LAS VEGAS – In 1919, a small wood varnish company opened its doors in the riverfront city of Louisville, Kentucky. Today, the Reliance business lives on as part of AkzoNobel’s North America wood coatings division, which has a portfolio of brands that helps the world’s leading manufacturers of cabinetry, furniture, flooring and building products protect and bring color to their products.

History merged with the future when AkzoNobel officially kicked off its 100th year in the wood coatings industry in North America at the 2019 AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, which took place July 17-20, 2019. The global leader of wood coatings showcased its industry-favorite products alongside the latest innovations, including MaestroHue, the complete wood coatings color system developed by Chemcraft – AkzoNobel’s specialist wood coatings brand – that gives distributors and OEM manufacturers the power to match virtually any color with pinpoint accuracy and minimal waste.

 “The industry and products have changed a great deal since 1919, but our company’s passion for innovation has not. We are experts in the industry and understand wood finishing from design to industrialization,” said Anthony Woods, AkzoNobel’s Segment Marketing Director for Wood Coatings. “We’re excited to mark the century milestone with our customers, partners and friends – and look forward to the next 100 years of delivering peace of mind with our best-in-class technical service.”

AkzoNobel’s North American wood coatings history began with the incorporation of Reliance Universal as Reliance Varnish Co. on June 28, 1919, in Louisville, Kentucky, followed less than 10 years later by the incorporation of Southern Varnish Corp. in Roanoke, Virginia, on Sept. 1, 1928.

These companies mark the start of AkzoNobel’s wood coating history in North America, which continues to employ wood coating professionals throughout the United States and Canada today, including facilities in High Point, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; Salem, Oregon; Warwick, Quebec; and Port Hope, Ontario.

A milestone multi-million-dollar investment by AkzoNobel is set to transform its wood coatings facility in High Point, North Carolina, into a best-in-class manufacturing site and further strengthen the company’s market position in North America. The transformation involves reorganizing manufacturing operations at the site and the addition of automatic dosing unit technology to produce paint more efficiently. A new raw materials warehouse, research lab and technical application center are also being built. Construction is now underway, with rolling projects expected for completion by 2020.

Woods added, “Having been the reference in wood coatings for a century enables us to identify and anticipate the needs of the industry. As we celebrate this anniversary and our innovation to date, we are already looking forward. Our investment in High Point will enable us to provide our customers with even more flexibility through the delivery of small batch sizes, higher accuracy in stains and solid colors, more water-based products, and a rapid response to requests.”