Chemical Market Reporter: December 1997
Waterborne formulations are expanding their share of the market for highway and traffic paints, while solvent-based formulations continue to decline because of worries over volatile organic compound emissions and legislation aimed at reducing the acceptable solvent levels in highway coats. Alternative technologies, such as striping tape, thermal plastics and high solids are increasing. The total US market for highway and traffic paints is about $175 M and growing at about 2%/y. Waterborne coatings represent about 60% of the total dollar value, with solvent-based formulations holding about 30%. The remaining 10% is split between numerous 100% high-solid coatings, unsaturated polyester coats, epoxies, and methylmethacrylates. Waterbornes are recording 9%/y growth at the expense of solvent-based products which continue to decline. In addition to the benefit that waterbornes do not contain volatile organic compounds, they also offer improved performance. Alternative technologies that impact the coatings market are pressure-sensitive reflective road striping tape and thermal plastic hot melt adhesives. The latter are solid blocks of material that intermix pigment, resins, binders, and glass beads at application, which catalyze when in contact with the road surface and convert to solid material. Current US thermal plastic volume is about 80,000 tonnes, or $160 M, and is forecast to record growth of about 3%/y during 1997-2002. Producers are also increasingly adopting organic yellow pigments without lead and shifting away from lead chromate pigments.