Editor's View

Industrial Paint & Powdermagazine has always lead the way in providing useful and current information on technology and coating techniques. With quality research efforts and a dedicated staff they have consistently written and published the most informative and helpful stories and columns in the industry. Now I have been asked to be a member of the magazine staff and provide direction on coatings and application technology. It is an honor to join the professional staff at IPPand contribute to this effort. I have always enjoyed new challenges in my professional life and I believe that working withIPPwill be a perfect fit with my consulting business, teaching and writing.

This column is the start of a new challenge in my own career. As I thought about where to begin I considered the challenges that a coater is faced with every day.

Application of coatings has always been a challenging task. The coating line often exists as an afterthought to the rest of the manufacturing process: "Oh, by the way, we need to put a coating on this." Manufacturers often seem to think that applying coatings is no different from stamping or drilling. You just put this precision piece of equipment in motion and the parts keep popping out in identical form.

Actually, application of a coating involves more chemistry than mechanics and it is much harder to control than stamping or drilling. And let us not forget that quality standards for almost every product category have increased in the past few years. So we have a challenging chemical process and demanding industrial standards. And by the way, concern for the environment is exerting pressure on the kinds of coatings we can use and how we use them. And everyone wants cost control or even cost reduction. This combination of issues can make life interesting.

Experienced coaters know that the science of coatings is not simple. Technology changes and evolves fairly quickly so that we need to constantly work on methods that will keep us on the top of our game. And if we get complacent, we can recall the "Bear" of a year that just ended and that should keep us on our toes (see the 2003 Finishing Market Survey report, "Taming the Bear,").

So what can we do for you? The new 2003 Finishing Market Survey shares information from hundreds of respondents and highlights industry trends. We also explore a very challenging coating project to see how another company is coping with its coating needs. And we have an update from EPA on its photochemical reactivity policy so that we can stay informed of regulatory policy. Speaking as an experienced coater, I can tell you that there is some excellent information there.

This is a great issue to kick off the year and begin my association with IPP. I am proud to be a part of this team and I look forward to contributing. I welcome your comments and questions at any time. Happy New Year!