4 Reasons to Convert to Water Based Industrial Paint

water based wood paint vs solvents

4 Reasons to Convert to Water Based Industrial Paint

Once the poor relation to solvent-based paint, water based industrial paint is becoming the coating of choice for paint shops. Here we explore the reasons why.

A shifting landscape

The manufacture and use of solvent-based products are subject to tightening laws and regulations due to their high VOC [insert link to VOC post] content. There is growing pressure for companies to use 'compliant' paints that have less impact on the environment and on worker health and safety. Paint manufacturers are responding to this by improving water-based paint technology. Most coating manufacturers now offer high-performance alternatives to solvent-based products. In industries such as metal and paint coatings where VOC emissions are high, smart companies are making the switch now. Here are 4 key benefits of early adoption:

  1. It helps you to comply with health and safety legislation

In the UK, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (CoSHH) Regulations says you must protect your workforce against the risks from VOCs. With a low VOC content of 8-15% compared to 40-60% in solvents, water-based paints reduce exposure risks and help you to be compliant.

  1. It helps you to comply with environmental legislation

Under Part I of the EPA 1990, companies that use more than five tonnes of solvent per year must register with their local authority for an authorisation to operate. Registration costs almost £2K. Switching to water-based paints makes it considerably easier to stay below the annual VOC limit and avoid registration.

  1. It brings cost reductions

The non-hazardous nature of water-based paint brings several cost efficiency benefits:

Plant set-up and maintenance

Water-based coating processes require fewer health and safety measures. You don't need to store compliant paint in explosion resistant rooms and standard fans, or extraction fans are adequate. A drying room can be as simple as an insulated room built from Kingspan with a 2kW heater. Workpieces will cure overnight, even in -5 conditions. In most cases, it is also possible to convert your existing facilities. This cost can be absorbed easily with the reduced running costs and maintenance costs of the replacement plant.

Production process

  • Improved production capacity or efficiency - infrared can dry waterborne in as little as 6 seconds.
  • Material consumption is lower:
    • Equipment can be cleaned with water instead of solvent-based paint thinner, acetone, or methyl acetate.
    • Compared to solvent-based products, less product may be needed to cover the same surface area.
    • Thinners, additives and hardeners aren't necessary.
    • Shelf-life is much longer, and an unused product can be stored in a sealed container for later use.


Products often cost less than their solvent-based equivalents.

4. Water based industrial paint is the paint of the future

VOC laws and regulations are set to tighten further in the coming years. Paint shops will be required to work with compliant coatings wherever possible. Transitioning to water based industrial paint NOW will:

  • Simplify your environmental, health and safety compliance obligations.
  • Demonstrate to stakeholders that you are:
    • A forward-thinking company
    • Committed to protecting the environment
    • Committed to improving workforce health and safety
  • Achieve cost efficiencies sooner.
  • Potentially reduce your insurance premiums.
  • Put you ahead of your competition.

At Ultrimax, we're committed to supplying our customers with high-performance compliant coatings. Please contact our sales team or use the contact form above if you would like to trial our water-based products or discuss your options in more detail.

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