Pretty and tough coatings technology

August 16, 2005

We've all shopped for cars. You know the drill: roaming through a showroom or dealership lot, conducting research on the Internet, and, of course, haggling with the salesperson to get the best price and throw in the floor mats for free.

As we were closing this issue, my husband and I were shopping for a certified pre-owned vehicle, formerly known as a used car.� When buying a second-hand car, color is usually one of the last things you consider.� After all, price, safety and reliability are much higher on the list-and you are at the mercy of what's available on the lot.

But paint does play a role in the process. First, when it came to choice, there were many silver cars on the lot, reflecting the popularity this shade has enjoyed for a number of years. And since we were shopping for a used car, body wear and tear was also an issue. In an effort to seem more knowledgeable, much to my husband's dismay, I discussed stone chip resistance and the advances made in coatings for plastic parts with the salesman.

Our "new-to-us" car really does look new and I am confident its finish will last as long as (or longer than) its engine.� Why? Pigment suppliers continue to push their R&D teams to deliver enhanced technologies and special effects, and by working closely with resin suppliers and paint formulators, they are creating automotive finishes that are truly high-performance products. You can read about these advances in "Pretty Tough,"� our annual look at the high-performance and special-effect pigment market (page 33).

While our pigment article covers the marriage of beauty and brawn in coatings, another article covers inner strength.� In our feature on intumescent coatings (page 24), authors from Nullifire and Tremco Europe discuss the importance of volume solids in these life-saving finishes.

Another article that may catch your attention begins on page 40. In "Generating Breakthrough Growth in Mature Markets," Michael J. Lanning contends many mature markets are actually underdeveloped because non- or light-users face obstacles to usage. He explores examples from other industries and how the strategies used by Starbucks and Southwest Airlines could help companies operating in today's decorative paint market.

As always, we love feedback on our editorial content.

E-mail me at christine@rodpub.com with comments or suggestions on subjects you would like to see us cover in future issues.