Interpon Powder Coatings has invested in a number of initiatives to ensure sustainability across its processes from raw materials and production to the final product.
With no VOCs or harmful substances and low waste and energy consumption, powder is inherently sustainable. However, it is also important to ensure the whole production process is sustainable, according to HSE and Sustainability Manager Jaap van den Akker. He explains that it is critical the right products are produced from the chain point of view, which means considering factors such as the raw materials, energy resources, waste generation, product use and end-of-life.
One of the initiatives involves research to help their resin suppliers move from petrochemicals-based resins to renewable-based resins.
Russell Deane, Global Market Manager Architecture says that their new Felling polymer lab is already looking at ways of making more sustainable polymers. At the other end, the company is also recycling its manufacturing waste using fines compactors fitted to their production lines to collect waste powder produced during milling and re-process it. Any waste that cannot be re-used at the facility is sent out to brick or cement manufacturers to prevent the waste from reaching landfills.
Powders are also being developed with energy-saving characteristics. Interpon cool coatings are architectural coatings incorporating pigments that reflect heat. Deane explains that the coatings react to infrared radiation, deflecting the rays to keep the building cool and reduce the need for air conditioning.
The company is also working with customers to develop coatings and colours that fit their specific needs and the needs of their customers. The new Anodic range launched in 2012 is a new line of colours that address the needs of industrial designers in the IT sector. Though powder is mainly used to coat the magnesium alloy casing on laptops and notebooks, the latest development is focussed on the keyboard section with highly coloured and tactile coatings.
Similar collaboration is also on in the domestic appliance market where the company works with manufacturers to produce custom-made colours. Andrea Codecasa, Global Market Manager Appliance explains that a team of marketing and technical people from their Como plant is working with Whirlpool’s designers to develop a matt black and matt white finish for refrigerators.
Another innovation is a stainless steel-effect coating being developed for Whirlpool as a cheaper, more durable but equally sleek alternative to the real thing.
Interpon is customising its services by producing products in different colours and textures with a fast turnaround. The company has invested in capital equipment upgrades to offer more flexibility in terms of order size and turnaround time. Interpon MiniB and Interpon MiniB Micro are unique, small batch, rapid delivery services exclusively available from the company to provide custom made products to an order size as small as 20kg in almost any colour and finish, with a selection of technologies.