CoatingsTech 2013 Focuses on Innovation

By Bridget Klebaur, Associate Editor | April 1, 2013

The theme of the conference was “Leaps and Bounds: Reenergizing the Coatings Industry."

The CoatingsTech conference was held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL on March 11-13, 2013. The theme of the conference was “Leaps and Bounds: Reenergizing the Coatings Industry,” and was put together by the American Coatings Association. The ACA CoatingsTech task force put together the conference with the goal of focusing on innovative trends in the coatings industry, research and development, and practical applications in the world of coatings.  The conference was sponsored by Air Products, BYK USA Inc., American Elements, Emerald Performance Materials and Specialty Polymers Inc., and featured 14 exhibitors.

 The conference featured talks on many topics, including Corrosion & Protective Coatings, Bio-based Coatings, Additives and Pigments, Regulations & Analytical Methods, Functional Coatings, Mattiello Symposium, Weathering/Durability, and Waterborne.

There were also three short courses held on Monday, March 11 on Science and Technology of Coatings Formulation, Pigment and Dispersion Technology, and Natural and Accelerated Weathering of Coatings, which was hosted by SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings.

 The welcome address was given by Ramesh Subramarian, CoatingsTech conference task force chair, Nuplex Resins LLC, and was followed by the keynote address by Cynthia Arnold, senior VP and chief technology officer, The Valspar Corporation. Arnold’s address, “Profitability and Growth: Differentiated Business Practices of the Strongest Companies,” focused mostly on the North American industry and financial perspectives as well as the role of innovation and the future of the entire industry.

 “I’ll highlight the four largest companies in North America, and discuss how they’ve led the way; PPG, Sherwin-Williams, Valspar and RPM. In 2002, these four companies had combined revenue of $14 billion. That went up to almost $29 billion last year in 2012. Tremendous growth. Now at the same time these companies were growing revenue, they were also growing in profitability.  All of them have shown healthy margins as measured by their earnings before interest and taxes, moving from 11% to close to 13% over that time period. Now if we look back to what has happened in the last decade, especially since 2008, I think that’s a pretty exceptional performance.” Arnold explained.

 Arnold assessed shareholder return as another measure of success, and explained how these companies performed relative to the SMP 500.

 “Over that time period, if you had invested $100 in these four companies, your return would have increased 315%. The ten-year return during that time for the SMP 500 was only double,” Arnold added. “So we’re in a really good industry. You can see the type of profitability, the type of growth we’ve experienced over an incredibly long period of time. And we might be mired in some of the transformation that we’ve needed to make in the last few years, but as Ramesh pointed out in the opening, we’re really moving forward.”

 First place for The Roon Award went to Kamakshi Christopher, Asian Paints, with second place going to Erik D. Sapper, The Boeing Company. The Mattiello Award was given to Dr. Dean Webster, North Dakota State University, who also gave the Mattiello Lecture.

 Dr. Webster gave the Mattiello Lecture, titled “Coatings Based on Renewables: The Promise, Potential, and Pitfalls,” on March 13.

 “It’s definitely an honor to be giving the Mattiello Lecture this year,” Dr. Webster said.

 Dr. Webster began the lecture by introducing the man whose name the lecture honors. Joseph Mattiello was a WWI veteran who was also active in New York society, president of the FSCT in 1943, as well as a promoter in the area of science and paints and coatings.

 “He was instrumental in FSCT meetings by introducing the concept of keynote speaking at those meetings, so after he passed away, the society dedicated the Mattiello Lecture and the first was given in October 1949,” Dr. Webster said.

 Dr. Webster said that issue of sustainability is at the forefront of global discussions, and that the coatings industry greatly relies on petrochemicals. However, these are finite, and alternate resources are being explored to replace petrochemicals. Dr. Webster’s lecture explored the prospect of alternates as well as the myths surrounding bio-based polymers and pitfalls that may occur along the way.

 Bret Chisholm, director of high-throughput laboratory, North Dakota State University, gave his speech on “Novel Multifunctional Bio-Based Polymers for Coatings Applications.” Chisholm discussed the work that he did along with several recent graduates and undergraduates.

 “Prior to the early 1900s, pretty much all of the chemicals were derived from renewable resources but once petroleum-based materials became readily available, almost all the attention has been focused on those starting materials for the chemical industry. Of course, now we realize that fossil resources are limited and at some point they’ll be depleted,” Chisholm explained.

 In addition, Cliff Schoff, Schoff Associates, gave his speech on “ASTM Coatings Standards for the 21st Century.” Schoff explained that ASTM standards in the coating industry are often taken for granted, and many people do not realize that they are relevant and that both new and old test methods are constantly being produced and revised. Schoff spoke about what is currently going on in ASTM, the ASTM Committee D01, which is the committee for coatings, and the future of the ASTM.

 “ASTM Committee D01 is an old organization. We’re not all gray beards like me, but we’ve been around for a long time. We have a lot of standards, and there are probably more test methods than anything else because they’re practices that tell you about testing but don’t go all the way like test methods do. They are guides that usually list the number of ASTM methods in a certain area. There are about 640 members, and when we have meetings twice a year, there are about 110 to 120 members that come, and the people that attend also attend subcommittees. One of the things that’s changed is that it used to be that business that happened at these meetings. Now there’s a lot of interaction by email and telephone, as well as virtual meetings,” Schoff explained.

 Schoff elaborated that these alternate forms of communication have been helpful for the committee in speeding up the time it takes to get things done. Schoff also spoke about new projects and standards set by the committee, such as adhesion of coatings on curved surfaces, measurement of dependence of paint viscosity on temperature, measurement of yield stress in liquid paints and related materials. He also explained that the hope of the committee is to work with others to develop standards in new areas.

 The CoatingsTech Conference came to an end Wednesday March 13, and featured the student poster award  ceremony as well as several talks on functional coatings, Mattiolo Symposium, weathering/durability and waterborne. The student presenter award and first place student poster award went to Niteen Jadhav, North Dakota State University. Second place went to Alice Ching-Hsuan Chang, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan/NIST, and third place went to Mahshid Miknahad, Eastern Michigan University. Ali Kiamanesh, Eastern Michigan University, received an honorable mention.

 In addition to this, the American Coatings Association announced that Brian Hinderliter, associate professor in the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), was the recipient of its 2013 CoatingsTech Conference John A. Gordon Best Paper Award. Hinderliter received this award for his paper presented at the Coatings Tech Conference. Hinderliter presented his paper titled “Water Concentration Distribution in Coatings During Accelerated Weathering” at the conference.

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