AkzoNobel boosts powder coatings capacity, shifts to greener production

Oct. 29, 2020

AkzoNobel reported Sept. 24 that it's investing €20 million to increase its powder coatings capacity at its plant in Como, Italy, to strengthen its market position and sharpen its focus on greener manufacturing. The added capacity is being installed in a renovated building where powder coatings were originally made, which is a sustainable reuse of an historic part of the site. As well as introducing advanced equipment and technology to deliver higher productivity rates and efficiency gains, the new operation will also use recycled energy to reduce consumption.

The Como facility is already the company’s biggest plant in Europe for producing powder coatings, and it will expand to produce more automotive coatings. It will also provide strategic backup for AkzoNobel’s plant in Arnsberg, Germany, where a new line is being added to better secure supplies for customers. This project follows recent investments by the company in China and Vietnam to install greener facilities and production methods, which will help it achieve its sustainability ambitions.

“We’re implementing a structured expansion plan to boost capacity at both our Como and Arnsberg sites. It will help strengthen our market position, and give us backup if we encounter supply issues,” explains Daniela Vlad, business director of AkzoNobel Powder Coatings. “Although powder coatings are already inherently sustainable, we’re also committed to making our own buildings and facilities as sustainable as possible. The company has set a clear ambition to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050, so we’re accelerating our efforts to embrace renewable energy and introduce more smart manufacturing technology.”

The Como plant investment follows August’s announcement about a major plant expansion at AkzoNobel's AmataIndustrial Park facility in Vietnam. Production capacity for marine and protective coatings and wood coatings is being boosted, with a wide range of sustainability features being introduced. These include solar power generation, rainwater harvesting and solvent recovery systems. Another recent upgrade in Guangzhou, China, involves switching over completely to water-based products. This decorative paints site will increase water reuse by 70% and reduce wastewater by 50%, helping it achieve 100% water reuse at its most water-intensive sites by 2030. About 33% of the company’s locations presently use renewable electricity.