Now-a-days efforts by the paint manufacturing companies are increasingly focusing on achieving higher level of efficiency in production. Higher level of efficiency naturally brings down the cost of manufacturing and at times causes less environment damages.
In paints manufacturing industry, the most important technological improvement is aimed at the usage of water based instead of solvent based production process and research on this front is expected to become intensive in the next few years.
Solvent based production process is a conventional process and is more complex one too. It is also a time consuming process especially when you compare with the water based production process. More the complex and longer the production process, more will be the consumption of energy. Also, in solvent based production process more man-hour is used which in-turn adds to the cost of production. Due to these drawbacks of solvent based production process, R&D efforts are directed towards creating new water borne products to substitute solvent based products. Through water based production process scientists have been able to realise a leaner production process which is less complex vis-à-vis solvent based production process and also results in less energy consumption and less man-hour usage. Besides that, the reduction of the solvent-based production will lead to less emission and hazardous waste, so waste treatment and disposal costs will be reduced. With this development all efficiencies will be enhanced.
Traditionally, in India solvent-based paints are preferred mainly due to their price advantage. However, in recent years, there has been a steady shift towards use of water-based paints from conventional paints. Shift is taking place due to increasing environment awareness among consumers and also due to the ease of application as well. Consumers have started preferring water-based paints as they dry quickly, emit less odour and are easier to clean (with water). Solvent-based paints, on the other hand, contain high levels of volatile organic compound (VOC), take longer to dry and emit strong odour. This has led to strong consumer inclination towards water-based paints/emulsions as evident from their increased contribution to overall paint demand. For the paint manufacturers, water-based paints fetch 5-7% higher margin than oil-based paints. This is the reason for higher focus on water-based paints by paint companies. Presently, the share of water-based paints in the decorative paints market is 52%, while solvent-based paints account for the balance 48%.