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Adhesives Ingredients
The material selection platform
Adhesives Ingredients

NatureWorks Targets C.A.S.E with New Lactide Technology

SpecialChem – Jun 29, 2017

NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of renewably-sourced polymers and chemicals to the packaging, polymers, fibers, and chemical markets.

Read our interview with Brian Glasbrenner, Commercial Manager, and Dr. Bill Coggio, Application & Technology Development Manager, from NatureWorks about their new Performance Chemicals division & lactide technology for coatings and adhesives that helps customers realize product performance benefits, increase R&D process efficiency, and decrease systems costs.

NatureWorks has long been known for making Ingeo biopolymer, what’s new about your Performance Chemicals division?

Brian: Our new Performance Chemicals Division has been launched to design, produce, and market various chemicals to the CASE and fine chemicals market. These include:

  • Lactides
  • Polyols
  • Binder resins, and
  • Chemical intermediates

We’re building off our lactide monomers which have long been known as a building block for Ingeo. Now with new proprietary technology we are transforming the versatility and performance properties of that lactide chemistry into Vercet, which is a tunable platform of lactide-based solutions for markets like:

  • Adhesives
  • Coatings, and
  • Elastomers

Tell us more about the Vercet platform. What is it exactly?

NatureWorks Business Illustration
Brian: Vercet represents both a product and a process. We are looking to pair our Vercet lactide-based building blocks with collaborative partnerships that will help customers realize:

  • Differentiated product performance
  • Faster product development cycles, and
  • Decreased systems costs 

Bill: Vercet is a very flexible chemistry that is based around three initial chemistry platforms:

  • Lactide monomers
  • Polyols, and
  • Polymeric resins

Working from these platforms, we seek to partner with customers to tailor product or physical attributes that achieve the performance benefits customers are looking to bring to market.

What are the performance attributes that Vercet can bring to the coatings and adhesives markets?

Bill: Vercet is fundamentally a polyester chemistry. In the coating or adhesives space where a polyester is the solution of choice, the lactide-based polyesters are very flexible in how you can tailor them to achieve different properties. The customizable properties of Vercet polyols provide excellent properties in polyurethane like:

  • Hardness
  • Solvent resistance
  • Low color

Vercet lactides can be used to create low volatile organic compound (VOC) solvent-borne alkyd resins for wood and metal coatings that have excellent adhesion and impact resistance. Solvent-borne coatings and hotmelt adhesives utilizing Vercet intermediate resins offer a tunable work life, more end-of-life options, excellent adhesion, as well as low dispensing temperatures for:

  • Food packaging applications
  • Paper applications
  • Fiber board applications
  • Wood applications

Brian: This degree of flexibility is something that I think customers will look to because they want solutions that solve as many problems as possible. There is never a one size fits all, but our lactide derivatives offering an interesting new portfolio of performance attributes.

Also, since we use biobased feedstocks to produce the Vercet lactide building blocks, they DO NOT have the price volatility and supply chain pinch points of traditional coating and adhesive components.

Vercet Lactide Applications

Describe further the type of companies you’re looking to partner with and how the process for developing custom solutions will work.

Brian: Our Performance Chemicals group looks for customers who are:

  • Open to collaboration
  • Focused on innovation, and
  • Value speed to market

As we said, it’s not just about a product, it’s about a process. We’ve seen our initial successes where we’ve had an open, collaborative dialogue with customers who leverage our expertise and are driven to bring new products to market.

Why is NatureWorks the best partner for companies looking for new properties in coatings & adhesives?

Bill: NatureWorks brings over 25 years of expertise in lactide-based chemistries. We have a dedicated group of scientists and engineers focused on customizing the new Vercet lactides and intermediates for the CASE market. NatureWorks has invested in new labs and equipment for testing adhesives and coatings.

We also have pilot equipment to enable customized synthesis on a scale from grams to kilos to commercial scale. NatureWorks’ investment is about committing people and resources to ensure an effective collaboration cycle with our customers.

What should we expect to see from NatureWorks in this space over the next year?

Brian: Look for our expanded and accelerated presence in the CASE space as we become formally visible in the market place. We are working on exciting innovations in alkyd coatings and in polyols for coatings and adhesives that will be launched this fall at the:

  • Western Coatings Show, October 15-18, 2017 - (Dr. Bill Coggio will present Vercet Lactide Intermediates For Alkyd Coatings Technologies)
  • Coatings, Trends & Technologies Show, September 14-15, 2017 - (Dr. Bill Coggio will present Natural, Bio-Based Lactide Polyester Polyols as Useful Reactive Intermediates for Urethane Adhesives and Coatings)

Bill: You’re also going to see lactide-based materials expand beyond paper and packaging to a much broader portfolio of application areas such as:

  • Wood laminating adhesives
  • Metal coatings

There’s a lot of exciting work going on that we can’t wait to share.

Brian Glasbrenner - Commercial Manager for NatureWorks Performance Chemicals Brian Glasbrenner is the Commercial Manager for NatureWorks Performance Chemicals. He is responsible for sales and marketing strategies in North America and Europe for the Vercet™ line of lactide-based products. Prior to joining NatureWorks, he held positions as Senior Chemist in the Adhesives and Coatings Industry.

Recently, Brian was the Business and Market Development Manager for the Food Service and Rigids packaging businesses within NatureWorks. His role includes supporting strategic customers and application development. Brian holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and in Biology from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Bill D. Coggio - Application and Technology Manager for NatureWorks Performance Chemicals
Dr. Bill D. Coggio is the Application and Technology Manager for NatureWorks Performance Chemicals. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 1991.

Prior to joining NatureWorks, he was the Global Applications Development Lead for BioAmber and a Senior Research Scientist with 3M Company. He holds more than 25 issued US patents & has 12 peer reviewed journal publications. He has given numerous professional seminars and lecturers.

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