Epoxy Surface Coatings
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Published: March 2011
Epoxy surface coatings are among the most widely used industrial finishes, exceeded in volume only by alkyds and acrylics. Epoxies are often more expensive than other coatings, but provide superior adhesion, flexibility and corrosion resistance when applied to metallic substrates. Because of their tendency to chalk or discolor upon exposure to sunlight, epoxy surface coatings are seldom used in outdoor architectural applications.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of epoxy resins:
In North America, consumption of epoxy resins for use in surface coatings peaked in 1999, but has dropped significantly during the 2000s because of the slowdown in U.S. industrial production. Use of epoxy coatings in relatively mature markets (e.g., marine, industrial maintenance, transportation) will grow at a rate approximately equal to that of the U.S. economy. Consumption in metal beverage and food container coatings will probably decline as a result of concerns over bisphenol A (BPA) leaching into can contents. BPA is a suspected endocrine disrupter.
In Western Europe, consumption of epoxy surface coatings is expected to grow approximately 2.5% per year on average from 2010 through 2015. Powder coatings, the largest market, are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.3%, while radiation curables should grow at about 4% per year. Other markets, mainly marine and maintenance and containers, will grow at more moderate rates.
In Japan, epoxies are expected to grow at a rate of about 3% per year, as the overall economy is expected to recover after the significant downturn of 2008–2009.
Consumption of epoxy resins for coatings has been growing rapidly in China, with use expected to continue to grow by 7% annually through 2015. Use in powder coatings accounts for about half of total consumption. China is now the leading producer of powder coatings in the world.
Another sizable consumer of epoxy surface coatings is the Republic of Korea, where 56% of the epoxy coatings are used for shipbuilding and repair in the marine industry. This application grew strongly until 2009 when the global economic downturn led to decreased shipyard activity. Only moderate growth is expected in the near future because of increased competition with Chinese shipyards. Total epoxy resin consumption for coatings should grow at 3–4% for the next five years.
Epoxy coatings are expected to grow strongly in countries like Brazil, Thailand and India as a result of increased production of automotive and other industrial goods.