Regularly referred to as intumescent paint, intumescent coatings are utilised in structures as a passive fire resistance fire measure. They are a fireproofing product that can be applied to structures while maintaining the aesthetics.
The most critical element and feature of intumescents is that when they are exposed to high temperatures – such as in a fire, they expand significantly. As the intumescent swells, its density decreases, enabling it to function as an insulator, thus keeping the extreme temperatures from reaching structural members for as long as possible. Remarkably, some intumescent products can expand to more than 100 times their original thickness.
Estimated at a value of USD 1.03 billion in 2019, the global intumescent coatings market is expected to develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% from 2020 to 2027 with original predictions made in 2019 predicting steeper growth in the protection of assets in the oil and gas sector.
Oil & gas companies use intumescent coatings to provide fire protection for their onshore and offshore steel structures, requiring solutions to withstand high temperatures of 1,100°C and above. They are additionally used to protect structural steel from moisture and chemical exposures which make steel brittle while also providing protection against pool and jet fires. Expanding energy demands over the forecast time frame, are expected to drive the oil and gas industry, which is conversely expected to drive the demand for fire proof coatings and fuel market growth in the passive fire protection coatings market over the forecast period.
Expanding global investments in the maintenance and, repair of oil and gas drilling devices, platforms and equipment are additionally forecasted to drive demand for intumescent coatings. A major factor boosting the growth of the market, is the rising demand for energy, shale gas, tight gas and coal bed methane (CBM) on account of the maturity of the conventional oil & gas resources market.
Share & Trends Analysis
Different Technology – Different market penetration
Generally safe and more eco-friendly, water-based intumescent coatings generally have less VOC particles. The solvents are minimal or in low concentrations hence it doesn’t smell as strongly as solvent-based coatings. This is advantageous when being applied in close quarters, or in close proximity to other trades during construction. When it evaporates, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) footprint is minimal, a big plus and an evaluative criteria that more and more builders are taking note of and will drive uptake in the foreseeable future.
By comparison, solvent-based intumescent coatings which are primarily used in offshore oil & gas applications, perform well in low heat and high humidity areas. Compared to water-based coatings, they can be applied thickly to large surface areas exhibit high water resistance and improved adhesion. Be that as it may, significant cost, combined with high volatile organic compounds (VOC) content, is expected to negatively impact solvent-based intumescent coatings segment growth.
On the other hand, in 2019, epoxy based intumescent technology drove the market and represented over 61.0% of global revenue it was found in a report*. Under normal circumstances such as room temperature, these coatings are inert but when subjected to elevated temperatures, they develop a thick char providing a higher level of insulation in the event of fire than the coating system in its un-reacted state.
The cellulosic fire application section drove the fire protection coatings market and represented over 54.0% portion of the worldwide income in 2019. Steel structures – where the primary use is office or residential – are generally protected by the use of cellulosic intumescent coatings. They provide heat resistant layers that protect steel, allowing the structure to stand for longer, and thus allow building occupants to exit more safely and fire crews a longer period of time to get in and fight the flames. Ongoing requirements of law around the world, and greater understanding as regards this technology over older alternatives is forecasted to drive growth.
The oil and gas end-use segment drove the market and represented over 44.0% of worldwide income in 2019. Despite a movement towards more sustainable energy (which will not be instant) demand in this segment is expected to be propelled by rising interests in exploration, deep water ventures, marginal fields, and refining capacity expansion. What’s more, growing emphasis by governments to ensure conformance to stringent fire safety regulations is also expected to push the segment’s development over the forecast period.
Expanding use of gas in the energy mix and, developing shale gas production are expected to support the growth of the oil and gas industry over the forecast period. Epoxy-based coatings (which are not available through Permax sorry to say) are significantly favoured in the oil and gas industry attributable to their capacity to withstand higher temperatures compared to their counterparts.
Through 2019, intumescent sales and product growth were dominated by the Asia Pacific region, with over 33.0% share of the global revenue coming from this area. Coupled with rapid industrialisation and urbanisation especially through India and China, growth is anticipated to boost the demand for intumescent coatings in the region. Whilst VOC’s are potentially harmful to the environment, relaxed laws and regulations regarding these emissions, especially as compared to North America and Europe, means the construction industry’s use of thin-film intumescents is set to grow, especially amongst the construction, automotive, and marine industries of the region.
An interesting corollary growth in this region is that international companies responsible for production of industrial products – including intumescents – are seeing the potential of establishing manufacturing in the region. Improved education levels, relatively low labour costs and access to growth markets means more facilities are being produced, which ironically means more demand for intumescents themselves.
However, the COVID-19 global health pandemic in countries, such as India, China, Indonesia, and Singapore (and to a lesser extent Australia), has led to stoppages or slowdowns in construction activities, which we anticipate will impact the product demand in fire retardant coatings market for the construction industry in the region.
Some closing thoughts
Given the change in 2020 conditions due to COVID-19 as compared to the predictions of 2019, it is worth examining what may happen from here on. It is expected that demand for thin-film, lightweight intumescent coatings will continue to grow. Increased awareness as to the role of fireproofing of residential buildings, aided through the learnings of past experiences in different parts of the globe, is likely to propel market growth over the forecast period.
However, this could all be undermined by COVID related factors which constrain production – namely access to and the price of raw materials – and weakened demand in the automotive, construction, oil& gas and other end-use industries.
Movement restrictions, stoppage of construction and development, work deficiency, decreased spending by customers, weak consumer sentiment, stoppage or reduced production and supply chain disruptions are negatively impacting the growth of end-use industries, with the effects at this stage unknown. Talk of a global recession continues to be a hot topic, but where it hits, how deep it is and the industries which bear the brunt of it, is yet to become clear. However, suffice to say, we expect these factors to curtail the growth predictions made in the report originally.
* Publication: Intumescent Coating Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Technology (Water-based, Solvent-based, Epoxy-based), By Application (Hydrocarbon, Cellulosic), By End Use, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027
Get in Touch
Speak to the leaders in passive fire protection
You are about to download a file from the Permax site. Please note All technical advisory notes generated by Permax are based on research papers, indicative fire tests and any other existing evidence. These documents should not be used as an official evidence as design engineers should review the information and determine the reliability of the documents.
Permax constantly update the documentations based on the new fire testing outcomes and change of standards and regulations. To ensure the documents you read are up-to-date, please contact the Permax technical team.