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Growing material costs challenge the paint industry
The price of titanium dioxide alone has increased more than 50% since January 2017, according to ICIS’s TiO2 market prices. And let’s not forget the oil-based raw materials used in paints as binders and solvents, which are burdened by the volatile crude oil price. For example, the commonly used binder methyl methacrylate (MMA) has been clearly following the crude oil price trend, as evidently the price of MMA increased more than 30% since the corresponding period last year.
The price pressure also affects paint formulation, for instance interior paint, where roughly 50-60 wt% is comprised of only pigment (TiO2) and binder. As a result, the cost rises call for sales margins to be slashed, which in turn will impair the economic balance of coating manufacturers. I think it’s a safe bet that we are not going to see similarly high price increases to offset the loss of profit in paint bucket prices on the shelves of DIY shops. Going forward, coating producers should proactively consider long-term alleviations to maintain cost control and to reduce the dependence on volatile raw materials by promoting substitute solutions.
Nordkalk Enrich – Relief for the titanium dioxide squeeze
Titanium dioxide is currently a hot topic around the globe. Alongside skyrocketing market prices, the availability of TiO2 supplies and other raw materials has been shrinking lately, bringing dark clouds above paint factories as well as increasing anxiety regarding longer delivery cycles, time-to-market and production & supply planning.
Fortunately, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Partial substitution of TiO2is possible with the ultrafine PCC dispersion product Nordkalk Enrich. Enrich fights back against the problem of growing material costs in three important ways:
1. Cost savings
Replacing TiO2 up to 20% and binder 10-20% in water-based paint formulation will bring significant long-term savings in raw material costs. Furthermore, the easy handling of Enrich by pumping or pouring shortens the processing lead time, resulting in higher capacity and savings in the long run.
As a natural calcium carbonate-based product, it is an ecological choice for coping with more stringent environmental objectives and advancing sustainable development.
3. Improved technical performance
The customized, unique particle size and homogeneous dispersion quality ensure the paint’s functionality despite the TiO2 and binder replacements. The technical quality aspects, such as gloss, wet-scrub resistance and hiding power, can be maintained, while replacing the crucial components of the paint.
Specialty Products at Nordkalk Corporation
Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.