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Our biggest innovation was the development of a unique dry-on-dry coating process which means we can now apply a powder topcoat directly over a previously applied, non-cured, powder primer. Only one baking process is therefore required to cure both layers, removing a complete baking cycle from the painting process. This can save customers significant amounts of energy and money. Up until now, this innovation has been mainly targeted at the automotive industry, but we plan to eventually extend it across additional market segments.

In addition we launched new chrome-look and anodized-look finishes in powder. These products mean our customers can avoid using energy intensive chemical processes while producing very similar aesthetic results.

Recognizing that energy efficiency is a key component towards sustainability, we also introduced a low temperature cure acrylic powder for plastic components and a smooth, thermally cured powder coating for MDF, where the smoothness is achieved without additional sanding. And we launched Interpon F – the first ever range of powder coatings developed specifically to meet the needs of the furniture industry.

Another major success has been a new powder coating we’ve developed for pipes which enables exploration companies to drill more deeply in the search for oil and gas. Deep exploration puts extreme demands on coatings systems in terms of acidity and heat, but we now produce a Resicoat system which can withstand these conditions. Wind energy is also proving to be an interesting market segment and is another area where we’ll be looking to grow.

Other developments

To highlight the fact that our powder activities produce no VOCs, and that we generate very little waste, we introduced a new slogan towards the end of the year – “Every Color is Green”. Our customers are looking for sustainable solutions and more environmentally-friendly options, which we can provide. So our new slogan and a special logo now appear on all our packaging and business literature.

With labor costs increasing in the mature market of Western Europe, we have also commissioned our first ever fully automated powder production line. Normally powder production is a batch process, but we now have continuous process capability which means that efficiencies have greatly improved.

In terms of projects, seven of the venues used for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 were painted with our powder coatings. We also supplied coatings for the biggest casino in the world, which was opened in Macau. Looking to the future, our products have been specified for use on part of the new Freedom Tower in New York.

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