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Blog: Relieving titanium dioxide pressure through partial substitution

(info a nordkalk.com), 6 April 2018

Paint and coating manufacturers are facing several challenges in terms of raw material sourcing and more stringent environmental regulations. In particular, growing raw material costs are hitting manufacturers’ cost structures hard.

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.  

2. Eco-friendliness

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.

Joonas Hokka
Sales Manager
Specialty Products at Nordkalk Corporation

Leader in Northern Europe

Nordkalk is the leading limestone company on its home markets. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.