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Waterborne Ultimatum

By Mike Speidel

    As many of you may have heard, the traffic paint industry is suffering from a raw materials shortage. Components including titanium dioxide (TiO2), acrylic acids, and acrylic resin, among others, are all in short supply, resulting in a shortage of traffic paint commonly used for airfield striping. This shortage potentially affects airports worldwide.

    Respecting the fact that most of you are not paint chemists (don't worry - neither am I), I'll impart what I know in terms that will not send you into a mild coma. Federal specification TT-P-1952E waterborne paints contain acrylic resin which is like the 'glue' of the coating that holds all the ingredients together; acrylic acid is the backbone of resins. TiO2 is present in white paints - it is an organic pigment commonly used in making white... well, white.

    Traffic paint manufacturers are not being supplied enough raw materials to satisfy the demand for marking material. From what I understand, production is 50% and below that of normal output among manufacturers. According to Economics 101, if demand remains the same as supply goes down, price therefore goes up.

    The waterborne shortage is analogous to bakers everywhere suddenly finding flour and eggs to be scarce. It is believed the shortage will be over in time for next year's painting season, but in the meantime, expect prices to rise and be prepared to come up with alternative solutions. Sightline has a few ideas that might help airports cope through the waterborne shortage. If you're interested in solutions, contact me.

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