Using sustainable raw materials in resin production

By developing advanced, green, and long-lasting materials, Helios Resins has managed to reduce emissions of hazardous organic solvents, create a potential for energy savings, and incorporate bio-renewable raw materials. All this while maintaining high-quality products aligned with the requirements of our most demanding customers.

Sustainable car refinish solutions 

The European Union has adopted directives limiting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Helios Resins has responded to the new set of standards with a range of High-solid (HS) resins, which enable final coatings producers to meet legislation limits with their ready-to-use products. Within the HS resins segment, we pay special attention to car refinish products, where resins and coatings must meet high performance expectations introduced by car paint shops.

During the past few years, over 30 different novel acrylic and polyester types of resins with 70-100% solid content have been developed and successfully launched into the market. We have achieved a 30-50% decrease in their VOCs compared to the standard Medium solid (MS) products. Additionally, a set of unique high-performance Domacryl brand types has been developed to enable our customers to stay ahead of their competitors.

Patented technology has been successfully implemented in the market and has positioned us as a market leader in the segment of FAST-drying acrylic resins for car refinish, general metal and industrial wood protective coatings. In addition to reduced VOCs, our innovative resins bring energy savings through a lower curing temperature and an extended coating lifetime. Importantly, up to 20% of fossil-based raw materials have been replaced by bio-renewables and increased material performance.

Alternative water-based resins

A significant part of R&D activities is related to the development of alternative solutions such as water-based resins, as water represents the “greenest” solvent. The major challenge is water’s incompatibility with traditionally used polymers, which require a very high level of expertise. To provide commercially feasible materials, water-based resins must be high quality, stable, and price-efficient. We have developed and scaled more than 40 different water-based materials to the industrial level to cover various needs, especially in the segments of wood and metal coatings. VOCs have been reduced by as much as 95%.

A tradition of bio-based materials

In the paint and coatings industry, many efforts have been recently devoted to the development of bio-based materials. Bio-based products derive from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine and forestry materials to provide an alternative to conventional fossil-derived products. The conversion of biomass and bio-based ingredients into useful products for paints and coatings provides a considerable and sustainable growth potential. The demand from customers, as well as the Helios Resins team strategy, is to increase bio-based content in produced materials.

The basic and most important bio-based Helios resins, continuously produced for over 50 years, are alkyds which are natural oil modified polyester resins. They represent 7% of produced quantities of Helios Resins. Renewable oils which in nature derive from sunflower, linseed, soybean, castor, tall and others, are standard within the coating industry. Due to the VOCs limitations, alkyd water emulsions are gaining greater acceptance compared to conventional solvent borne (SB) ones, replacing up to 85% of fossil-based raw materials.

Dedicated to a green future

In addition to the established bio-based alkyd production, we are constantly working on developing new bio-based products. Close collaboration with the National Institute of Chemistry has resulted in a patent pending technology where bio-based methacrylic acid was developed to replace fossil-based standard. Furthermore, Helios Resins is participating in COST Action, the European network of furan-based chemicals and materials for sustainable development (FUR4Sustain). The main objective is to catalyze a replacement for terephthalic acid, a widely used building block in resins for coatings and packaging. Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and derivatives are considered a very promising replacement from a renewable origin. Last but not least, Helios Resins is a member of the Strategic Research and Innovation Partnership for the transition into a circular economy, supported by the Slovenian Government. Priorities for the partnership are to reduce the amount of production waste and to reuse existing waste as raw material for new products.