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Applied Graphene Materials PLC

Q&A with Applied Graphene Materials PLC: New market opportunities (LON:AGM)

Applied Graphene Materials plc (LON:AGM) Chief Executive Officer Adrian Potts caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their two recent announcements, water-based coatings and what’s next for the company.

Q1: We’re speaking to you after 2 great announcements from the business earlier this week, you must be very pleased, could you tell us some more about them?

A1: I’m really pleased with both the milestones that we’ve achieved and also very proud of our team and what they’ve achieved in conjunction with both product development and with a specific customer.

So, first of all, we were really pleased to be able to announce this week that one of our customers called Alltimes Coatings, they’re a market leader in the supply of protective coatings specific for building applications so things like roofs and cladding on buildings, they’ve come to market with a new ground-breaking roof coating product that utilises our graphene material.

As you’ll be aware, we manufacturer graphene and we put that into dispersion but then we’re much more than that. We’re able to take that right the way through to the application technology and work closely with customers to really enable our product to be put together that really works for their application.

So, in this case with Alltimes’ superior barrier performance, specifically, so what does that mean in reality? It pushes back the onset of rust formation specific to a roof application and that’s allowed Alltimes to be able to offer an extended guarantee to their customers so from 20 years current to 30 years. By doing that, by significantly increasing that life span of a roofing coating it’s given the end user the ability to reduce their maintenance costs for both building contractors and owners.

This product launch is a result of a very close collaboration between ourselves and the engineers at Alltimes and suffice to say, it’s pretty typical of the type of work that we do in the paint and coatings industry. It takes along time to bring a product to market but the performance that we’re able to achieve far outstrips what the current benchmark would be so typically maybe a 3 or 5 times enhancement to a standard corrosion performance primer.

So, we see significant scope and potential for Applied Graphene Materials in this market as our products come to market with our customers.

Q2: Now, you also announced a new environmentally-driven technology development, what can you tell us about that?

A2: So, number two announcement this week, we’ve brought a lot to completion. So, water-based coatings is an important area for the paint and coatings market and as you’ll be aware, we are front and centre in that sector, we see that as key strategic importance for us in terms of commercial delivery for this business.

Water-based coatings is really driven by a number of things, principally regulatory requirements so reducing the environmental impact of current technology solvent-based coatings. There are health risks associated with that and environmental issue with solvent-based paints, the industry, just generally, has a push to water-based coatings.

The flip side of that is that the performance of those coatings needs a step change to have greater industry relevance so what does that mean? Extending product life, pretty much in the same way that we’ve seen with the Alltimes coating product, so to be able to extend product life and what does that mean? Utilising our graphene products to enable anti-corrosion performance to be improved and one of their key challenges for use of graphene in the paint and coatings sector generally is the ability to incorporate that material in a meaningful way into water-based dispersions and that’s what we’ve cracked.

So, as part of our overarching technology platform development work that we’re doing with our Genable® dispersion technology, we’ve finally got there with water-based dispersions, we’ve filed a patent for our water-based applications.

We’re really excited about what that opens up, there are a number of different areas for both acrylic and epoxy water-based coatings and one of those areas is in the whole work of direct to metal technology. So, as well as primer technology, the ability now to use graphene in one shot coatings that are direct to metal.

Q3: I think you’ve just hinted at it but what’s next for Applied Graphene Materials?

A3: So, it’s all about, for us, continuing customer engagement and really what that is all about. It’s about bringing those customers and the technical engagement that we have with them to a successful conclusion.

These two announcements are just, for us, a really great example of the extensive ongoing work that we’re doing to introduce graphene, to incorporate graphene in a realistic way in customers’ coatings and to bring those through to successful commercial products in the paint and coatings sector.

So, we feel we’re making real progress, particular in this sector, as I said before it’s core to our commercial delivery and I think we’re doing really well. With support from our technical team, the excellence we’re able to bring to customer engagement and the increasing IP that we’re able to generate, I feel that we’re really on the cusp right now, I’m really excited about this to be honest and really look forward to continued success in the coatings sector.

Alltimes, as I mentioned before is just a great milestone for us and looking forward to that being one of many, and the  water-based technology, as we’ve just talked about, opens up new market opportunities for us that we didn’t have previously.