Hempel gained the patent for the micro-fiber antifouling technology in 1994, in its Nautic Tin-free 8190C product. Today, the technology is incorporated in all Hempel's fouling prevention products. It involves introducing an internal skeleton of fibers into the paint to enhance its mechanical strength - in the same way that steel rods can be inserted into concrete to reinforce a structure.
The company is the only coatings manufacturer to use micro-fibers in its paints.
"Our micro-fiber coatings give the advantage of a stronger product that does not crack or peel," says Group Product Manager Andreas Glud, explaining the value of this technology. "Antifouling products deliver outstanding protection but due to their chemical make-up, their mechanical strength is often weak. That is, the higher grade of antifouling products, the higher risk of cracking. To combat this, we developed our silicate-based micro-fiber technology, which helps reduce dry dock costs."
The technology is now also being used in other Hempel products such as epoxy cargo tank paints and other anticorrosive coatings.
"Through leading edge R&D activities, we strive to deliver products with outstanding properties," says Group Marine Marketing Director, Christian Ottosen. "In this case, we were aware that all antifoulings suffer from strength issues and so we invested in the technology to enhance our paints. We are pleased to announce that we have now sold 100 million liters of micro-fibre based coatings. This clearly demonstrates that we are able to meet the demands of the market and help stakeholders in the marine industry overcome their challenges."