Coatings that make use of water as a solvent are generally called water-borne coatings. Usage of water as the solvent makes these coatings more environmentally friendly as opposed to other coating systems such as solvent-borne coatings or power coatings that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful to the environment. Water-borne coatings are employed in end-user applications such as wood coatings, furniture coatings, plastic coatings, and printing inks. Polyacrylate, polyvinyl ethers, or polyurethane resins are generally used as binders in water-borne coatings. Additionally, epoxy and alkyd resins can be formulated for water-borne coating applications.
Currently, water-borne coatings account for more than 50% share of the global coatings market. Asia Pacific (APAC) accounts for the largest market share of around 30% of the global water-borne coatings market by volume. Major application industries include industrial and architectural industries. Industrial applications include general industrial (which includes aluminum extrusions, metal furniture, automotive components, appliances, and HVAC), automotive OEM, metal packaging, protective coatings, and automotive refinishes. Out of these, general industrial applications accounts for the largest market share.
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Continuous enforcement of regulations regarding emission of VOCs from coatings has been driving growth of the market for water-borne coatings. These regulations aim to limit the VOC content in paints. This, in turn, limits VOC emissions into the atmosphere. Water-borne paints are a class of coatings with VOC content that is way below the permissible levels, thus gaining increased importance of late. The new generation of water-borne architectural coatings that are under development are environmentally neutral and emit low VOC, provide harder coatings, and demonstrates more efficient weather resistance as compared to traditional latex paints. Over and above their low VOC content, the water-borne coatings currently employed in the market have advantages such as greater durability and the ability to dry faster than alkyds with much lower odor.
Limitations of water-borne coatings include weakness in adhesion over marginally prepared surfaces and difficulty in application at low temperatures. Water-borne coatings generally do not have strong adhesive properties when applied over grimy, chalky, and peeling surfaces as compared to traditional alkyds. The limitation of weakness in adhesion over marginally prepared surfaces demands thorough surface preparation. This requires increased working time and associated increase in costs. Water-borne coatings encounter difficulties in establishing their presence in regions with cold climatic conditions due to poor adhesive property at low temperature.
Few of the recent technology advancements in water-borne coatings include core-shell technology, latent crosslinking, 1K technologies that perform similar to 2K, resins with easy-to-clean properties, and resins based on green chemistries. Key players in the global water-borne coatings market include Akzo Nobel NV, Asian Paints Limited, Nippon Mektron, Ltd., PPG Industries, The Sherwin-Williams Company, and The Valspar Corporation. Other prominent vendors in the market are Axalta Coating Systems, LLC, Benjamin Moore & Co., Berger Paints India Limited, Brillux GmbH & Co. KG, DAW Caparol, Diamond Vogel, Dunn–Edwards Corporation, Jotun, Kansai Paint Co., Ltd., Cromology, Meffert AG Farbwerke, and Tikkurila Oyj.
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