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March 10, 2017

AKRON, Ohio—Financial investment business Signet Enterprises has announced the launch of a new venture in the field of polymer technology for the protective and structural coatings industries. Creative Polymer Solutions (CPS) will begin operating out of Irondale, Ala., as a manufacturer of protective and structural coatings for municipal, industrial, and commercial sectors.

CPS will co-locate in a polymer blending facility with Sprayroq, a developer and manufacturer of spray-applied resin technology for structural rehabilitation and corrosion protection of water, wastewater, and other industrial infrastructure assets. CPS will specialize in the development and blending of polyurethane and polyurea products intended for corrosion prevention and the rehabilitation of heavily corroded surfaces, predominantly concrete and various metals. CPS will also provide blending capabilities for many segments affected by corrosion.

March 9, 2017

OLDHAM, England—A UK specialty and consumer chemicals manufacturer has announced that it is about to become the first company to commercialize graphene within high-performance protective paints. James Briggs Ltd. has entered into a joint development agreement with Applied Graphene Materials PLC (AGM),Redcar, England, a company dedicated to the manufacture and dispersion of graphene as well as the development of applications for graphene.

The partnership will enable James Briggs’ technical center to begin incorporating graphene nanoplatelets into its existing paint formulations with a view to launching a new range of high-performing primers in early 2017. Company officials expect the introduction of the progressive material, first isolated by the University of Manchester, to significantly improve the protective properties of the new range.

In addition, the two companies will join forces to collaborate on potential applications for lubrication products, which will take advantage of the improved friction properties offered by the application of graphene.

The collaboration comes after AGM announced it had achieved outstanding performance results from proof of concept studies into the use of its graphene in anticorrosive coatings. The PRA, an independent testing consultancy, reportedly evaluated performance through ISO standard accelerated weathering and anticorrosion tests. According to the company, its graphene material is able to deliver a six-fold improvement in barrier and anticorrosion properties at low loading levels.

March 8, 2017

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer, has launched a new global pigments brand to serve customers in the coatings, plastics, printing, cosmetics, and agriculture industries. Called Color & Effects, the new brand combines the manufacturer’s pigments businesses, including its colorants and pigments portfolios.

BASF says it has established teams concentrated solely on each of the five industry segments. The company notes this is the first time it has created dedicated global pigment teams for the agriculture and cosmetics industries. Within the new brand portfolio for coatings, BASF offers pigments for general industrial coatings and coil coatings, as well as pigments and additives for powder coatings. It also offers materials that enhance the quality, appearance, and durability of exterior and interior OEM and refinish coatings in its automotive line. Pigments, pigment preparations, dispersions, and formulation and performance additives for architectural coatings are included within the coatings umbrella.

March 7, 2017

April 19: Advances in Technology of Color Pigments and Dispersion. PRA Coatings Technology Centre, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK. Sponsored by PRA. Contact the PRA training team at training@pra-world.com ; www.pra-world.com/training.

April 25-27: Radiation Curing Technology. PRA Coatings Technology Centre, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK. Sponsored by PRA. Contact the PRA training team at training@pra-world.com ; www.pra-world.com/training.

March 6, 2017

ATLANTA, Ga.—Southern Aluminum Finishing Co. (SAF) celebrated its 70th anniversary last fall. At its founding in 1946, SAF was one of only two anodizing lines in the country. Founder Marvin McClatchey was a chemical engineer and pioneer in anodizing for architectural applications. Still in the family, SAF is currently led by second generation brothers and co-CEOs, Penn McClatchey and Jim McClatchey.

Early customers included commercial glazing contractors working to meet pressing demands for storefront and curtain wall projects in the post WWII building boom. Since then, SAF’s customer base has expanded internationally to include construction specifiers, design-build contractors, commercial construction subcontractors, alternative energy product manufacturers, product engineers, automotive suppliers, and fabricators and manufacturers in many other industries.

March 3, 2017

BURLINGTON, Ont.—A partnership between a university chemist and a chemical company has culminated in a green coating system that reportedly protects metals against corrosion. Paul Zelisko, an organic chemistry instructor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and Burlington, Ont.-based Vanchem Performance Chemicals worked together on a technology called Greencoat, which uses silicon rather than heavy metals to bind coatings to metal surfaces and paint.

What makes the system green is that it is a water-based system that has reactive sand in it. If the material happens to get flushed out or it leaks, you’re effectively releasing sand and water into the environment. The team received a patent for the silane-based pretreatment in the US, with Canadian and European patents pending.

When it comes to protecting steel and other metals from rust and salt damage, traditional coating systems use heavy metals such as zinc phosphate, iron phosphate, or chrome to enable the inorganic substance (metal) and organic substance (paint) to stick to one another. However, phosphates released into the environment can cause algal blooms in lakes and rivers, damaging aquatic plant and animal life.

Zelisko and Vanchem’s system varies from conventional methods by way of its two-step process. First, a base layer of water mixed with silica is sprayed onto the metal, creating a chemical bond with the metal. This not only cleans the metal, but also deposits silica onto the surface. This coating protects the metal while also acting as a primer for the second layer, which was designed to bond well to paint. The second layer contains polysilicates, the basis of which is silicon. Silicates can be modified to stick to both metals and paints.

March 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A Baltimore steel galvanizer is facing $60,000 in federal fines over alleged violations of hazardous waste storage laws. Galvco Maryland, also known as Baltimore Galvanizing, has entered into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While no hazardous materials were released as a result of the alleged mishandling, the agency assessed $60,000 in penalties over the company’s failure to comply with regulations governing permits, inspection, evaluation, and spill containment.

The alleged violations stem from inspections that took place in 2014 and 2015. The violations relate to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs how companies should store and handle hazardous waste. As part of the agreement, Galvco has not admitted any wrongdoing, but the EPA says that the company has proven it is now in compliance. Galvco has been given a schedule for six payments of $10,000 each, all to be made within 180 days of the agreement.

February 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The US Department of Labor has issued an Interim Final Rule to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act passed as part of the highly publicized Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The budget deal of this provision requires immediate penalty increases to catch up with inflation.

Although the Rule applies to all federal regulatory agencies, its impact will be felt most by employers receiving citations from OSHA. This is because many federal agencies quasi-regularly increase their penalties based on inflation. OSHA, on the other hand, has been statutorily prohibited from raising penalties for the last 25 years under a budget bill passed in the 1990s. As a result, OSHA’s penalty catch-up hike will be the most significant of all federal agencies, raising penalties by 78 percent, and increasing employers’ burdens by an estimated $111 million in the first year.

February 27, 2017

TEHRAN, Iran—Researchers in Iran are undertaking work to improve the anticorrosive properties of polymeric coatings. A team at the Institute for Color Science and Technology (ICST) is using graphene to create nanocomposite structures in its efforts to achieve these advancements, the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council (INIC) has reported. Affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, ICST was founded to develop knowledge and technologies in all areas related to color, colorants, paint, and coatings.

Globally, countries spend a large amount of money on corrosion prevention and repairing the damages due to corrosion on an annual basis. Anticorrosive coatings are widely selected to reduce those costs. ICST researchers are using graphene oxide nanoparticles to create nanocomposite structures meant to increase the protective properties of epoxy-based anticorrosive coatings.

While the unique properties of graphene oxide-based nanoparticles have been getting a lot of research attention, these materials are not compatible or stable in most organic solvents. Therefore, surface modification using amine compounds is necessary. The nanosheets help to prevent the diffusion of corrosive agents into the coating or at least postpone the diffusion. Therefore, the life of the coating increases significantly.

The use of synthetic nanocomposite coatings for onshore structures, equipment, and petrochemical units reduces corrosion-related expenses and increases the life of equipment, including pipelines. Results of the ICST team’s research have been published in “Corrosion Science.

February 24, 2017

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany—A new study indicates that Terahertz (THz) technology could be used to give incredibly accurate readings of paint film thickness. THz radiation, electromagnetic waves on a band somewhere between microwave and infrared radiation, can penetrate certain solid, opaque materials.

A team from the University of Kaiserslautern and Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques, also in Kaiserslautern, has published a paper describing how pulses of THz radiation can be used to measure specific layers of coatings. The paper, “Highly Accurate Thickness Measurement of Multi-Layered Automotive Paints Using Terahertz Technology,” was authored by Soufiene Krimi, Jens Klier, Joachim Jonuscheit, George von Freymann, Ralph Urbansky, and René Beigang.

The authors note that this technology could be especially useful in applications like automotive coatings with complex, multilayer coating systems. At this time, automotive coatings are generally measured using sensors that utilize magnetism, eddy currents, or ultrasonic technology.

When THz pulses are applied to a surface, an echo comes back from the substrate as well as from each individual coating layer. Individual layers can be measured according to the time delay observed between the different pulse echoes.

The paper isn’t the first to look into the use of THz radiation to measure film thickness, but the new study’s contribution is to refine the algorithm by which the measurement is calculated, making the method much more accurate than in the past. The study states that film thickness can be measured down to less than 10 microns. In some cases, layers as thin as four microns can be measured. The method’s accuracy is usually less than 1 micron, and the method works on metal, carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers and dielectric substrates.

February 23, 2017

LEIOA, Spain—Functional coatings are at the heart of research trials at a Spanish university, where a team of scientists is striving to modify the surface properties of materials to obtain specific properties at a lower cost.

Chemist Alexander Santiago, a researcher in the Department of Polymer Science and Technology at the UPV/EHU University of the Basque Country’s Faculty of Chemistry, is leading the research. The trials are focused on three types of functional coatings: those that are resistant to microorganisms, those that have self-cleaning characteristics, and those that possess antireflective properties.

Coatings or paints are applied to different surfaces for decorative and protective purposes. However, today the market for these materials is being subjected to increasingly tougher specifications and demands. In addition to being decorative and protective, today’s coatings must also have low microorganism adherence, be easy to clean, or be able to self-repair. The development of materials of this type, known as functional coatings, calls for the control of not only of their physical properties but also of the chemical ones of the surfaces produced.

Santiago set out to make a contribution towards the development of functional coatings that are resistant to microorganisms and those that have self-cleaning properties and antireflecting properties. It took numerous trials and tests to obtain functional materials with the desired properties.

In his research of coatings resistant to microorganisms, Santiago focused on a type of copolymer that gives rise to spontaneous phase separation between its components. Through various measurements, the team confirmed that the hydrophobicity of the system depended to a greater extent on roughness than on the siloxane concentration on the surface.

To obtain materials that would display a self-cleaning effect, inorganic nanoparticles of a hydrophobic nature were synthesized in advance and inserted into acrylic polymers using various methods. Specifically, they were silicon nanoparticles with an organic coating. The best results were obtained by spraying these nanoparticles onto acrylic films, producing a superhydrophobic surface and offering very good self-cleaning properties in addition to a high level of toughness.

To obtain antireflecting properties, the films need to have a refractive index lower than that of the substrate, which can be achieved by inserting porosity into them. However, the presence of the pores prevents the antireflecting surfaces from having suitable mechanical properties enabling them to be processed. Santiago studied the porosity/toughness relation with respect to the refractive index obtained and reported that the results were promising. The team’s study of antireflective properties is still in early research stages.

February 22, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—An Arkansas startup has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant meant to help it bring its patent-pending coating technology to market. SurfTec LLC, which is located at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville, was awarded $225,000 to aid in commercialization efforts.

Company cofounders Samuel Beckford and Min Zou say they will use the grant to investigate the feasibility of an approach that significantly improves wear resistance of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings. The technology uses exceptionally thin PTFE coatings in applications that are traditionally off-limits for fluoropolymer coatings due to wear, operating conditions, or decomposition of conventional resin binders. The pair invented the nanocoating technology at the University of Arkansas, where Zou is professor of mechanical engineering. Beckford was pursuing graduate studies there at the time and has since earned a doctorate in microelectronicsphotonics. SurfTec intends to demonstrate that its PTFE nanoparticle composite coating technology — described as a thinner and more durable version of Teflon, which is the trademarked brand name of PTFE — will reduce friction and wear in manufacturing equipment. In addition to being anticorrosive, the new coating is more reliable and should enable equipment to perform better.

The Phase I grant came through NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, which allows federal agencies to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening small businesses that meet federal research and development needs.

February 21, 2017

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands—Ten months after confirming its intentions, coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel has completed its acquisition of BASF’s Industrial Coatings business, which supplies products for the construction, wind energy, commercial transport, and domestic appliances industries. The deal strengthens AkzoNobel’s position as a leading global supplier in coil coatings.

The transaction includes relevant technologies, patents, and trademarks, as well as two manufacturing plants in the UK and South Africa. Approximately 400 employees from BASF’s Industrial Coatings business are slated to bring their expertise to AkzoNobel in its efforts to serve an expanded customer base worldwide. During the next 2 years, a portion of the BASF production volume will be transferred to existing nearby AkzoNobel manufacturing facilities. The full profitability of the acquisition will be realized by the end of 2018.

February 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new rule that would put federal contractors under much closer scrutiny was delayed by a preliminary injunction from a federal judge in October, the day it was scheduled to go into partial effect. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule was published by the Department of Labor and the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council.

Originally issued in July 2014 and amended in 2016, the act was supposed to go into effect October 25. It requires businesses seeking federal contracts of over $500,000 to disclose not only civil and administrative proceedings against them, but also violations of any of 14 listed workplace protections in the past three years. The rule is referred to by critics as the “blacklisting” rule.

The Department of Labor holds that the new rules ensure contractors who don’t follow the rules aren’t rewarded with federal contracts, and those who do are given a fair chance. Some industry voices, though, say the act goes too far in blacklisting companies that violate rules some consider to be unfair.

Industry arguments against the new rule largely center around the idea that enforcement can be subjective, and that violations must be reported even if they haven’t gone through the entire appeals process. Several groups, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, have fervently opposed the rule, bringing a legal challenge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Judge Marcia A. Crone issued the preliminary injunction in the case, noting that the groups had “properly demonstrated immediate and ongoing injury to their members if the rule is allowed to take effect.” She also wrote that the regulations “appear in conflict directly with every one of the labor laws they purport to invoke by permitting disqualification solely upon ‘administrative merits determinations’ that are nothing more than allegations of fault asserted by agency employees and do not constitute final agency findings of any violations at all.”

Further, Crone wrote that the group’s argument that the executive order and subsequent rule from the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council violate the First Amendment has merit because they require contractors to publicly disclose violations of any of the 14 federal labor laws “without regard to whether such violations have been finally adjudicated after a hearing or settled without a hearing, or even occurred at all.”

The labor law violations that must be disclosed according to the new rule include those related to wage and hour laws, health and safety rules, collective bargaining, family and medical leave, and civil rights protections. The three-year window only applies to violations after October 2015. That essentially gives a clean slate for companies with violations before that date.

While the executive order would considerably add to the burden for federal contractors, it’s not the first time firms seeking government contracts have dealt with this sort of procedure. Similar rules, also heralded by some as a blacklist, were put into effect in the waning days of the Clinton administration in 2000, but were rolled back in 2001 after George W. Bush took office.

February 16, 2017

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) has hosted quality training at Alabama Power’s TAC and worked with many area suppliers and end users throughout the past couple of years. There has been increased interest in learning more about the finishing industry and keeping current on the latest trends and technologies within surface finishing. Thus, the formation of the new CCAI Alabama Chapter, which will provide a plethora of events and educational offerings. The chapter’s upcoming events include a fishing trip, plant tours, a golf outing, and several technical presentations.

February 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its first-year plan for activities and actions to enact the newly amended US chemicals law, the first such major chemical management law reform in 40 years.

In its “Implementation Plan,” the EPA notes that The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which was signed into law last June and is a significant amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, imposes new responsibilities on the agency with comparatively short deadlines. Under the new law, the EPA is required to test the tens of thousands of unregulated chemicals that are currently on the market, and the roughly 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year.

The document highlights a description of the new law’s requirements and EPA’s goals. Specific details about how exactly the agency will reach the stated goals is not clear. The EPA has identified three main focus areas: new chemicals, confidential business information, and ongoing TSCA Section 6 rulemaking.

The plan notes that the EPA must review and make decisions on all new confidentiality claims for chemical identity within the 90-day review period. Where a chemical confidentiality claim is upheld, the agency must apply a unique identifier to the chemical and any associated information. The EPA’s goal is to meet the 90-day deadline and develop a plan to link the associated information within 30 days.

As for the agency’s ongoing TSCA section 6 rulemaking, the new law allows the EPA to publish proposed and final rules for chemicals with risk assessments completed prior to June 22, 2016, even if they do not cover all conditions of use. The document indicates that the EPA will move forward with rulemakings to address the risks it has identified with certain uses of trichloroethylene (TCE), methylene chloride (MC), and Nmethylpyrrolidone (NMP). Specifically, the agency hopes to have a proposed rule for MC and NMP use in paint removers soon, with a final rule anticipated by early December 2017.

The Implementation Plan also indicates several other framework actions the EPA intends to establish over the next several months in order to guide the long-term program efforts. They include completing initial risk evaluations of 10 Work Plan chemicals; publishing a prioritization process rule, risk evaluation rule, fees rule, and inventory rule; and establishing a science advisory committee. Critics have said the new law will be an enormous challenge for the EPA.

February 14, 2017

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Powder Coating Institute (PCI) will host its POWDER COATING 2017 Technical Conference from March 27-31 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis, Ind. The conference will offer powder coating education, hands-on training, tabletop exhibits, and networking with industry peers.

The week’s events begin with a workshop based on PCI’s Powder Coating: The Complete Finisher’s Handbook, an evening reception where attendees can interact with workshop presenters and other attendees, and a trip to PPG Industries’ powder facility to experience hands-on demonstrations. After that, the technical conference sessions will take place, with general sessions each morning that are followed by more than 15 breakout sessions. There will be a tabletop exhibition as well. To round out the week, PCI will conduct its Custom Coater Forum, which allows for valuable interaction among custom coaters while they pick up plenty of great tips and information that can positively impact their business. For more info, visit www.powdercoating.org/PowderCoating2017.

February 13, 2017

ORANGE CITY, Iowa—The owners of paint and coatings manufacturer Diamond Vogel have been recognized for their efforts in helping to beautify their home state of Iowa. Established in 2000 as a state affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful program, Keep Iowa Beautiful is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to empowering Iowans to show pride and respect in the places they live by increasing the quality, beauty, and cleanliness of their neighborhoods and communities.

For service in line with that mission, the Vogel family was honored with the fourth-annual Donald F. Lamberti Hometown Pride Vision Award. Keep Iowa Beautiful started the Hometown Pride Vision Award to recognize those Iowans who work to improve and enhance the quality of the state.

Diamond Vogel provides paint to be distributed for free to a wide variety of public service projects throughout the state through the nonprofit’s Paint Iowa Beautiful program. In 2016, paint was donated through the program to 81 community projects in Iowa. Diamond Vogel is a manufacturer of high-quality paints and coatings for the architectural, heavy-duty protective, industrial, traffic, and powder coating markets.

February 10, 2017

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—Over the past several years, the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) has awarded scholarship money from the CCAI Matt Heuertz Scholarship Program to students who are currently enrolled in programs that could lead to a career in the finishing industry. The primary objective of this program is to encourage advanced education in finishing technologies. The scholarship program helps attract bright new talent to the industrial finishing and coatings industry for the future.

CCAI’s National Office is now accepting applications for the 2017 scholarships, with winners to be announced in June. Qualified candidate applications will be reviewed by the National CCAI Education Committee for the National Scholarship Program. Applications will also be sent on to chapters that provide additional scholarship funding for students in their area. Award amounts vary and are determined by the National Office. Scholarship recipients will also receive a free 1-year student membership in CCAI.

For more info, visit www.ccaiweb.com. To apply, students must complete a CCAI National scholarship application, provide a transcript or other grade verification, and include a resume with photo. The application deadline is April 3, 2017.

CCAI has also created a Careers in Finishing Guide for those interested in learning more about the many opportunities available in the industry. The Guide can be downloaded from CCAI’s website.

February 9, 2017

BETHESDA, Md.—RadTech International has announced that Lisa Fine, Joules Angstrom UV Printing Inks, is assuming presidency of the association for a 2-year term beginning in January 2017. Peter Weissman, Quaker Chemical Corp., will move to immediate past president. Eileen Weber, Red Spot Paint and Varnish, has been nominated to serve as president elect and will assume office in 2019.

The following members have been elected to serve on the association’s Board: Susan Bailey, IGM Resins; David Biro, Sun Chemical; Michael Gould, RAHN USA; Alexander Polykarpov, AkzoNobel; Jo Ann Arceneaux, Allnex USA Inc.; George McGill, Coatings and Adhesives Corp.; Xiaosong Wu, DSM Functional Materials; Mark Gordon, Inx International Ink Co.; Beth Runlet, Katecho Inc.; Paul Elias, Miwon North America; Jennifer Heathcote, Phoseon Technology; and Alrick Warner, Procter and Gamble.

In addition, Christopher M. Seubert, Ford Motor Co., has been elected to serve as an at-large board member. RadTech is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of ultraviolet and electron beam technologies, including 3D printing, UV LEDs, food packaging, electronic materials and displays, and inkjet applications.

February 8, 2017

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.—ASTM International has announced that John Fletcher, Elcometer, will serve a 3-year term on the association’s board of directors. A member of ASTM International since 2007, Fletcher is currently serving as the vice chairman of the Committee on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials, and Applications (D01). ASTM’s board of directors is made up of 25 leaders from an array of companies, associations, and government bodies worldwide. ASTM is a standards development organization that serves as an open forum for the development of international standards.

February 7, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.–In October, the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program celebrated the 30th anniversary of its creation under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment.

US facilities in different industry sectors must report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. A release of a chemical means that it is emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal. The information submitted by facilities is compiled in the TRI. TRI helps support informed decision-making by companies, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.

February 6, 2017

JASPER, Ga.–Top Gun Powder Coating and Architectural Coating, a leading provider of world class architectural finishes, is opening a new location in Adairsville, Ga. In addition, the company is in the process of creating a total of 70 new jobs 60 at the Adairsville site and 10 at its existing Jasper, Ga., location. Top Gun provides architectural coating, powder coating, industrial liquid and military coating, and media blast cleaning services.

February 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.–OSHA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency’s Respiratory Protection Standard. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard, and construction industries.

Appendix A of the standard contains mandatory respirator fit-testing methods that employers must use to ensure their employees’ respirators fit properly and protect the wearer. The standard also allows individuals to submit new fit-test protocols for OSHA approval. TSI Inc. submitted an application for new protocols for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators and filtering facepiece respirators.

The proposed protocols are variations of the existing OSHA-accepted PortaCount protocol, but differ from it by the exercise sets, exercise duration, and sampling sequence. The agency invites the public to comment on the accuracy and reliability of the proposed protocols, their effectiveness in detecting respirator leakage, and their usefulness in selecting respirators that will protect employees from airborne contaminants in the workplace. Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 6, 2016.

This proposed rulemaking would allow employers greater flexibility in choosing fit-testing methods for employees. The proposed rule would not require an employer to update or replace current fit-testing methods, as long as the fit-testing method(s) currently in use meet existing standards. The proposal also would not impose additional costs on any private or public sector entity.

February 2, 2017

HOUSTON, Tex.–Anticorrosion coatings and lubricants provider A-76 Technologies Inc. has changed its name to Aidant Brands. As part of the rebranding initiative, its A-76 line of preservation coatings will now be identified as the Rust Patrol line. The rebranding strategy was part of an effort to better speak to its customers, both in the industrial and household space, as well as to plan for future expansion. Aidant Brands launched in 2014 under the A-76 Technologies name.

February 1, 2017

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany–Known as a multinational chemicals manufacturing corporation, BASF is expanding its coatings portfolio through the acquisition of a global surface treatment business. BASF has signed an agreement to acquire Chemetall, a global business unit of specialty chemical company Albemarle Corp., at a purchase price of $3.2 billion. The all-cash deal is expected to close by the end of 2016 and is subject to approval by the relevant authorities and other customary closing conditions.

Chemetall, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, specializes in metal surface treatment chemicals that offer protection from corrosion, prepare parts for the painting process, and ensure coating adhesion. These chemicals are used in a wide range of industries and end markets, primarily automotive, aerospace, coil, and metal forming. The company reported $845 million in sales in 2015.

According to BASF, the acquisition will give BASF access to key growth industries such as automotive and aerospace and further enhance its global footprint with localized production and technical centers in China and India. BASF will add surface treatment to its current portfolio. It will also add Chemetall’s high-quality resources and technical expertise.

January 31, 2017

MIDLAND, Mich.–Within weeks of The Dow Chemical Co,’s completion of its strategic ownership restructuring of Dow Corning Corp., the specialty chemical giant announced the elimination of 2,500 jobs as part of the integration process. In addition to the job cuts, which reduce Dow’s workforce by 4 percent, the company said it would be closing two silicone manufacturing sites as well as other administrative corporate and manufacturing locations. Dow frames the actions as a means to better accelerate the anticipated benefits of the restructuring while increasing value for shareholders.

Dow anticipates its integration of Dow Corning’s silicone technologies and products will help it expand its footing in high-growth, high-value markets such as building and construction, transportation, and others. Having spent $4.8 billion to end the 73-year joint venture, Dow expects the deal to achieve approximately $500 million in annual savings. It also expects the ownership change to deliver $1 billion of additional annual earnings. Dow Corning will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow, and will be headquartered with Dow in Midland.

In an effort to consolidate its workforce and operations, Dow said it plans to eliminate 2,500 positions globally over the next two years. Employee notification has already begun, but the company will work to place affected employees into other open roles within the company if eligible. In addition to the workforce reduction, the company intends to shutter select administrative, corporate, and manufacturing facilities as a means to further enhance competitiveness and streamline costs associated with the deal. Additional savings are expected from actions to institute materials and maintenance best practices, standardize energy contracts at large sites, optimize warehouse and logistics assets, consolidate IT service, and make better use of existing research and development systems.

January 30, 2017

CANBERRA, Austrailia–Scientists in Australia have announced a new superhydrophobic protective coating that could one day find uses ranging from preventing ice formation on airplanes and protecting boat hulls from corrosion to waterproofing mobile phones. That’s because their new spray-on material boasts a remarkable ability to repel water, according to scientists at the Australian National University (ANU).

The ultrarobust coating can be applied to clay, stone, bricks, cardboard, wood, paper, metal, plastics, windows, building materials, and marine applications. And whereas existing superhydrophobic coatings are reported to be very susceptible to wear damage, the ANU team says it was able to retain the micro nanostructures of its coating, even after extensive wear.

The team was able to develop a coating more robust than existing coatings because it was created by combining two plasticsone tough and one flexible. The two plastics, polymethyl methacrylate and polyurethane, make the coating up to 60 times more functionally robust than other test materials. They also developed two ways of creating the material, which happen to be cheaper and easier than current manufacturing processes. One method uses a flame to generate the nanoparticle constituents of the material. For lower temperature applications, the team dissolved the two components into a sprayable form. The water-repellent coating is also transparent and extremely resistant to ultraviolet radiation.

In addition to waterproofing, the ability to control the properties of materials could be applied to a wide range of other coatings. For instance, the same principles could be applied to functional coatings to make them more robust in order to be anticorrosive, self-cleaning, or oil-repellent.

January 27, 2017

OTTOWA, Ont.–The organization representing Canada’s major paint and coating manufacturers and their industry suppliers, has announced the winner of its Industry Achievement Award. The Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA) recognized Laura Johnston, Axalta Canada’s technical and regulatory manager, with the award for her exceptional industry contributions. For the past seven years, Johnston has worked with CPCA in various roles, and also represents CPCA on the government of Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Current Issues Committee.

January 26, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, Tex.–Ten months after a fire halted production for a Texas industrial custom coatings manufacturer, the company reports it is back up to full production on site following a recovery process that enabled it to build a stronger and safer business. Century Industrial Coatings, based in Jacksonville, Tex., suffered a catastrophic fire that leveled its production facility on August 12 shortly after midnight. The cause of the fire is still unknown. Because the blaze occurred after working hours, no employees were on site and no injuries were reported. However, because the production facility itself was destroyed, all production came to an immediate stop.

Getting production back on track was a priority. The company was prepared with a backup manufacturing plan in case of emergency. In less than one week after the incident, the company began production at a backup production facility in Grand Prairie, Tex. As a result, within 10 days of the fire, the first paint order left Texas on a truck headed to New York.

As production resumed off-site, the company tackled cleanup of the Jacksonville property. Century worked closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality during this process to ensure the cleanup was properly executed. As it approached its rebuild, the company took advantage of the opportunity to plan a production facility that would be even safer and more efficient than the last. Plans included an open floor plan and enclosed bulk raw material storage.