A new research and development (R&D) center which will develop pioneering products for the rapidly growing area of powderon wood has been opened by paints and coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) at its site in Como, Italy.
The new R&D facility—which features an application lab, process lab, and analytical and testing lab—is dedicated to delivering low-cure powder coatings for use on heat-sensitive substrates (such as medium-density fiberboard, plywood, thermoplastics, and composites).
The site’s inauguration follows the recent acquisition of Stahl’s powder coatings activities, which gave AkzoNobel access to a broad range of solutions, including unique ultraviolet (UV) technology. The Como center will now focus on developing an expanding portfolio of low-cure solutions, including low bake, UV, and ultra-low bake (ULB) powder technologies. This will enable customers to use less energy during production, gain process speed, and boost their own sustainability profile.
“We’re excited to build on our global leadership position and enter new markets while bringing more surfaces to life for our customers,” says Daniela Vlad, director of AkzoNobel’s powder coatings business. “In addition to strengthening our position as a technology leader, the new facility will also help to accelerate our speed to market, so we can reach our customers even faster.”
She adds that this is only the first phase of the company’s expansion into powder on wood, with plans in place to open additional R&D centers in Asia and North America.
With customers worldwide looking to embrace sustainability benefits, powder on wood has become one of the fastest growing areas within coatings. As a result, the manufacturer believes it is well placed to make the most of the new market opportunities.
“The dedicated know-how we have in the new R&D center will enable us to develop a broad range of innovative new surface solutions, particularly for our wood coatings customers,” Vlad says. “Having recently expanded our Como site, it means we can now accommodate a European manufacturing facility for powder on wood and the new R&D center at the same location, which will speed up the service capability we offer to customers in this segment.”
The Como site is AkzoNobel’s biggest plant in Europe for producing powder coatings. As well as increasing capacity, the recent €20-million expansion also sharpened the company’s focus on sustainable manufacturing.
AkzoNobel supplies powder coatings to customers worldwide, covering market segments ranging from domestic appliances, architecture and automotive, to furniture, IT, and general industrial applications.
Source: AkzoNobel, www.akzonobel.com.