Roberlo, founded in 1968, is a family-run business specialized in the development, manufacture and sale of coatings and repair solutions for the refinish after market and industrials sectors. It has commercial presence in more than 120 countries with more than 500 employees, 15 commercial subsidiaries and 2 production centres.

Roberlo is part of Briolf Group, an industrial group focused on the specialty chemicals sector, included on the list of the 25 most important manufacturing companies in Europe’s industrial paints and coatings sector. Briolf Group is made up of six companies (Roberlo, Montana Colors, Chemfix, Cromaresme, Dexia System and Impacar) with a team of 800 members.

Interview with Joan Puigdevall, Industrial Coatings Director at Roberlo.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Joan Puigdevall: Roberlo’s activity is focused on two main sectors: car refinish sector, offering all the solutions to complete the car refinishing cycle, and on industrial coatings.

In terms of our Industrial Coatings offering under the DISOLAC brand we are targeting the Light Industrial Coatings providing different specific solutions (mainly for metal coatings) in sectors such as: Commercial Vehicles, Agricultural and Construction equipment (ACE), structures, signs and advertisement or maintenance (Industrial and householding).

In addition to this, through our company CROMARESME we are also offering to the industry plastic coatings solutions (PLASSCROM system) for Automotive OEMs and appliance sectors and glass coatings (GLASSCROM system) mainly for the packaging industry.  

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

Joan Puigdevall: Efficiency and quality are the main features that demand the market. So, our latest novelties are focused to reduce the application, drying times, and consumption of product. 

Because it means saving energy, product, and personal costs. It is a way to improve production process and saving money. 

Another demand is products more environmentally friendly as water-based products or Low Voc (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are adapted to the regulations and the growing demand in the market.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

J.P: In the car refinish sector Roberlo provides a wide range of high quality and innovative products such as putties, paints, primers, clear coats, hardeners, thinners, polishes, and sealants. We also offer other non-paint solutions such as abrasives, masking products and other accessories to complete the car refinish cycle. 

In the industrial coatings sector, we offer a tintometric system compound with color bases and binders which combined with other complementary products such as primers, solvents, additives, etc. provides the best solutions, whatever the dimensions, technical or customer requirements.

Joan Puigdevall, Industrial Coatings Director at Roberlo

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? 

J.P: In terms of the coatings industry in general we are seeing in the last years a big consolidation in terms of numbers of players which we foresee will continue during the following years. 

This at the same time also creates an opportunity for companies like Roberlo for being a relevant alternative to established corporations in the industry. 

On the other hand, if we analyze the Industrial Coatings market there’s a growth in demand thanks to the industrial activities post COVID pick up. 

There is at the same time a clear market change needs lead by two main factors: drive of cost savings and sustainability in processes and solutions.  

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? 

J.P: At the moment, there are several factors impacting the coatings industry. If we have to highlight two I would say that the first one is the cost inflation (raw materials, energy cost, etc.) and the second one is the growing demand increase of sustainable products. For the first one, we are seeing trends on companies searching for improving their production process in terms of efficiencies, either by reducing their production cost (labour times, material consumption) or energy savings in order to balance the inflation impact which is heavily impacting the industry. 

For the second one, we are continue seeing an increasing demand in sustainable products which can contribute to reduce drastically the coatings VOC, here we are confident that our new technology of LOW VOC products and the new DISOLAC WB system will contribute to provide solutions into this increasing demanding market. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? 

J.P: One of the recent products which we launched at the end of 2021 is our new DTM-844 SMARTECH. This product is helping already several companies to improve their production activities by increasing workforce productivity, reducing paint consumption materials while we are able to provide in only one product a very high anticorrosion protection (ISO 12944 C5-M) and at the same time is a more sustainable product being able to reduce VOC levels in the industry. In addition to this, we have dedicated many efforts in introducing to the market a new water-based Industrial coatings system which we truly believe will create an impact into the market and contribute to the transition of solvent base processes to water-based production processes.

In terms of car refinish sector this year we launched Velox Primer, the primer of Tempus Process, high-efficiency process designed to increased productivity and save energy costs.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? 

J.P: In the last years is hard to make predictions… but what we see for the second half of 2022 is probably that the inflation period will continue impacting the industry, with a clear uncertainty on regards the energy cost situation specially in Europe. 

Having said this, we believe that in a fast changing environment as the one we are experiencing in the last months can help companies like Roberlo because of our proactivity and flexibility which helps to adapt easily to this environment and bring faster solutions into the industry. 

If we talk about our Industrial Coatings business, we do foresee a substantial doble digit growth across the globe which will contribute to solidify our Industrial coatings position into the market and help us to continue advancing in our future plans of diversification in Roberlo. We will be looking for new partnerships with companies who look for high added value coatings solutions in order to continue improving their production processes.