What are Smart Coatings? As defined, they are coatings that alter their chemical properties in response to external or environmental stimuli.
There are self-cleaners and anti-corrosive coatings, as well as those that respond to temperature, humidity, atmospheric (and other types) of pressure, electrical currents, light, and various other stimuli. So, if you're an industrial or commercial business owner or facility manager in the Midwest, you might have heard of these coatings, and even asked yourself if you need them?
According to a report entitled World Smart Coatings Markets, 2013-2020, the market for global smart coatings is expected to hit $3 billion by 2018. By comparison, the entire paint coatings industry currently generates about $100 billion on the global market. By 2017, that figure will expand to $110 billion, according to Global Industry Analysts. The smart coating business will see growth because of new applications in everything from energy (solar panels and wind turbines) and construction to medical, textiles, and other industries.
While any new coating technology that ensures adherence and durability is good for the paint industry and its customers, like all other coatings, whether you need it or not really depends on the variety of your industrial or commercial business paints needs. The above report says that anti-corrosive protective painting will account for the second largest chunk of that $3 billion uptick by 2018. That is great for industrial and commercial businesses, as corrosion is paint's number one enemy. If we do our paint job done correctly, corrosion shouldn't be high up on the list of worries. With new anti-corrosive paints, the potential for corrosion should be even further reduced.
Self-cleaning coatings will account for $1.4 billion of the smart coatings market by 2018, while those that resist bacteria, water, and other contaminants will make up the majority of the global market. What this means for industrial and commercial businesses is these smart coatings and others—self-healing, self-assembling/stratifying, or next generation smart coatings—could very well be just what you need.
It's important to understand, however, that a number of current smart coatings are used in the automatic industry. Self-healing coatings, for example, have been been used in automotive re-finish projects, and more recently tested on wood furniture, but the use isn't widespread just yet. Scientists are also currently developing a self-healing coating for concrete, which would certainly have applications for industrial businesses, whose concrete floors take a lot of wear and tear.
The Best thing to do is ask a paint professional about smart coatings for your company's next interior or exterior paint job. One way or another, they should be able to give you a list of the best options, both in price and durability, for your industrial or commercial space.
Image via Eastern Michigan University