The multibillion dollars industry which historically

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The multibillion dollars industry, which historically has relied upon organic polymers, in principle might be largely aff ected by the introduction of the sol–gel silica hybrid coatings nanochemistry technology on large scale. A closer look at the coatings market reveals that coatings’ manufacturers include some of the world’s largest chemical companies ( Akzo Nobel, PPG, Sherwin-Williams, BASF, Valspar, Nippon Paint ), whose revenues exceeded 120 billion USD only in 2013 (growing at a 5% annual rate) [28]. These companies supply customers across a wide range of sectors including automotive, consumer electronics, aviation, shipping and leisure craft, sports equipment, construction, furniture, and food and beverage. Beyond decorative coatings, the most advanced class of paints is comprised of so-called “ performance coatings” (industrial and car finishes, marine and packaging coatings). These companies use well-established manufacturing technologies that provide them with low (<10%) fixed costs as a percentage of revenue [29]. Under these conditions, changing existing manufacturing processes and product technologies may not be convenient. On the other hand, we have recently explained elsewhere [30] that the historical barriers to commercialization of many innovative sol–gel products are now over. The cost of silanes has dropped and continues to diminish, while many successful sol–gel products and sol–gel coatings have been successfully commercialized. It is the new companies specializing in sol–gel coatings that will likely continue to supply innovative coating formulations for a wide variety of applications, until customers will start to replace older technologies with the new hybrid silica-based coatings. According to this argument, all the sol–gel nanocoatings suppliers identified by two innovation economists in 2007 [31] were just-established small- and medium-size com- panies (Table 6.2). One of them, Nanogate , originally a spin-off of the Leibniz Institut für neue Materialien in Germany, where the team led by Schmidt had developed the ORMOCER since the early 1980s, today is a public company with over 550 employees, and current turnover exceeding EUR 68 million, expected to reach EUR 80 million in 2015 [32]. Table 6.2 Selected sol–gel nanocoatings brought to the market as of 2007 (reproduced from Ref. [31], with kind permission). Coating property Application User/producer Scratch resistant Synthetic glasses Driver’s license Plexiglas lenses Centrifuges Rupp & Hubrach Bundesdruckerei Berlin Schweizer Optik Surface Contacts Anti-adherence Medical tools Carpets Nanosol Nanogate Anti-bacterial Hearing aid Medical probes Audio Service Nanosol, Surface Contacts
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Silica-Based Sol–Gel Coatings 157 When this turning point is reached, the largest suppliers of traditional, polymer- based coatings will also expand their technology portfolio and turn to sol–gel science and technology to manufacture their main “performance” (i.e. functional) coatings. It is somehow revealing, in this respect, to learn that industry-sponsored websites [33]
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  • Fall '19
  • Sol-gel, Formulations, Sol–Gel Coatings

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