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Continuous research efforts are yielding better-performing waterbornes to meet tomorrow's liquid coatings needs.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." This is an old adage by which most, if not all, R&D people live and one that formulators of water-borne coatings especially have taken to heart. The continuous drive to develop and produce the best possible waterborne coatings probably began in earnest almost as soon as the Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed, spurring unprecedented change in the paint and coatings industry.
The initial legislation, which was aimed at reducing VOCs from surface coatings, prompted the search for the "perfect," environmentally compliant coating and opened the door for a number of new technologies, including high-solids, powder and waterborne coatings. Today, EPA regulations continue to be a primary influence on coatings research and development and have contributed greatly to the evolution of waterborne technology in particular.
According to Industrial Paint & Powder 2001 Coatings R&D study, the primary objective of R&D for waterborne coatings is to lower cosolvent (VOC/HAP) content (Figure 1). Finishes Unlimited Inc. (Sugar Grove, IL), a company that exclusively manufactures waterbornes for the OEM market, is playing its part in the waterborne evolution. In 1974, Finishes Unlimited was producing waterbornes with a VOC level of 3.5 pounds per gallon, according to President Hank Godshalk. This was not much lower than some traditional solventborne paints. But the company was determined to keep lowering that number, and that persistence is paying off. …