Working as a consultant, I have the opportunity to travel a great deal and see many different types of manufacturers, coaters and products. If you are going to stay in this industry for nearly 30 years, you either get interested, get bored or get into something else to make your living. I hadn't planned to stay in the coating industry for this long, but I have found so much that is interesting, I am here to stay.

This issue brings to you a story about a coating removal technology that helps to resolve an ongoing challenge for our industry - removing the coating from galvanized steel, red metals and other sensitive substrates. During a recent visit to Detroit I was able to watch this chemistry operate, and it was very impressive to see the layers of coating precisely removed without degradation of the plated layer under the organic film. Turn to page 23 to check out this feature.

Electrocoating continues to be an important part of the coatings industry, and this month we take a look at the news from this industry segment to see what is happening and how it can be applied to different market segments. Any coating that can provide enhanced corrosion resistance in a thin film and at a reasonable cost per square foot deserves attention. Reading about the industry, you will find that nothing stands still and the manufacturers continue to work on materials with low environmental impact that can deliver high quality.

This month, we also take a look at a fundamental coating issue: racking. Many stories have been written and published on this topic, yet many companies still struggle with how to manage their parts through the coating booth for good productivity, low rejects and reasonable costs. Beginning on page 27, read up on some tips for choosing the right rack for your application.

It seems that the themes for these stories are very similar and have been repeated in one form or another for a long time now: better, faster and cheaper. The ongoing challenge of worldwide competition will not let us sit still. We need to work on a daily basis to come up with new ways to exploit our resources for more output of high quality at a lower cost.

You also do not want to miss the feature I wrote about mechanical cleaning, which begins on page 33. When pretreating with chemicals alone is not practical, blasting with a suitable media may be the answer. And check out how one small job shop uses masking to create its designs with powder coating, beginning on page 29.

In our effort to provide you with information and helpful suggestions, we continue to bring to you our questions and answers column on powder coating, with answers from a broad group of industry experts. We recently have begun to include some Q&A columns about liquid coating and safety issues as well. We encourage you to send us questions on coating-related problems for consideration. E-mail your questions to, or call or write to us anytime, and we will get you the answers to your most troubling problems. It is just one element in our effort to serve the industry and find ways to help you stay more focused and competitive. Thank you for reading.