The paint industry is raw material intensive. Paint involves the mixing of various raw materials in various proportions. The raw materials are of a wide variety. On an average, raw materials account for 60% of net sales (industry average). In case of small-scale units it forms up to 70% of the net sales.
Raw materials are divided into three major groups, namely, pigments (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide etc.), solvents (mineral turpentine) and resins and additives.
Pigments are finely ground solids of different shades to give colour, durability, consistency and other properties to paint. It is also one of the major raw materials, accounting for one-third of the total raw materials cost. Amongst the vital pigments used in the process of paint manufacture is Titanium dioxide (TiO2) and the industry consumes around 60% of TiO2. This pigment is available in two grades: anatase and rutile, of which anatase is exclusively used in interiors while rutile is preferred in exteriors.
Solvents are volatile organic compounds (VOC) used to dissolve, suspend or change the physical properties of other materials. They are generally used to bring down the viscosity of paints to the desired level, which also reduces the cost of paint formation. They constitute 70%-75% of the paint liquid and ultimate escapes into the atmosphere when the fluid dries. Solvents such as ethylene glycols and alcohols are finding wider use as co-solvents in new water-borne formulations.
Binders are generally oils, resins and plasticisers that give paints its protective property. Most resin manufacturers make alkyds, polyesters, emulsion polymers, epoxy resins, amino resins, powder coating resins etc.
Additives are added in small proportion to the paint to improve its performance characteristics in various ways. Skinning inhibitors, fungicides, wetting agents, driers are included in this category.
Around 600 raw materials are required by the...