Gareth H. McKinley, M.I.T. School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation and Associate Head for Research, offered the keynote address at the first annual global Axalta Coating Systems Innovation Symposium. Over 100 Axalta researchers from more than ten countries participated in the symposium to showcase their discoveries, new technologies and new products. Axalta is a leading global manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings sold in 130 countries. This is the first global R&D meeting for Axalta since the company became independent. The three-day symposium was held in Philadelphia where Axalta opened its new corporate headquarters on September 30.
“We focus on providing our customers with the best coating products for our global market segments and our ability to innovate is key to our success,” said Charlie Shaver, Chairman and CEO of Axalta Coating Systems. “Our talented R&D team is the backbone of our business. Looking ahead we will continue to strengthen the talent pool in all seven of our R&D centers to increase our research and development capability.”
An authority on rheology, Prof. McKinley discussed the physics behind the atomization of viscoelastic fluids using a series of model polymer solutions dissolved in water/glycerol, two different industrial paint formulations as well as human mucin. Among many achievements, Prof. McKinley has received the Annual Award of the British Society of Rheology in 1995 and the Frenkiel Award (with J. P. Rothstein) from the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in 2001. He served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics from 1999-2009 and as Associate Editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics from 2007-2009. Prof. McKinley is presently a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Rheology, Rheologica Acta and Applied Rheology.
“With a global R&D network, it’s critical to bring everyone together to exchange ideas and foster a collaborative process throughout the organization,” said Panos Kordomenos, Axalta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Our first innovation symposium offered all of us the opportunity to learn from each other and to keep pace with the latest developments in the science of coatings with this year’s special guest Prof. Gareth McKinley.”