Tough Talk: Let's Talk About Innovation

Posted on Friday, July 8, 2016

By: Kevin Biller

Every now and then I go on a rant about how innovation in the powder world has been stymied or off-shored to some faraway place. As an advocate in the industry, I always worry about the future needs in industrial finishing and if we, as powder technologists, are up to the task. Today I am here to report that there is considerably less doom and gloom hovering over the future of powder coatings.

Once a year, The Powder Coating Institute (PCI) and Powder Coating Research Group collaborate to bring you the Powder Coating Summit (PC Summit). This event brings together the best and the brightest minds in the industry to dialogue on the latest trends in technology. The 2016 PC Summit features presentations covering such diverse topics as:

  • Pretreatment processes for plastic substrates.
  • Novel resin blends for ultra-performance in architectural applications.
  • Improving corrosion resistance with novel resins.
  • Cutting-edge “smart” application technology.
  • Latest polychromatic effect technology.
  • Surface characterization methods.
  • Conductivity schemes for nontraditional substrates.
  • LED UV cure advancements.
  • Novel infrared curing processes.
  • Particle size effects on application performance.
  • Natural Polyamide 11 powder coatings.

All of these are brought to you by the foremost leaders in powder technology. Speakers are obliged to bring something new to the party. We do not accept old, recirculated presentations that you have heard a dozen times. Another goal for the program is to capture technology from a broad spectrum of interrelated components of the powder finishing process. We strive to “connect the dots” from the powder coating formula through to pretreatment and application science and curing technology. The emphasis is always on groundbreaking technology, but the true objective is to contemplate how the industry will take these innovations to market. These aren’t just science projects conducted for the sake of science.

Another aspect of the PC Summit is providing abundant opportunity for networking. We really want the resin chemist to talk to the coating engineer. And we want to connect the pretreatment expert with the curing equipment technologist. It’s this type of technical intercourse that brings reality and opportunity to the conversation.

The PC Summit spans two full days of swapping knowledge among all viewpoints of emerging powder coating technology. Powder chemistry, application and curing fundamentals fill the first morning at the historic French Renaissance style Westin Columbus. The afternoon delivers live demonstrations of powder processing, application and coating evaluation at the Powder Coating Research laboratory. This gives you a hands-on experience of powder coating technology from the fundamental formulation and raw material selection through extrusion, milling and application. Experts will be on hand to explain the intricacies of compounding, electrostatic deposition and testing instrumentation.

Following the lab demos, attendees are invited to peruse an eclectic array of tabletop exhibits while munching on delicacies and sipping on cool refreshments. This is a rather intimate affair allowing you to spend quality time with industry experts outside the clamor of a big coating exhibition. A newly revitalized downtown Columbus offers myriad dining choices afterward. If you still want to hang with powder coating geeks, Joe Powder will be providing a casual buffet with refreshments and music in the PCR Group lab/discotheque.

The second day is all about new technology. Speakers from around the world will be elucidating on how they are pushing the technology envelope in their respective fields. Ample time is available for questions and answers and networking. Included in this symposium will be a panel discussion examining the barriers to introducing new technology. The panel is composed of industry experts from a variety of technical vantages that will be sure to provide insight into navigating the path to the commercialization of innovative approaches in powder coating.

This year’s Summit is being held on October 4-5 in Columbus, Ohio. Details can be found under the events tab on the www.powdercoating.org website. This is a one-of-a-kind technology event and its strength is defined by the high quality of attendees and the interchange they initiate with the Summit’s technology experts. If you want to be part of the evolution of new powder technology, then you have to be in Columbus in October. Hope to see you there.

Kevin Biller is technical editor of Powder Coated Tough and the president of The Powder Coating Research Group. He can be reached at kevinbiller@yahoo.com.