Advances in Coating Formulations – Intellectual Property and Market Innovations

By Richard Maldanis, Ph. D., Senior Analyst

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Tracking the latest developments in novel compositions and components that target usage in coating systems is vital for staying at the leading edge of innovation. Whether it is paints, adhesives, inks or sealants, one must be able to adequately research and critique the latest developments and advances seeking to replace traditional technologies. These include resins, additives, dispersants, binders, pigments, tackifiers, corrosion inhibitors. The list goes on and on. Whether the goal is to improve the coating’s performance, cost, or environmental benefits, staying ahead of the market and patenting trends and learning about what innovations matter is where Nerac can assist.

One area that is gaining traction in the paints and coating industry is the use of biosurfactants in the formulations. These have emerged as alternatives to their petrochemical counterparts as they can be made from microorganisms utilizing natural/biological feedstocks. These surface-active agents are multifunctional and are needed in diverse applications that include to enhance film formation and improve wettability and dispersibility. Their environmental benefits include reduction in VOC emissions, decarbonization, and biodegradability.

Locus Ingredients is one company at the forefront of innovating in the development of biosurfactants in coating end-uses. They offer commercialized fermentation-produced Amphi® sophorolipids that are developed using a patented, modular production process that can create these biosurfactants at a cost-effective scale. These offer benefits as dispersants, wetting agents, emulsifying and coalescing in coatings, adhesives, paints and sealants. AmphiStar is another company ramping up efforts to develop these biosurfactants from agri-food industry, such as supermarket food waste which does not compete with food production or require deforestation.

Innovations are also being made to replace other chemical entities in coatings to reduce carbon footprint and promote biobased solutions. Some examples of developments on the market and their target applications include biobased adhesives and tackifiers, eco-friendly binders for paints, naturally derived polyols, and renewable additives. Examples are below:

Fraunhofer Institute and Henkel have developed a process to develop biobased, keratin platform chemicals from chicken feathers. This process takes the shredded cleaned feathers and conducts hydrolytic enzymatic process that splits the long-chain biopolymers or protein chains into short-chain polymers. Various end products can be made including adhesives, hardeners, coatings and primers.

The binding agent is made using the FineCell technology that combines cellulose with oxalic acid found in rhubarb. This new material is 100% biobased, transparent, lightweight and requires 80–90% less energy vs other cellulose materials to manufacture. Demo plant construction is set for the end of 2024 and larger scale test production by 2025.

These polyols can be used as a drop-in replacement for synthetic polyols used for manufacturing two-component polyurethane protective coatings for metals surfaces. Bio-based neopentyl glycol 1,3-propanediol, succinic acid and sebacic acid are used as the bio-sourced precursors.

Kraton will supply Henkel with its biobased tackifiers and its patented REvolution™ rosin ester technology to enable carbon emission reductions in a range of Henkel’s adhesive formulations. This reduced footprint is enabled using Kraton’s SYLVALITE™ 2200 biobased tackifiers developed with REvolution™ rosin ester technology and Dow’s AFFINITY™ GA polyolefin elastomers. These will be used in low temperature Hot Melt adhesive applications.

Their silane coated olive stone product line tradenamed products called Olea FP H50 and H100 can be used as hydrophobic texturing paint additives. Other additive products derived from peach, avocado, apricot stones, pistachio and walnut shells are offered for utilities in the coating and composite space.

BioBlack is made from Forest Stewardship Council certified, recycled pre-consumer wood waste, using a closed-loop, circular manufacturing process with renewable energy. It has high light fastness ratings and does not fade or change color and can be used for multiple coatings applications including needs for mass tone and blue undertones. It is offered as a water-based dispersion.

How Can Nerac Help?

Nerac has decades of expertise in researching and qualifying new materials and additives being promoted in a given market. Finding emerging technologies, vetting leads to start-ups or licensing opportunities to collaborate with, and supplier/manufacture research to find new sources for material procurement are some areas Nerac can help you with. Utilizing various research platforms, Nerac can scour the marketplace for new chemical and biobased solutions that offer similar or enhanced performance capabilities or cost savings vs your existing used materials.

Conducting patent research in locating formulations information can be a daunting and time-consuming task. These formulations often have many different ingredients, with each providing some benefit to the overall composition. However, deducing which part of the composition is the game changer on the invention and the benefits it provides can be challenging to decipher. Additionally, each system used in the formulation can be altered by modifying its chemical structure which affects the physical, chemical, mechanical or biological properties and the final performance attributes of the system.

Utilizing our experienced patent searching capabilities, Nerac is well versed in conducting patent landscapes, Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) assessments and patentability research in chemical formulations targeting adhesives, coating, paints, inks, water/solvent systems etc. Quite often, discussions on the chemical factors and its influence on the coating system typically occurs in the full-text of patents, especially in compositional patents. Additionally, Markush chemical structures are commonly used within compositional patents, so being able to know how to screen and find the chemical compositions used requires careful review of the Markush claims, related chemical nomenclature as well as examining the fundamentals of the formulation.

Within the adhesives space, adhesives containing reactive components are at the forefront of new developments considering they offer several benefits to the system. These include solvent-free/low-VOC chemistries, improved bonding and performance profiles with reactive components, and the inclusion of biomass-derived precursors in their formulations. Recent innovations made in this field through examining active patents include developments in novel one component systems, medical adhesives with different polarities, reactive chemistries for miniature electronic devices, sustainable adhesives, and systems with improved thermal stability. A short review of recent novel compositions and chemistry offering these benefits are included in the table below. The following excerpts are taken from examination of the full-text.

One can utilize AI or CAS Registry numbers linked to specific roles for chemicals for their patent research. However, is the specific part of the patent mentioning these critical aspects of the patent being reviewed by these tools? If the essentials are being discussed in the full-text, or if the details are vague, this is often ignored in these instances. This results in missed information on critical chemistry advances or disruptive information potentially impacting your existing or potential IP.

Let Nerac provide holistic research support to your innovation, tech scouting, IP and market assessments through its comprehensive approach in chemistry research and analysis. We know where to look. Contact us today!

What tools are available today to help companies stay on top of innovation? What are their competitors innovating? What adjacent technologies might revolutionize a well-established technology? Nerac can help. Nerac analysts can evaluate competitors' patents and press releases, identify emerging innovations, and capture potentially relevant adjacent technologies that could substantially impact your technology. With Nerac's help, clients can position themselves to improve their technologies and successfully commercialize their innovations.

About the Analyst

Richard Maldanis, Ph.D.

For over a decade, Richard Maldanis, Ph.D. has been assisting Nerac clients in the specialty chemistry and material science fields. His diverse expertise in organic, inorganic, organometallic and polymer chemistry provides clients with solutions to a broad range of chemistry-related challenges.

Academic Credentials

  • Ph.D., Polymer/Organometallic Chemistry, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • B.A., Chemistry, Drew University

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