Ceresana, the German market research company, just released its Market Study of Automotive Coatings for 2018. According to Ceresana, “The report examines demand and revenues of 7 world regions and 16 countries from 2008 to 2024.” It focuses on electrodepostion coating and the primer/surfacer, basecoat, and clearcoat layers.
Sometimes, the small tidbits are the most interesting. For instance, there are currently 1.3 billion automobiles in the world with more than 95 million new registrations added every year!
So, who says millennials aren’t interested in cars?
Demand for new automotive coatings totaled 3.1 million metric tonnes in 2016 and they are forecasting a growth rate of 3.7% per year. This makes the new coating segment larger than the refinish segment, which suggests that people are buying new cars faster than they are wrecking and repairing old ones!
Let’s hear it for automatic braking systems!
Solvent on the Rise
But the most interesting revelation of all is that the use of solvent based coatings is on the rise!
Yes, you read that right! (I did a double-take, too!)
After all the work to create new and better waterborne coatings to reduce emissions and to address worker health concerns, it seems that the use of polyurethane coatings is on the rise – and this means a rise in the use of solventborne coatings.
Why? Because they fit the application better – that’s why.
Environmentalism is Dead – Long Live Environmentalism!
Before you go lamenting the demise of environmentalism (in spite of what you may have read about changes at the EPA), understand that the push to reduce the use of solvents is driven more by business concerns than by regulations. First, consider that all of the solvents have to be removed from the coating during the curing process, which consumes energy – and the more solvents, the more energy required. And energy is expensive, often one of the biggest expenses in the manufacturing process. Then, there’s the danger of exposing your workforce to hazardous compounds – especially at a time when it is hard to find qualified employees. And, of course, there’s the additional liability associated with workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals – healthcare costs, lost time, reduced productivity, etc.
Is it any wonder that it’s business concerns rather than regulatory requirements that are driving the efforts to reduce solvent usage? Solvents are expensive – to buy and to use.
The Beat Goes On!
It’s the age-old battle between the best technology for the application and the need to contain costs to be competitive in the marketplace. So, as solventborne coatings come back into vogue, so will technologies that minimize the use of solvents, thus balancing the needs of the application and the needs of the business. And this creates opportunity for those who are observant enough and smart enough to recognize it and devise creative and cost-effective solutions.
Long live free-enterprise!
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