovative Dry-on-Dry (DOD) powder coating application system with an energy-efficient process, excellent edge corrosion protection and the ability to provide two paint layers with only one cure cycle. The result is a reduction of process time, carbon output and capital investment while increasing productivity.

This year Axalta also launched Nap-Gard 7-0015 internal pipe coatings, a good option for customers who need a flexible coating that provides corrosion protection in severe downhole environments up to 105°C (221°F) and Alesta non-slip powder coatings, which hold up to heavy traffic and harsh chemicals to provide an excellent solution for hazardous slip-prone areas on heavy duty equipment and platforms.

Other notable additions have been its next generation powder coatings for automotive coil springs, allowing enhanced chip stone resistance in a single coat application, and a string of new Plascoat thermoplastic technologies designed to protect substrates like battery trays, park furniture, and the undercarriages of military vehicles in the harshest of environments.

“In addition to new products, Axalta introduced the ICONICA collection in Europe, an assortment of 40 new metallic colors from our Alesta Super Durable powder coatings portfolio that represent modern dynamics of nature and humanity,” said Cash. “The ICONICA launch was synchronized with the world’s leading furniture and design fair in Milan, and visitors were encouraged to interact with and explore the outdoor installation of 40 colors under constantly changing light.”

Cash said that Axalta has a full pipeline of new technologies for a wide array of markets set to launch in 2018.

“We remain heavily focused on developing powder coatings to both make a difference in our customers’ businesses and lead the market in producing cutting edge technology,” he said. “For instance, we’ve invested heavily into our new generation of bonded metallics, which will be an exciting addition for us in the first quarter of next year.”

“We also expect to launch powder coatings that can be applied successfully to plastic and fiberglass composites, powder products with leading crevice coverage properties for extreme faraday cage challenges, a new range of powder products for electrical wire encapsulation, and the next generation Ultra Durable architectural product line for AAMA 2605 applications,” he continued.

Axalta also plans to continue to leverage popular technologies and expand them globally, such as working with its manufacturing facilities in North America and China to produce the ICONICA collection and rolling out Alesta ZeroZinc Primers globally. “With the cost of zinc on the rise, we’ve seen increased demand in these primers, which provide performance, cost and environmental benefits,” Cash said.

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Coatings World. To read the original article, please visit https://www.coatingsworld.com/issues/2017-12-01/view_features/powder-coatings-market-.