Japan: Japan warms to heat-insulation paints

26 October 2012 08:47  [Source: ICB]

As Japan seeks to tackle environmental concerns, rising demand for heat-insulation paints has led the coatings sector to adopt a raft of new products and technologies


Environmentally friendly paints are in development for the automobile industry

Japan's paint and coating industry is increasingly focusing on environmental issues such as the urban heat island phenomenon, countermeasures to global warming and reduction of VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions.

Heat-insulation paints are seeing particular growth. These are applied to the roof or exterior walls of buildings and reflect infrared radiation, insulating the building from heat. Domestic paint and coating production fell from about 1.6m tonnes in 2010 to about 1.56m tonnes in 2011. However, annual shipments of heat-insulation paints from April 2010 to March 2011 exceeded 10,000 tonnes for the first time, says the Japan Paint Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha produces alumina-coated rod-like titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles for heat-insulation paints. In the fourth quarter 2011, it started shipping samples of a new black pigment, calcium titanate with manganese solid solution, as a substitute for carbon black.

Sakai Chemical Industry, Japan's largest TiO2 manufacturer, is also focusing on heat-insulation paints. New products released last year have excellent weatherability, reflecting infrared and ultra-violet (UV) radiation efficiently.

Tayca Corp is promoting sales of rutile TiO2 with a particle size of about 1 micrometer (micron), more than three times the size of ordinary TiO2 particles. It has a high refractive index and is highly weather resistant, reflecting heat quite effectively.

The Japanese subsidiary of The Shepherd Color Company, which leads the world market for black heat-absorbing pigments, has substantial market shares for other colour pigments as well. The company launched a range of low-cost orange and chrome-free black pigments last year.

Yamamoto Trading handles products released last year by Tokan Material Technology, including chrome oxide pigments, ferric oxide composite pigments and other composite pigments consisting of chrome oxide, ferric oxide and cobalt oxide, each of which is provided as an infrared radiation-reflecting material. The company also distributes other infrared radiation-reflecting materials; for example, Merck's proprietary mica coated with TiO2.

The automotive industry is increasingly environmentally conscious. Nissan Motor developed a new coating technology with a paint company and will be introducing it at its domestic car plants. The "3 Wet 1 Preheat" process uses water-based middle and base coatings and has a range of colours. Water-based coatings result in poor colour development if they are not preheated, so an additive is included to separate the middle coating, with the amount of resin adjusted in proportion to the pigment weight concentration (PWC) to improve the adhesion between the base and clear coatings.

In architectural paints, many paint makers are focusing on anti-corrosion water-borne zinc-rich paints. Nippon Paint, the second-largest paint and coating manufacturer in Japan, has developed water-based heavy-duty coatings along with resin in alkaline solution with a pH of 8.5 to prevent corrosion of the substrate and an additive that repels rain after coating.

Although powder coatings are environmentally promising, their share in the domestic market is low, but shipments were up by 3% year on year to 36,263 tonnes in 2011. In particular, demand for primid curing agents in powder coatings is increasing, according to an importer.

For more stories from Japan's chemical industry, read The Chemical Daily online

Author: Tetsuya Kobayashi

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