Rohm and Haas to invest heavily in sustainability upgrades

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: energy management

Rohm and Haas Company said it is allocating $150 million – roughly half of its nearly $300 million 2007 research and development budget – for sustainability efforts, including new product development, energy efficiency and process improvements.


Many of the new products are intended to help transform traditional industrial applications to more sustainable, water-based acrylic technology, including home building insulation, road/highway marking paints, and industrial paints and coatings.


Rohm and Haas has consistently introduced safer, environmentally advanced technology since it debuted acrylic emulsion technology for interior house paints more than 50 years ago. These paints are easier to use, perform better and offer easier clean up than traditional solvent-based paints. Today, approximately 85 percent of the paints sold in the United States are based on acrylic technology and can be found behind the labels of nearly every branded paint manufacturer in the United States. Just as important, when used these paints emit low amounts of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are a significant contributor to ground smog and air pollution.


“Rohm and Haas is dedicated to bringing greener, safer materials to the mainstream market,” said Gary Calabrese, chief technology officer, Rohm and Haas. “The company was founded on the principle of continual innovation, and we expect that demand for environmentally advanced materials will continue to grow. The fact that we are devoting half of our R&D budget to environmentally advanced projects is a strong demonstration of our commitment.”


In addition to continually serving the needs of the architectural paint and coatings market, the company is bringing environmentally advanced technology to industrial markets, which have only recently begun to convert to acrylic-based technology.


Advances in the Rohm and Haas’s Aquaset, Avanse and Fastrack platforms have facilitated the removal of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde from a range of paints, coatings and building materials.


“We see great potential to use our deep understanding of coatings technology to convert industrial applications to safer, water-based products,” says Luis Fernandez, vice president and group director responsible for Rohm and Haas’s $2 billion Paint and Coatings Materials business. “We estimate that, today, only about 20 percent of the industrial market has shifted to the more environmentally advanced acrylic technology. We have the products, and the technical knowledge, to be the catalyst that will accelerate the shift.”


Fernandez and Calabrese cited three product areas that demonstrate the company’s commitment to transform the industrial market to more environmentally advanced technology:


Aquaset Thermoset Resins
Featuring patented cross-linking technology, these high-performance water-based fiber-bonding solutions replace formaldehyde-based resins in fiberglass home insulation, and can be used in a range of other applications. This significantly expands the choices for formulators to improve the environmental profile of their products and address the environmental concerns of communities and regulatory authorities. Aquaset technology is non-combustible, non-hazardous, non-reactive, recyclable and non-flammable – characteristics earning it the very best 1-0-0 safety rating awarded by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. In addition, the influential American Chemical Society awarded Aquaset the 2006 Heroes in Chemistry Award, an important recognition for scientists and companies that improve human welfare through commercial innovations and products. Most important, this technology yields exceptional insulation whose performance is indistinguishable from competing choices. Today, approximately 25 percent of homes in the U.S. have fiberglass batts made with Aquaset technology. 


Avanse Technology
Avanse technology offers a true environmentally advanced technology in a higher performing resin that allows low VOC coatings to be used in the most demanding applications, where previously only solvent-borne coatings were suitable. Avanse MV-100, developed specifically for coating structural steel and concrete surfaces, is a first of its kind polymer – an extremely low VOC emitting emulsion that meets all federal and state VOC regulations in formulated coatings.  Avanse™ MV-100 is ideal for primers, topcoats and direct-to-metal finishes. It is formulated to withstand harsh environments typically associated with industrial coating applications and enables improved working conditions for professionals applying the coating. The State of California just recently specified Avanse™ MV-100 for painting all of its steel highway bridges. In 2006, Avanse technology earned the Prix Pierre Potier Innovation in the Environment Award from the French Minister Delegate for Industry.


Fastrack Technology
High-performance, water-based road-marking systems using patented acrylic technologies, Fastrack systems represent an environmentally responsible, high-performance alternative to solvent-based paints for traffic markings. They are better for the environment – and better for the health of workers who mark nearly 4 million miles of paved U.S. roadways. Testament to the durability of this technology is found in its use on automotive raceways, and, most recently, to repaint NASA’s Cape Canaveral space shuttle runway. Rohm and Haas is just now bringing to market a new version of Fastrack with quick-set technology that speeds drying time to just a few minutes after traffic markings are laid down, even at lower temperatures. This is especially attractive in the Northeast and Canada where Fastrack extends the period of time during the year when highway striping can take place.


About Rohm and Haas Company
Leading the way since 1909, Rohm and Haas is a global pioneer in the creation and development of innovative technologies and solutions for the specialty materials industry. Based in Philadelphia, the company generated annual sales of approximately $8.2 billion in 2006.

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