S. Ravichandran feels that the main future demand drivers shall be quality as many industries have started calling for products that are expected to last longer for extending protection to infrastructure while maintaining the colour and gloss retention property.
When one talks about the coatings market for industries, it is of paramount importance to study as whether we are including all facets of the industry and the different kinds of coatings that are being used for protection of materials, as coatings for metal or concrete or wood. The coatings can be an aid for protection of assets from the effect of corrosion; deterioration of any material from the effect of the elements (air/water/heat/abrasion/microbes).
The current market size is not pictured precisely for the challenges included in categorising the various segments to capture the data and now we have them aplenty which is either overlapping the segments or not being considered to get the right picture since the industries themselves are not declaring their share of business in a commonly agreed manner.
The market size for industrial coating segment as per figures given in the media by market research is close to Rs. 7550 Crores (2011-12). The industrial paint has a share of 29 per cent in the total paint consumption of India and the country primarily is an architectural based market. The value growth between the period of 2007-08 and 2011-12 also shows a fast trend in decorative growing at 14.7 per cent whereas the industrial coating industry grows humbly at 9.8 per cent.
The industrial paint market is covering a vast segment to include the Auto OEM’s, Auto Refinishes, Coatings for Canned food and beverage, Coil, Wood coatings, Road Transport Coatings, Railway locomotives, Coach and Wagon coatings, Powder Coatings, General Industrial Paints as used in machinery and equipment industries, Protective Coatings as used in projects and maintenance of industrial infrastructure, Marine and offshore industries and pipeline coatings.
A few of the growing segments are not to be seen as included in either of the segments (Decorative/ Industrial) as separate even though there is a close segment of coatings used in construction chemicals and floor coatings. The road marking paints comprising of hot application is also inadvertently not getting covered under industrial paints market, while some of its variations like cold applied road marking products are being captured as a part of decorative sales. Another important segment that is not getting captured is the sale of in tumescent coatings. One another segment is the lining industry that uses pure high build mastic epoxy resins in water proofing of concrete structures which is also not considered under industrial coating segment.
Lost in the wild are certain coating segments which do not have proper demarcation and probably not getting classified or included. There are products used in the industry with the purpose of corrosion protection but are in metallic state and applied by means of dipping/ electrolysis/ metallic spraying etc and are classified under metallic coatings, not getting added to market analysis of coatings. Another such segment is from the safety coating industry which includes the cementatious fire proof coatings and refractory coatings. Space and Defence Coatings is another segment which is not getting sufficiently captured to its entirety of the products used and invariably these products are probably getting included in other categories. The other industry is the pipe coating segment which includes lining materials for the common goal of protection, but has a range of products to include cement lining, FRP lining, and polyethylene tape linings.
The evolving trend is protection of environment from the harmful effects of excessive use of solvents, and the reduction of heavy metals from use in coatings to reduce the carcinogenic effect on the exposed humans as in manufacturing or application period. The second important arena is the use of water based products or by moving to the trend of solvent-less and high builds coatings which have reduced emissions of volatile organic solvents. The corporate leaders have started imbibing the trends even before any inclusions in the legislations and we find red lead, chrome and other such heavy metals being regularly phased out, but the irony is major consumer like the Roadways, Refinish market, Railways are still floating tenders with the old specification encouraging use of products that are not user friendly to the next generation.
The main future demand driver shall be quality as many industries like the shipping, windmill, infrastructure (metro rail, airports, and steel bridge) have started calling for products that are expected to last longer for extending protection to infrastructure while maintaining the colour and gloss retention property. This opens up coatings like fluoropolymer coatings (polyvinylidene (PVDF) coatings, FEVE-Poly-fluoroethylene/vinyl ether), silicone-modified polyester coatings, polyurea coatings, polyaspartic coatings, nano coatings, ceramic coatings, self healing coatings, moisture cured coatings, polysiloxanes, and the like. If this trend continues then we can expect zero VOC as a norm and solvent-free coatings and waterborne coatings will take a lead giving more challenges to the formulator.
The industrial customer be the larger industries or the micro industrial export oriented customer are now well informed and understand the importance of quality leadership and are focussed to check right from drawing the paint specifications to installation of coatings with proper coating inspection to ensure the performance without drainage in poor application practices. The starting trend is visible from the importance attributed to having third party coating inspectors. International Maritime Organisation has given the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings calls for coating inspectors to be certified to SSPC Protective Coating Inspector Level-2/ NACE Coating Inspector Level 2/ FROSIO Inspector Level III which is mandatory to permit the ships to sail for five years guaranteed coating performance. This development is ensuring the importance of coating inspection and now the industry is showing up with recommendations of coating inspectors at site during application of protective coatings.
The cost of corrosion worldwide being over US$ one trillion today, it is highly imperative for every industry to look into possible measure to combat corrosion. The market shall open up high performance coatings in every sphere be it in concrete segment or the ever growing metal segment which is in use in all facets of material world from space industry to the ground level chemical industry.
(The author is National Business Development Manager, Berger Paints India Limited.)