How rapidly is the industry moving away from solvent based mold release agents and towards water based mold release agents?
The shift greatly depends on the industry and process requirements. Several industries no longer tolerate solvent-based products due to health, safety and environment concerns or other regulatory issues. Industries such as die casting, tire manufacturing, and general rubber molding use predominantly water based release agents. The polyurethane industry uses both water based and solvent based mold release agents, the composites and thermoplastics industries use mostly solvent based release agents at this time.
Water-based products are more sensitive to application (offering more challenges to film formation) and have slower evaporation rates (which can be influenced by the application method, process conditions and environment humidity levels) than solvent based products. Water-based products are more prone to cause chemical interaction of residual water remaining on the mold surface with the material being molded during the molding process (e.g. generation of urea byproducts in polyurethane molding). This category of release agents also requires more technology to ensure emulsion stability and bio-activity resistance. These challenges have to be addresses to expand the use of water based release agents across a wider range of industries.