Materials are in short supply.

Supply shortages hit coatings industry

Published:  29 April, 2010

LONDON: Strong demand from the Far East combined with the impact of production constraints on raw material suppliers from around the world is causing great concern to many paint and powder coatings manufacturers in the UK, reports Tony Mash, chief exacutive officer of the British Coatings Federation (BCF).

“The economic recovery currently being experienced by the Far East has stimulated sales of coatings and, with it, demand for the raw materials that go into paint and powder coatings formulations,” says Tony Mash. “We are also beginning to see this increase in demand reflected elsewhere in the world and, as a result, suppliers of raw materials are under pressure to increase production rates.”

A combination of increasing demand, maintenance shut downs and major plant breakdowns around the world has led to a situation where many ingredients are either in short supply, on exasperatingly long lead times, on force majeure or allocation.

BCF members have reported shortages particularly of epoxy resins and titanium dioxide over the last few months. Now, various grades of PVC, several plasticisers, acrylic acid and butyl acrylic, phthalic anhydride, China clay, raw wood oil, plastic packaging materials and even tin plate are also in a tight supply situation; all materials that are used in paint manufacture.

Powder Coating manufacturers have echoed these concerns. Not only are they suffering from shortages of epoxy resins, but have added many pigments and additives to the growing list of materials in short supply.

Mr Mash stated: “Added to these difficulties, we have seen a significant tightening in the petrochemical market where the rising price of oil has impacted the cost of solvents such as white spirit and some glycol ethers, with double–digit percentage increases. This is also having an impact on the cost and availability of polyester resins used in the powder coatings industry.

“At a time when we are starting to see the paint and powder coating industries come out of recession in the UK and elsewhere, it is disappointing to learn that this recovery may be constrained by both supply difficulties upstream and double-digit cost inflation.”

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