Eric Borgstedt, Global Marketing Manager, Solvents, Aerosol & Solvents Fluorine Products group, Honeywell

Eric Borgstedt, Global Marketing Manager, Solvents, Aerosol & Solvents Fluorine Products group, Honeywell

11:19 AM, 16th October 2017
Eric Borgstedt, Global Marketing Manager, Solvents, Aerosol & Solvents Fluorine Products group, Honeywell
Eric Borgstedt, Global Marketing Manager, Solvents, Aerosol & Solvents Fluorine Products group, Honeywell.

Leading the market with panache

In an interview, Eric Borgstedt with Chemical Today Magazine talks about the changing quotients of end user industries, which is constantly keeping the solvents industry on its path of innovation.

By Shivani Mody

Trends and developments in the solvent industry. 

There are two significant trends impacting the global supply and use of industrial solvents: A regulatory environment that drives adoption of products that are safer for the environment and the user, and new, more challenging technical requirements resulting from increased component complexity.

 Regulations tend to drive awareness of both hazards and potential solutions. In the recent past, we have seen numerous countries recognize the scientific data and act to control or phase out many popular cleaning solvents including n-methyl pyrollidone (NMP), halogenated CFCs (TCE and PERC) and HCFCs like HCFC-141b, among others. The increased scrutiny led to the development of several commercially viable and readily available alternatives including hydrofluoroethers (HFEs), hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs) and workplace mitigation techniques to reduce worker exposure. Some of these technologies have very favorable environmental properties. HFO-1233zd has an ultra-low global warming potential of 1, is non-ozone-depleting, and is non-flammable. This new class of products is becoming the standard for environment and worker safety.

The second trend is driven by the increasing complexity of modern cleaning and surface treatment. Mechanical parts and components, such as those employed in the aerospace and medical device applications, are generally shrinking in size and increasing in complexity. Conventional cleaning solutions are limited in their ability to adequately penetrate and remove contaminants due to their relatively high surface tensions. Surface tension is related to cleaning power, and this is one aspect any practitioner must consider when changing solvent operations.

Growth opportunities for solvents.

The global market for solvents is quite large and growing, not just with industry growth but also by gaining share from not-in-kind aqueous cleaning as global sensitivity to the responsible supply and use of scarce water resources is increasing. With that said, growth opportunities tend to be segmented and regionally specific. Where legislators have acted to encourage conversion to modern alternatives, we see significant opportunities even in those segments that are historically slow to change.

Sectors with growth potential in emerging markets.

Markets segments that place a high premium on precision cleaning for critical end use applications (eg. medical device assembly) will always be first to explore new alternatives. But the price of new alternatives can sometimes discourage early adopters in the most cost sensitive segments. This is always a concern when adopting any new technology. So many use a total cost of ownership approach that includes indirect factors like water usage/savings, regulatory compliance, and enhanced workplace safety that can be factored into the analysis. When all costs incurred or avoided are balanced, new technology is more attractive than many people might think. And, a growing base of users tends to drive the price of new products down over time as manufacturers benefit from economies of scale.

Understanding customer demands.

Solvents have many different industrial users, and the requirements depend on their location in the value chain and ultimate customer requirements. For example, solvents used as feedstock or chemical intermediaries have very different requirements compared to solvents used for component cleaning just prior to mechanical assembly. Very generally speaking, solvent users look for performance, compatibility with existing production schemes, operating economics, regulatory compliance, and workplace or end-user safety.

Market potential of solvents in developed and emerging markets. 

Industrial solvent use is quite diverse and defies broad classification regardless if located in a high-growth region or developed market. The first and most important common denominator is acceptable performance in the target application, with changes in operating costs perhaps more important in some regions/applications than others. 

Insight into company’s solvents/fluorinated solvents business.

Honeywell invested significant resources to develop HFO solvent technologies into a global solution engineered to balance compliance with current and proposed regulations with improved performance at a reasonable cost.  Honeywell’s HFO products are now providing environmentally preferable solutions in automobile air conditioning, industrial chillers and commercial refrigeration, consumer air conditioners, and polyurethane insulation, to name a few.

Honeywell Solstice® Performance Fluid solvents are being used for critical cleaning and solvency in a growing number of aerospace, medical device, micromachining, and automotive markets worldwide.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States recently selected Solstice Performance Fluid as its preferred solvent to replace AK-225 for critically cleaning in oxygen propulsion rocket systems. The list of end uses is growing and diverse, including replacing HCFC-141b in HVAC/R refrigeration circuit cleaning and HFC-365mfc in many types of aerosol spray formulations.

Company’s business plans in Asia Pacific region.

Honeywell's Fluorine Products business has significant presence and footprints in Asia Pacific regions with decades-long history. As of today, Honeywell Fluorine Products business is serving customers across the region with its advanced non-ozone-depleting and next-generation low-global-warming-potential solutions and address the environment needs. Asia Pacific region continues to be a key growth engine for Honeywell and we see great micro trends in the regions as environment protection, energy efficiency, urbanization and smart manufacturing, which are all great opportunities for us to drive our refrigerant, foam, and aerosol & solvents business.

Honeywell will continue to invest R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the regions and provide APAC customers with more innovative and environmental solutions to meet their special needs, and we can also leverage the experience and domain expertise to global, which is the core for Honeywell’s “East for East, East to Rest” strategy.

Focus on R&D and innovation.

Honeywell has invested significant technical resources in the development of HFO solvent technologies, introducing Solstice Performance Fluid, PF-2A, PF-HP, PF-C and EZ Flush. Honeywell is continuing to devote effort to develop HFO solvent technologies to expand the portfolio of technical cleaning capabilities to meet the broad range of current and future customer needs. 

Challenges in the industry.

Manufacturers of solvents need to ensure their innovation keeps pace with the challenging cleaning needs of industry and customers. As parts and components are getting smaller and more complex, it becomes critical to deliver more functionality. Also the difficulty, to remove all soils and contaminants from the internal and external surfaces of these parts, increases. In addition to be able to clean, it is also important to confirm that their solvents meet regulatory compliance requirements around the world.

Making sustainability a reality.

Fluorocarbons (CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs) have historically been used as safe and efficient chemicals for a variety of applications, including working fluids for refrigeration and air conditioning, blowing agents for plastic foam insulation, aerosol propellants, and industrial solvents. However, due to environmental concerns over ozone depletion and global warming, these historical materials have been or are in the process of being phased down. Honeywell, a major global producer of fluorocarbons, has stepped up to the challenge of developing a new generation of fluorocarbons that maintains or improves the excellent performance attributes of the prior generation fluorocarbons while reducing environmental concerns.

The new generation materials, which are of the class of materials known as haloolefins, are being commercialized by Honeywell today under the Solstice® name. The Solstice® family of products includes several products specifically engineered and optimized to meet the needs of the myriad of end-use applications where these products will be used. Solstice® Performance Fluid has been developed for the solvents industry. It has excellent performance but with a significantly improved environmental profile.

Meeting regulatory requirements for solvents globally.

Regulatory requirements are generally determined by the importing country, with a few exceptions, such as the European Union. In industrialized nations, countries follow the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols and are now implementing the recently signed Kigali amendment. The HFO technologies Honeywell has developed meet current regulations, specifically having the lowest global warming potential and ozone depletion values available in the market today.

© Chemical Today Magazine


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