For the past two decades, most TiO2 producers have offered the U.S. market a minimum of eight to 12 dry grades for coatings. The marketing emphasis was on special products for real or contrived end uses sending competitors scrambling for alternative offerings.
Formulation chemists evaluated and selected a grade ostensibly for a specific coating. It was not unusual for purchasing to manage an economical in stock position on five to seven distinctively different TiO2 grades or offsets. With "peak season" and "just in time" raw material management, overshadowed by cyclic TiO2 grade production, the purchasing director had a difficult stock situation at best.
Recent marketing and technical wisdom has evolved a true single universal TiO2 grade which can replace enamel, general purpose and flat grades. This universal product can meet stringent interior and exterior requirements in paint systems ranging from low to high PVC as the direct result of advances in specific surface treatment chemistry. Treatment varies between suppliers; most use either zirconia, silica, and alumina or combinations of treatments.
Inventory reduction from multiple TiO2 grades and the simplified delivery schedules produce initial cost savings. Presently several producers are eliminating their flat grade TiO2 as the direct result of initial acceptance of the universal type.
Table I illustrates …