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November 12, 2001
Volume 79, Number 46
CENEAR 79 46 p. 8
ISSN 0009-2347
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Cost savings, the environment are themes of a tough year


Attendance was down, but those who made it to the International Coatings Expo in Atlanta last week were serious about finding the latest environmentally friendly and cost-saving materials.

The slow economy and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks forced attendance levels down some 15% to about 4,400 or so, compared with the 5,100 who attended the similar show in a smaller city--Dallas--two years ago.

The show got under way in an environment where demand for paint materials such as glycol ether solvents is down 8 to 10%, according to Pat D. Dawson, Dow Chemical's vice president for oxide derivatives. Like other paint material suppliers, "Dow is under intense pricing pressure," he said.

Still, environmentally friendly products remain in demand and, picking up on that theme, Air Products & Chemicals introduced a new line of additives for use in waterborne coatings. EnviroGem AD01 is an acetylenic diol-based low-foam wetting agent, whereas EnviroGem AE is an alkyl ester-based surfactant. The latter uses the company's Gemini technology to offer "two hydrophiles and at least two hydrophobes within a single molecule," said Robert E. Stevens, an Air Products technology manager.

Dow showed customers a number of new emulsions that once would have appeared under the Union Carbide banner but are now Dow products since the two firms merged earlier this year. They included a new line of Neocar brand latexes--copolymers of vinyl versatate and vinyl acetate--for low-emissions paints.

Lyondell Chemical played up inventory reduction. It offered three acrylic polyols under the Acrylflow name that can be blended or used separately to create a range of low-emissions liquid coatings for industrial maintenance and automotive coatings.

And for those disturbed by 3M's withdrawal of Scotchgard fluorosurfactants more than a year ago, the company showcased new fluorosurfactants that it says are not bioaccumulative like those they replace and whose cost is comparable with the older stuff.

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