Speakers presented the most recent trends and innovations in the electrocoat industry at ECOAT14, which was held April 22-24 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

Maureen Midgley of Henkel Corp. gave the keynote address, “The Chemical Industry’s Response to Trends and Innovations in the Transportation Industry,” on Wednesday morning. Matt Kirchner of American Finishing Resources followed with a discussion on how to differentiate your company from the crowd in his presentation, “Marketing for Ecoaters.” To round out the morning, a panel of coatings experts fielded audience questions in the “Advancements in Coatings” session.

Thursday opened with a thought-provoking keynote address by Joy Forsmark of Ford Motor Co. Forsmark surveyed several recent USAMP programs that have addressed corrosion challenges, with particular focus on a Magnesium–Intensive Front End Development Project. Following her presentation, Axel Linnewerth of PPG Industrial Coatings shared his knowledge and expertise on REACH legislation. The morning concluded with an “Advancements in Pretreatment” session, another very productive panel discussion with audience participation.

Each afternoon offered a variety of workshop choices, allowing attendees to customize that portion of their conference experience.

ECOAT14 concluded with “The Pillars of Social Media Success” by Chuck Gault of Max Coatings. Gault implemented a strong social media and public relations program in late 2012. In his presentation, he shared stories, tips and tricks for success.

A bonus for ECOAT14 attendees was the Coatings & Cocktails session, giving participants open access to industry experts in the fields of pretreatment, paint, equipment and filtration. Evening exhibits also offered a great networking forum, as suppliers hosted a festive venue to talk shop, respond to attendee issues, and provide some fun. 

At the Industry Awards Banquet, several individuals were recognized for their contribution to the industry and to the conference. Jesse Taylor of F&P America received the Best End-User Paper Award. Started in 1990, this award recognizes electrocoaters who have devoted time and company resources to produce and present technical papers for the Electrocoat Conference. 

Also honored at the banquet were recipients of the Brewer Award, which is presented in three categories, Paint and Process Technology, Market Promotion of the Technology, and Application of the Technology. Dr. George E. F. Brewer is generally credited with the original idea of electrodeposition of paint during the late 1950’s while at Ford Motor Co. Throughout his career, and even in retirement, Brewer championed the areas of paint technology, chemistry, engineering and market expansion. Honored during the Electrocoat Conference, recipients of this award stand out among the best in the field.

This year’s George E. F. Brewer Award recipient in the area of Paint and Process Technology is Henry Austin of PPG Industrial Coatings. Austin has made numerous contributions to the electocoat industry during his 45 years of service.  He was part of the team that originally conceived, formulated and commercialized cathodic electrodeposition coatings. He formulated the resin and paint system that filled the world’s first cathodic electrocoat tank in Whirlpool Evansville in 1971 and assisted in the development of cathodic epoxy auto body primer that launched in 1975. He developed and launched the first cathodic acrylic product for use on automotive wheels and parts in 1983 and led a team that developed the world’s first OEM-approved lead-free cathodic epoxy electrocoat for automotive parts. He was a member of the team that was recognized with the 2001 President’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award for the development of a substitute for lead as a corrosion inhibitor and also led a team that developed a specific electrocoat product to fit the needs of the European automotive parts market.  His experience and counsel have always been valued among his colleagues. He continues to contribute to PPG’s product development projects as a consultant.

This year’s winner of the George E. F. Brewer Award in the area of Application of the Technology is Jim Blankemeyer of MetoKote Corp. Blankemeyer was the visionary and entrepreneurial force behind MetoKote Corp.'s rapid growth.  During the mid-80s when electrocoat was becoming a preferred technology for protecting automotive parts from corrosion, he led the company’s growth and globalization, preferentially designing, building, installing and operating new electrocoat lines.

The recipient of the 2014 Brewer Award in the Market Promotion of the Technology category is Terry Giles, Global Business Development Manager at Henkel Adhesive Technologies' Surface Treatment Group. He has been at Henkel for 33 years, holding various positions in research and development, technical service, marketing, and business development. In his current position, he is responsible for introducing new technology to the global marketplace, with the focus being on the next generation of conversion coatings. Giles has been an active member of The Electrocoat Association for 15 years, serving on the Board of Directors and the Conference Steering Committee and is the Committee Chairman for ECOAT14.  He developed the Pretreatment sections of the book, “Electrocoat: A Guidebook for Finishers,” and the association’s Electrocoating Seminar. He has presented many papers since the 1998 conference and continues to be a champion for the industry. 

Industry professionals who did not attend this year’s conference, but would like to purchase the conference proceedings of the technical presentations can e-mail anne@electrocoat.org.