Coating formulators are reducing solvent content to comply with more stringent environmental regulations on volatile organic compound emissions, constraining the performance of new protective and marine coatings. Leading participants believe novel coating solutions are required to overcome these challenges as scientists are beginning to encounter limitations with modifying the existing set of raw materials.
Frost & Sullivan's Chemicals, Materials & Food practice (chemicals.frost.com) finds that the protective and marine coatings market earned revenue of $2.03 billion in North America and $2.40 billion in Europe in 2013, and estimates this to reach $2.40 billion and $2.72 billion in 2017, respectively. Additionally, the resins for protective and marine coatings market earned $684 million in North America and $756 million in Europe in 2013, and this revenue is expected to respectfully reach $781.5 million and $826.5 million during the same forecast period.
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Although growth in oil and gas is expected to have a positive feedback effect on the rest of the economy, the general economic downturn continues to produce a lag in the growth of coating maintenance and repair projects relative to gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Public debt in both regions also creates uncertainty for growth in all protective and marine coatings applications, given that governments have made investments in a number of different markets, including oil and gas, water treatment, power generation, and infrastructure.
Although technology has not made significant jumps, industry participants still maintain moderate growth expectations, which can roughly coincide with regional GDP growth. Both regions will experience a shift in the distribution of coatings across key applications, such as water treatment and power generation, because of the considerable expected growth of the oil and gas industry over the next few years.
"Overall, Europe is expected to experience lower growth than North America because of continued political and economic distress, lower infrastructure investment, and the impact of regulations such as the registration, authorization, and restriction of chemicals (REACH), which has completely changed the way US companies export into the European market," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Roland Heinze. "Revenue growth in both markets has been relatively stable over the last three years, with prices rising to compensate for higher raw material costs and unit shipments decreasing because of a reduction in the amount of coating projects."
Opportunities for innovation exist in crude overheads, offshore facilities, oilfields, and other extreme-temperature applications. Asset owners in these segments are more likely to try out new solutions as they are dealing with cutting-edge problems in the most aggressive environments for corrosion.
In fact, by offering high-quality products with greater return on investment for demanding applications, coatings formulators can not only increase their own margins but also those of companies further down the value chain. This will inevitably lead to greater demand for a company’s products and services. To strengthen their value propositions, formulators often partner with universities and associations to conduct joint R&D projects and look to third parties for validation of product quality.
"Because hybrid coatings have considerable promise and are becoming a major area of interest for researchers, formulators prefer to work with multiple raw material suppliers to develop a wide range of coating systems," said Heinze. "However, it is important to note that asset owners in the marine, natural gas, and infrastructure markets suggest that they are more risk averse and less willing to experiment with new solutions. They are satisfied with their traditional coating selections and require companies with new products to provide strong value propositions that are backed by data and statistical evidence before attempting to use them in the field."
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Strategic Analysis of the Protective and Marine Coatings Market and the Resins Market / NC38-39