PC Summit Brought Together Innovators, Focused on Bringing New Technology to Market

Posted on Monday, July 1, 2013

By Kevin Biller

Well, the 2013 Powder Coating Summit is history now. Our goal was to assemble the greatest minds of the powder coating industry for a forum focused on innovation. Once again, the gang did not disappoint. More than 100 innovators descended upon Columbus, Ohio, June 18-19, to exchange ideas on what’s next in powder coating technology and market trends.

This assembly included all aspects of our technology, including novel pretreatment schemes, advanced raw materials, new application techniques and emerging market needs. Attendees journeyed from places near and far—Europe, South America, Canada and throughout the United States. Not only did technology aficionados regale the group with new ideas, but representatives from key OEMs engaged the discussions with assessments of where new technology is needed.

The first day was all about introducing the fundamentals of powder coating technology, spearheaded by a crisp treatise on powder coating chemistry and application basics. A live demonstration of powder coating manufacturing, application and evaluation, followed in The PCR Group laboratory. The most memorable nugget gleaned was Ken Kreeger’s admission that the original concept of the powder coating cartridge booth was devised on a bar napkin after a long day of installing a basic application system for a new powder user in the 1970s.

The most productive discourse was no doubt conducted during the multiple opportunities that were available for networking. It was truly rewarding to observe innovators from all aspects of the coating process seated at the same table, enjoying a cocktail, and engrossed in discussions about emerging technology.

The symposium provided an array of august speakers who covered topics that inspired attendees to envision what’s next in our vaunted technology. Fascinating approaches to substrate pretreatment were offered, ranging from novel environmentally safe chemistries (see page 23 for more on this technology) to the use of atmospheric plasma to prep plastics. The dye sublimation process of imprinting striking patterns in powder coating finishes was detailed, including new processes to decorate three-dimensional parts.

Powder formulators were treated to new techniques to improve pigment dispersion, catalysis, corrosion resistance and the extension of TiO2. The use of UV-curable powder coatings for non-traditional end-uses was described from military and economic perspectives. Game-changing thermal spray application processes were detailed, includ- ing an excellent video depiction of field application. And a committee member of the ASTM task group for powder coating test methodology provided an update of initiatives directed at the development of techniques to measure powder transfer efficiency and economics.

In all, 15 presentations were made with the prime goal of inspiring innovators to look beyond the obvious to meet the needs of emerging manufacturing processes and product requirements. Once again we can rest assured that the movers and shakers in the powder coating industry will succeed in bringing new technology to market. I thank the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and most of all the visionaries who made this forum a triumph of innovation. We look forward to reconvening next year.

Kevin Biller is technical editor of Powder Coated Tough magazine. He can be reached at 614-354-1198 or via email at kevinbiller@yahoo.com.