Posted in: Industry News

Director's Message: The Future of Powder Coating

Posted on Monday, July 1, 2013

Yes, I know. After reading this headline you are likely expecting a profound and illuminating column about where our industry is going and how it is going to get there. I am writing this, however, after a mere 8 months in the industry, but with 35 years covering related industries.

The Powder Coating Institute (PCI®) was started by men who had a passion for technology— men like Gordon Cole, who is still active in the American Chemical Society. Gordon and his colleagues worked together— arm-in-arm—to invent the industry that we see today. The Mission Statement for PCI® is “The Powder Coating Institute is committed to serving its members by promoting the benefits of powder coating technology.” I emphasize the word “technology” here.

But, like all things, the spirit of those who founded the industry and PCI® has changed. For example, much of the technology developments today are hidden behind the cloak of words like “proprietary” and “confidentiality” or “NDA.”

That is what makes the Powder Coating Summit a special event. Started by Kevin Biller of the Powder Coating Research Group—who also happens to be a member of PCI® and our technical editor, the PC Summit brings top technical experts in the industry together to listen to papers on the technology of powder coating, always with an eye toward new and exciting applications.

Though not as extensive as the WaterBorne Symposium presented annually by the University of Southern Mississippi, the PC Summit is the only venue in North America devoted to the science of powder coating. The PC Summit continues to grow precisely because people in the industry are hungry for the latest innovations in science and technology. (See page 29 for Kevin’s wrap-up of 2013’s PC Summit, which was held June 18-19).

Similarly, this year The Powder Coating Show and Conference in St. Louis, slated for October 8-10, has 48 hours of programming. This year, one entire 12-hour track is devoted exclusively to innovations in powder coating. While there are unique applications presented in the rest of the program, we realize that innovation is the lifeblood of our industry. Continuing to find new ways to powder coat products will drive the entire industry to grow. We believe that professionals who currently use powder to paint as well as people who could use powder to finish their products will directly benefit from attending the Show and Conference this fall. It is, in fact, the only trade show devoted to powder coating in North America.

It has been my experience in other industries that change can be slow and difficult. The commonality, though, is this: new technology drives an industry to succeed. Sometimes, it is the unique application of technology from another industry that may drive innovation in our industry. The people who founded The Powder Coating Institute knew this roughly 40 years ago. We are trying to carry on that legacy and adapt it to a more mature market, but one that still has immense room for growth.

Dave Lurie Executive Director, PCI®