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AkzoNobel helps Italian aluminum coating business move with the times

With sustainability top of minds, and architects demanding lighter, more natural tones and wood-effect finishes from their suppliers, DFV – the Italian aluminum coating business – knew it had to move with the times, or risk being left behind.

Today, thanks to a collaborative mindset and an innovative Interpon powder coating technology from AkzoNobel that can make aluminum look like wood, DFV is firmly out in front. Previously focused on the industrial sector, DFV is now recognized as a leader in architectural products. Its successful partnership with Interpon means that its aluminum facades, window systems and exterior doors that feature a wood-effect finish are currently its strongest USP, and even promoted under its own ‘Ezy’ range brand.

The secret to the company’s transformation is Interpon D WGF, a powder coating that enables designers to achieve a wood grain effect by using a ‘powder on powder’ technology patented by DFV. A major advantage is that it overcomes the design constraints that ‘real’ wood presents in terms of its weight and consistency of finish. It means items such as windows, doors, screens, shutters, and louvres can be transformed to present all the natural beauty and warm aesthetic appearance of wood but without the labor-intensive and costly aftercare requirements associated with choosing a natural finish.

“We are no longer just leaders in the industrial space,” says Luciano De Francesco, President of DFV. “Interpon has facilitated us being major players in the design arena too. This has built our reputation and taken us to a totally different customer base. The innovation from the AkzoNobel team means that we produce designs to the high standards and color specifications that architects and designers require, moving the business away from being solely an industrial provider.”

DFV and AkzoNobel are by no means strangers to one another. It’s a partnership that spans a quarter of a century. As well as Interpon D WGF, DFV also uses Interpon D STF, a special powder that uses printed films and sublimation technology to deliver the special wood effect designers are looking for.

At the beginning of the partnership, Interpon delivered 30% of DFV’s powder coating needs. Today, it provides 50% of a much larger volume, as DFV has tripled in size since 2010. It is supporting DFV across three continents, and with joint ventures in both Australia and Brazil. Despite global supply chain issues, a pandemic, travel restrictions, changing consumer trends and thousands of businesses affected by recent geopolitical conflicts, DFV continues to grow, thanks to constant innovation, proven sustainability, and global partnership.

Another big challenge is the rising cost of energy, mapped with a desire to further reduce carbon emissions. Both DFV and AkzoNobel are intent on reducing emissions and embracing sustainability in every part of the business. Indeed, over the next three years DFV has committed to reduce its carbon footprint by more than 50%; renewable sources enable it to generate 30% of its own electricity. AkzoNobel has committed to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% until 2030 and is intent to have 100% circular waste in their own operations.

The powder coatings themselves are also supporting DFV’s sustainability drive. They are free from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and less harmful to the environment compared to other coating solutions. No waste is generated during the application process so almost 100% of the product can be used.

Martina Montinaro, Innovation and Sustainability Manager says perhaps the most crucial element in supporting sustainability is Interpon’s outstanding durability: “The durability of Interpon Architectural coatings is proven by the Qualicoat Class 2 certifications for durability. When our customers see we have the backing of an independent body that vouches for our durability credentials, they know they’re buying a product that will last for generations. And when products last, they are by definition more sustainable.”

With its wood-effect finish, the Ezy range mitigates the use of precious raw materials, that often have to be replaced or repaired. It provides a 21st century solution that has the environments needs at its core.

Martina has her own phrase for this kind of thinking: “We call it ‘innovability’. The merging of innovation and sustainability. One cannot exist without the other. To create new sustainable solutions, one must innovate. And to innovate products and concepts in a world seeing the damaging effects of climate change, sustainability must be at its core. To work with AkzoNobel, a business that echoes our ethos, is a joy, and it shows in the astonishing products we can offer to our customers across the globe.”

The partnership between DFV and AkzoNobel is today stronger than ever, and both organizations are on a trajectory to an even brighter future.

Luciano concludes: “Through the common goals of strengthening innovative technologies, a commitment to sustainable practices and the power of global partnership, I’m confident that with the AkzoNobel team by our side we will continue to have a future protected by the coatings of tomorrow, today.”

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