On occasion of the company’s centenary, Ipcm® International Paint & Coating Magazine interviewed the Junghanns family: Carlo, founder of the holding company Junionfin, and children Julie and James who now lead Arsonsisi Technological Coatings along with their father.
Ipcm®: Junionfin acquired Arsonsisi in 1987. What were the market goals at the time?
Carlo J.: It was a key acquisition for laying the base for a growth strategy on the market of industrial coatings. During those years, Arsonsisi was one of the few Italian companies that could claim valuable experience in powder coatings, which has been one of our company’s specialties since the 1970s.
Ipcm®: How did Arsonsisi react to the financial crisis of 2009?
Carlo J.: By investing and broadening the offer. It was in 2009 that we started a series of important acquisitions and a reorganisation of production processes, which allowed us to satisfy the whole coating cycle for any kind of product and to consolidate our position internationally.
Ipcm®: How do you believe the market was reconfigured after the economic crisis ended?
Carlo J.: Without a doubt, the crisis affected the industrial coatings sector and will continue to have effects in its rearrangement. The main factor is definitely an acceleration in the consolidation of some players to the detriment of others, who were either bought up or closed their businesses. That’s not all, though: the constant pursuit of greater competitiveness in general of industrial customers has led to significant changes also in the technology of products. Take for example the now common use of the powder-on-powder system that speeds up coating and yields notable energy savings.
On the other hand, the restriction or prohibition of the use of some substances deemed hazardous for the environment and humans caused another important change in direction of technology, a clear example being the ban of hexavalent chromium for chrome-plating of metal and chromate conversion coating of aluminium.
All that was accompanied by a growth in competition among coatings producers with regard to prices and services offered.
Ipcm®: What are the current objectives of the Group?
James J.: The objectives of the Group can be summed up in a word: internationalisation. Arsonsisi by now possesses such a wide range of technologies on products for industry that puts it in a position to meet any demand, so it’s only logical to concentrate now on expanding internationally.
Ipcm®: What are the industrial sectors of reference for powder coatings?
Julie J.: All major industrial sectors, also the most complex: automotive, architecture, furnishings, household appliances and heating with large production batches.
Our multipurpose epoxy powders of the BASEPOX® series have been sold around the world for some time and represent a solid point of reference in the industry devoted to the design and protection of pipelines for hydrocarbons.
We are also active in the sector of coatings for third parties.
Overall, we offer a full range with over 400 colour codes in stock, updated to meet market demands.
Ipcm®: And what are those for liquid coatings?
Julie J.: Definitely automotive, where we are suppliers to the major producers of alloy and steel wheels, both for OEM and the aftermarket; to the lighting industry and the general industry.
The growth strategy of the Arsonsisi Group for general industry materialised in 2015, when Beckers Industrial Coatings Italia granted the exclusive license to Arsonsisi for the production and sale of liquid paints for drums, tanks, GPL cylinders and pipes.
Over the last year we have also strengthened our presence in the industry of agricultural machinery, construction and earthmoving machines (ACE).
The variety and special features of our range of specialty coatings allows us to reach more specialized and sophisticated sectors, such as coatings for glass, eyeglasses, packaging, cosmetics and jewellery.
With the products for electrodeposition and water immersion we cover the heating and household appliance sectors.
The selection of protective coatings for anticorrosion includes a range of specialised cycles approved by public and private entities complying with the most stringent industry specifications and in line with standards UNI ISO 12944-2-2001 for the protection of steel structures.
Arsonsisi’s technological capital in the anticorrosion derives from the experience gained by Elcrom Srl, a company highly specialised in the development of protective coatings and dedicated tinting systems that allow production costs to be optimised by utilising bases in common with other systems.
Colour fidelity has always been one of Arsonsisi’s strong points; we count many joint collaborations with the world of architecture and design where colour quality is of extreme importance.
Today, the big innovation at Arsonsisi in the tinting system market is called Gemini System, a new tinting system that can realise all types of industrial products, either solvent or water-based, utilising the same set of 24 colouring pastes.
Basically, it is like having two tinting systems in one.
Besides being compatible with all types of industrial paints, Gemini System is supplied with a database including over 2500 institutional colours and numerous corporate colours.
Ipcm®: How is the Group structured as regards marketing and sales?
James J.: Arsonsisi is part of the Junionfin Group together with J Colors SpA, which deals in paints for wholesale and the building industry, and Elcrom Srl which produces anticorrosive coatings and tinting systems for industry.
Jointly with the sister company Elcrom, Arsonsisi has four production facilities in Italy: Verbania for powder coatings, Lainate for electrodeposition, Berlingo for industrial liquid coatings and Udine for anticorrosion and tinting systems.
In Turkey, we have a joint venture for production of powder coatings, whereas in Spain, Estonia and Russia the company relies on its own sales force.
We cover the national territory and the major European markets with a network of agents and specialised direct representatives.
Ipcm®: How is Arsonsisi positioned on its foreign markets of reference?
James J.: We export about 60% of our production. France, Spain, Estonia and Russia are the chief markets for powder coatings for household appliances and the general line, while the products for automotive, pipelines for hydrocarbons and the heating plants reach countries of the Middle East and China. These latter countries are the same markets that have an interest in our paints for anaphoresis and dip coating.
Exports of liquid coatings are concentrated in Europe, especially in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, where some of our long time clients have relocated production over the years, and then in Turkey.
The UV-curing coatings and other special products, such as paints for glass and plastics see a demand in France and the U.S.
Ipcm®: Where is innovation in the powder coatings industry heading?
James J.: Technologically speaking, the powder coatings market is saturated.
The current tendency is somewhat towards research into colour and solutions for optimizing processes.
Recently, we launched a new series of polyesters for architecture, the Top Quality Collection J 20.20, which anticipates the trends in the design sector with a selection of 35 iconic colours that embrace pastels, soft textured finishes and bonded metallic finishes which assure better application of the paint and a more even finish compared to the classic ones.
I’d also like to mention the development of a new primer for the powder-on-powder cycle.
This is a one-coat cycle that is economic and excellent as far as corrosion protection is concerned, a feature that leads to savings with respect to traditional double layer cycles with separate curings.
Ipcm®: And what about innovations in liquid coatings?
Carlo J.: We are making heavy investments in technologies with a low or non-existent content of formaldehyde, the elimination of bisphenol-A and the reduction of solvent content.
In addition, we strongly believe in UV technology; in fact, at the beginning of the year we set up a new R&D laboratory for UV-curing paints in Berlingo. Our range UVcolor includes coatings with 100% dry residue, solvent- or water-based, suited to an array of applications including the hybrid coatings “Dual Cure” with mixed heat and UV vulcanization for complex three-dimensional objects. In collaboration with our partners, we have developed important technologies for replacing galvanic treatment which requires the use of hexavalent chrome with a UV cycle and sputtering/plasma vapour deposition (PVD).
Ipcm®: Besides the J 20.20 collection, what other products are you focusing on?
Julie J.: The polyesters J Superdurable certified Qualicoat Class 2; the anti-microbial/anti-bacterial paints IONatura; the ANTHERM line, a new generation of coloured athermic powder coatings that enhance thermic insulation performance. As regards the liquid coatings we’re focusing on those with UV curing which reduce production times, and coatings for PVD/Sputtering. Our liquid coatings laboratory is constantly at work on the development of paints with high solids and low content of solvent to reduce emissions and environmental impact as a result.
Ipcm®: Do you foresee the Group making further expansion through other acquisitions in the short or medium term?
Carlo J.: We’re always keeping our eyes on the movements of the market and changes in progress so we can take advantage of them positively. So I’m not ruling out any new commercial agreements or additional expansions, especially internationally.