Using the sun’s energy for a long-term barrier
Suzanne Frost finds out more about offshore technology that has become a first in the South African paint industry
PEOPLE have been painting for the past 20 000 years, from the cave man who used iron oxides to the ancient Egyptians who developed paints from pigments in the soil. Just when you thought the paint industry had it all we learn that it is about to be revolutionised by a world-wide technology active in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and medicine.
In SA we now have access to a self-cleaning exterior wall paint, Duram NanoTech, through the use of an advanced technology called nano, which develops a dynamic, protective molecular layer. These self-cleaning, photocatalytic nano particles are energised continually by the sun’s UV rays, even on cloudy days, to decompose dirt, mildew, fungi, algae and pollution.
“Being a small paint-manufacturing company has given us an advantage in introducing new concepts and technologies to the paint market,” says Simon Stekhoven, CEO of Duram.
“Size is important in NanoTech. Its microscopic-sized nano particles — each less than a millionth of a millimetre in size — are integrated into the molecular structure of the paint, giving performance and protection that far exceeds the traditional pigments used in conventional paint.”
The company prides itself on innovation and says it developed SA’s first acrylic waterproofing system, first water-based enamel paint and first 700ºC heat-resistant paint. It has designed this new generation of paint technology to include a protective layer of sunblock embedded in the paint, helping to preserve its vivid colour.
“We have needed to adopt a strategy of innovation in order to compete with the bigger established paint brands in SA,” says Stekhoven.
“We have found that being focused on sourcing new raw materials and internationally developed technology has given us an edge.”
He says that NanoTech’s active ingredient is energised by the sun, continually working to ensure a longer attractiveness of the building years after exposure, unlike conventional paints that deteriorates over time. Ideal for the South African environment, the nano particles offer excellent protection against our extreme conditions, specifically the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.
“Even though nano technology is only in its infancy we have seen how vastly it improves paint performance,” says Duram’s technical manager, Ken Greaves.
“We are constantly on the hunt for ground-breaking technologies that will enhance the benefits of paint, as in the case of NanoTech, where we monitored international trends before we developed it to change the South African paint market.”
He says that in addition to NanoTech’s enhanced weatherprotective qualities and self-cleaning nature, the paint has an inbuilt hardness, is scrub resistant and requires low maintenance. Duram has designed a pure acrylic formulation with a smooth matt finish that resists fading and chalking, bridges hairline cracks and minor imperfections and comes with an eight-year guarantee.
As an environmentally friendly product working with nature to self-clean, NanoTech is waterbased, non-toxic, lead and heavy metal-free, with no added harmful ingredients, says Greaves.