Antimicrobial Coatings Have Been Put into New Focus
Regulations and the COVID-19 pandemic are key influences on antimicrobial coatings
The COVID-19-pandemic has influenced antimicrobial coatings tremendously. Nicolas Gallacier, global business director, Biocides for Industrial Preservation & Coatings at Lanxess, offers insight into the latest developments.
To what extent is R&D for preservation of paints influenced by biocide regulation, and are there other technical trends that influence R&D?
Nicolas Gallacier: The development of new preservation systems for paints under ever more stringent regulations is a continuous challenge. Registration processes are getting more complex and hindering innovation and requiring expensive data packages combined with solid regulatory competencies.
The first technical trend is toward blends with several active ingredients to overcome labeling constraints. Ecology and sustainability are further key topics which influence R&D. The focus on green biocides and slow-release technologies offering a longer shelf life and improved environmental profile are good examples of trends that currently drive innovation.
Registration processes are getting more complex and hindering innovation and requiring expensive data packages combined with solid regulatory competencies.
How would you describe the current market for antimicrobial coatings?
Gallacier: Antimicrobial coatings have been put into new focus. Growing concerns with respect to hygiene have led to higher product demand, also in the construction sector, which is one of our core markets. We are in constant discussion with paint and coatings manufacturers about the efficacy of active ingredients against specific bacteria and viruses.
The use of antimicrobial coatings ideally complements classical disinfection of surfaces so that their growing demand makes sense to increase the level of protection against bacteria and viruses in our environment.
Would you say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on this market segment?
Gallacier: Absolutely. Due to the pandemic, people spent more time at home renovating and remodeling their houses, resulting in a significant increase of the demand for paints and coatings.
At the same time, the global logistics situation has been affected by the pandemic, increasing the lead time for all raw materials and the pressure on the supply chain. This combined with all the regulatory changes keeps paint markets challenged on all fronts for the upcoming months!