Challenging Times for Paint and Coatings Manufacturers
2020 was a challenging year for the paint and coatings industry as well as most other industries, due to the disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
However, with 2021 well underway, raw material availability and price hikes are further adding to the difficulties of paint and coatings manufacturers in the UK and Europe, intensifying the already existing pressures and causing significant disruption throughout the industry.
In this blog article, we provide insights into how manufacturers of paints and coatings can mitigate these challenges by leveraging liquid product recovery (pigging) technology to improve the efficiency, productivity, profitability and competitiveness of their paint processing and production.
Trends Affecting Raw Material Prices
So, what’s causing raw material prices to skyrocket in the paint and coatings industry?
There are four significant factors affecting raw material prices according to British Coatings Federation. These include:
- Strong demand throughout the world has led to shortages of many raw materials, which has driven up prices. In addition, there’s been unexpected recovery in countries such as China which has further increased the demand for essential raw materials.
- Oil prices have jumped by 58% since November (now approximately $65 a barrel)
- Global shortage of containers. This has resulted in a steep increase in transport costs from Asia to Europe, which in turn has resulted in restrictions in supplies to Europe.
- Due to additional non-tariff costs associated with the new UK customs arrangements with the EU, this has further exacerbated the cost of raw materials imported into the UK from Europe.
This combination of increased global demand, capacity, and supply issues along with limited availability of transport resources is causing volatility and uncertainty in the paint and coatings market. This is dramatically affecting raw material prices.
How Much Have Raw Material Prices Increased?
Some of the key raw materials widely used in paint manufacturing include pigments (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide etc), solvents (mineral turpentine) as well as resins and various additives.
Solvents are one category that are facing huge price hikes.
According to the raw material prices survey from British Coatings Association, the greatest jumps in solvent prices in January 2021 versus 12 months ago are acetone (123%), then n-butyl acetate (91%), n-butanol (54%), closely followed by IPA (41%).
In addition, epoxy resins, which are an important binding agent for many paints and coatings, have also been hit hard with price increases.
Data from the German Paint and Printing Inks Association show prices have risen as much as 60% in recent months.
Considering that raw materials and freight make up a significant portion of the overall cost to produce paint and coatings, it’s inevitable that these price hikes will have a significant impact on the operations of many paint and coatings manufacturers.
How Paint Manufacturers Can Offset These Increasing Costs
To overcome these raw material price hikes, paint and coatings manufacturers are focussing their efforts on increasing efficiencies, optimising processes, alternative sourcing, and implementing cost reduction strategies that significantly boost the bottom line.
Pigging is a technology that is in wide use in the paint and coatings industry. And its use is increasing.
Pigging systems are an incredibly effective way to lower operating expenses, positively impact the bottom line and improve the competitiveness of paint and coatings operations.
What is Pigging?
To put it briefly, pigging systems include many different components with the most important component being the pig (here’s an article about the key components of a pigging system).
The pig is a highly specialist device with an interference fit with the inside of the pipeline. This enables the pig to recover the residual liquid product from the pipe to its destination (tank, packaging, storage etc).
So, instead of being sent to waste, the product is reclaimed by the pipeline pig and can be packaged, used, stored, or sold just like all the other product.
As well as paint and coatings, pigging systems are in wide use in a range of industries. These include process, hygienic and sanitary applications such as food, beverage, confectionery, personal care, cosmetics, and household liquid production.
Reducing Costs and Improving Efficiency by Pigging
By reclaiming product from the pipeline, the yield increases from pigging are major. Pigging also reduces the amount of waste produced.
So, for paint and coatings manufacturers looking for a cost reduction strategy, a pigging system is an easy, and highly effective solution.
Pigging also enables manufacturers to become more efficient in their manufacturing process. This is through lowering water usage, cutting waste, reducing production downtime, making processing faster, maximising cleaning processes and reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Most pigging systems tend to be fully automated, which ensures further improvements to safety, efficiency, reliability, and productivity.
And because they are designed for hygienic applications, HPS pigging systems for paint and coatings reduce the risks of contamination and cross-contamination.
Improving the Bottom Line
The benefits of pigging systems for paint and coatings processing are extensive. What’s more, if you choose an HPS pigging system, your savings will pay back the initial cost of the system extremely quickly. In this way, pigging will improve the profitability of your organisation, enhance your competitiveness, and boost the bottom line (here’s more about pigging system return on investment and payback).
Importantly, pigging systems are designed around the precise requirements of each customer and process. They can be installed with minimal disruption to operations.
Find Out More
HPS Product Recovery Solutions has installed thousands of pigging systems throughout the world. Our proven solutions are helping paint and coatings manufacturers such as Kelly-Moore Paints, Akzo Nobel, PPG and Benjamin Moore to recover significant amounts of usable product, reduce waste, minimise cross contamination risks and speed up changeover times.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts about improving your processes through pigging and liquid product recovery solutions, then please contact HPS.