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Sustainable solutions by painting
Environmentally compliant products are attracting increasing interest among consumers and industry. In Tikkurila’s paint production, sustainable solutions include reducing the amount of solvents, developing water-borne products and lengthening maintenance intervals.
‘Sustainable development must cover the entire paint industry value chain. One viewpoint is that paint increases the life span of a painted item, structure or building’, says Kenneth Sundberg, Group Vice President, R&D.
‘Our aim is to develop paint systems and solutions that achieve the longest possible lifetime and lengthen maintenance painting intervals. This is particularly vital in industrial applications and steel structures outdoors’, adds Leena Tuisku, Research Manager.
Water instead of solvents
In product development, steps forward in sustainable development include the transfer from solvent-borne paints to water-borne alternatives with a high solid content, so-called high solids products.
Water-borne and high solids products have long been used in the Nordic countries. 'In Scandinavia, almost one hundred per cent of our consumer products are water-borne. Because industrial applications involve more demanding conditions, weather resistance is emphasised in addition to the maintenance interval’, says Mr Sundberg.
As water-borne paints become more common, the multiplicative effects are extending through the whole production chain. The less solvents are used in paints and coatings, the less they need to be produced and transported. In addition, the European Union’s VOC Directive requires a reduction in solvent emissions, for example.
More new solutions
In addition to water-borne products, the tinting systems, which have transformed practices within the paint industry, cut down on transport volumes. Technologies for saving energy in paint drying and increasing productivity have also been developed by the industry.
New paint products are beneficial from the environment point of view, since they aim to reduce the number of paint coats applied. Attempts are being made to minimise the amount of painting waste by developing can recycling and application techniques.
Both Sundberg and Tuisku are confident that using water-borne paints will increase further in future. The solids contents of all products will be increased and new binders developed. Also, nanotechnology is expected to produce new solutions promoting sustainable development.
Author: Sari Okko, Stooripoint Oy
Photos: Tikkurila Oyj