The global coatings business covers a wide range of applications from mobile phones to bridges and floors to automotive interiors and exteriors. Polyurethane formulations play an important role in many of these applications. Jane Denny investigates.
According to BMS, a PU coating of some kind appears in every car rolling off modern production lines. If not on the metal bodywork outside, then coating a plastic-based component inside, and with so much in today’s world requiring a covering or finish, the PU coatings business is huge.
According to the British Coatings Association, it takes two tonnes of paint to cover a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. A road vehicle might require a layered coating of less than 100µm – or the breadth of a human hair according to BASF – but with 85m vehicles expected to roll off production lines in 2015, the coatings business remains a big draw for manufacturers and developers.
At a Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) press conference in Dusseldorf, Germany in January 2015, Daniel Meyer, head of the coatings, adhesives, specialties business unit and member of the executive committee of BMS, told journalists it takes 1kg of isocyanate to coat one car.
“As of today, the overall share of polyurethane chemistry in OEMs is roughly about 30%,” he said.
“We needed 70 years to get from 0 to 30% – which tells you how conservative this industry is,” he said.
“Will we need another 70 years to get to 60%?” he asked.
PU already plays a…