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20th April 2018, Paris

Ashland upgrades Derakane line with new benefits

Ashland, a specialty chemicals company, has announced the release of its new Derakane product line in Paris last month. Based on the same backbone as the original Derakane lines used in corrosion-resistant fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) applications, the new Derakane Signia line boasts a list of added features and benefits, according to the manufacturer.

Inside Composites met with Andrew Miller, Commercial Director, Composites, and Tim Pepper, Technology Director Emerging & External Technologies, at the JEC show in Paris, to discuss the latest product release.

Ashland, a specialty chemicals company, at JEC World, in Paris. © Inside Composites

Tell me more about the Derakane resin range.

Andrew Miller: Derakane epoxy vinyl ester resins have been around for more than 50 years, originally invented by Dow Chemical Company and used at its chemical plants. The business has grown ever since. There was initially a Derakane Classic, and then in 1999, Dow released a product called Derakane Momentum, which has been the industry standard for the last 18 to 19 years.

We have now released Derakane Signia, which is an upgraded version of Derakane. Its main applications are found predominantly in the corrosion resistant market. Our customers are making FRP products for corrosive environments, chemical processing, air pollution control, mining of certain metals, as well as pipe and tank applications.

What’s new in terms of properties?

Tim Pepper: The new range has the same backbone, it offers the same final performance, same corrosion resistance and mechanical properties but offers better processing. These systems bond better, react better with catalysts, are more stable with peroxides and give off less styrene emissions. In addition, they have a much longer shelf life.

AM: And this is very important, as it helped us improve the shop efficiency for our customers. Because our product offers longer stability, the shelf life is 50% longer than what we could previously offer – the storage time for Derakane 411, for example, is now 18 months, which is beneficial to a lot of our customers. We are a global company and we sell our products all around the world, so whilst this may not be as relevant for a customer based in Germany – because we are able to ship our products there regularly – companies based in Australia and New Zealand are very interested is this kind of advantage.

Another benefit is that the new product has the same chemistry as before, which is crucial for the corrosion industry, because you don’t have to re-test everything, which could potentially take years. And then, the last point is that new formula has a detection system to verify the integrity of the product. Sometimes, the end users choose our product specified for an application, and unfortunately, there have been suppliers who delivered products that didn’t contain our formulation. With the new product line featuring this technology that can verify our product, we are addressing our customers’ requests.

Which countries are the main markets?

AM: With the production based in South America, North America, Europe and China, we sell our products in 70 countries all around the world, but the main sales are in North America, which is one of the largest markets. We also sell a lot of our products in China, and, of course, Europe, where we have customers in almost every country. Major markets include Germany, Spain, North Africa, South Africa, and Finland. Also, we sell in the Middle East and South America. India is also a good market.

Ashland, a specialty chemicals company, at JEC World, in Paris. © Inside Composites

Has the demand for your products changed over the years?

AM: The corrosion market, where we operate, tends to grow with the GDP, which means that there is currently a higher growth in China. If you take copper, for example, it can be seen that mining copper, which is one of our applications, is driven directly by the infrastructure, which in turn is driven by the GDP. So, when you look at the bigger picture, even though they are different segments, they form a trend. Our job is to facilitate growth in double the GDP rates, which, so far, we are managing to do.

How has the new resin been received so far? Are you satisfied with this year’s JEC?

AM: This is a brand-new announcement.  We have conducted trials in North America and we saw that people are ready to buy and want samples already. Derakane Signia is going to be available in Europe and North America in April. We roll out for the rest of the world later on in the year.

The reaction has been much more positive than expected – JEC typically doesn’t focus specifically on this market, but we’ve been extremely busy these few days, discussing the new product with our customers and potential buyers, so the interest is extremely high.

What role does environmental sustainability play in the manufacture?

AM: The corrosion industry uses products that have to meet certain environmental regulations, and these vary by country. Our technology that lowers styrene emission is designed to meet what we anticipate for regulations to be for the next 20 years.

TM: We are a big global company and our processing is completely self-contained, which is not always the case for our customers, so we have made it easier for them to lower their emissions. In terms of the end products, you have to understand that the tank, for example, is made to never fall apart in aggressive environments, so it is not easy to recycle something that was meant to last forever. But our company addresses this issue by offering a product that lasts longer, requiring fewer replacements.

Any further new developments on the way?

AM: So, this latest product is an upgrade of our existing range, which is the first innovation in the industry for this market in the last 20 years. Now, we are going to apply the technology to the different products we have, and then within that we have something that we believe will allow us to release new products far easier than in the past.

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