The 2011 Coatings Trends & Technologies (CTT) conference, a technical symposium organized by PCI Magazine and the Chicago Society for Coatings Technology, took place September 13-14 at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook, IL. Attendees and exhibitors alike raved about the new, expanded venue for the event, which included two large ballrooms for the double-track sessions, as well as a 7500-square-foot ballroom for the exhibitors to display their products. The conference had 248 registered attendees and 49 exhibitors, both up from last year.

This year’s keynote address was by Dr. Richard Jenkins, Global Group President, Arkema Coating Resins. Jenkins’ presentation was titled Coating Resins and Additives – a New Global Perspective. He discussed how the coatings industry is growing globally, but not uniformly, and that growth drivers vary according to region. The environment and performance are driving the industry in mature markets, while population and construction growth are the driving forces in emerging countries. In addition, coating growth is greater than the GDP, and as economies emerge, the need for coatings and technology is going to increase.

Jenkins stated that for suppliers, an effective response to market trends requires balancing global leverage with regional needs. Some issues are discreet by region, such as the substrate to be painted, weather conditions, latitude (UV intensity), market size and growth rates, economics and personal income, target aesthetics, and paint seasonality. Global, or multiregional, factors include technology platforms, paint manufacturers and commodity ingredients. The key, according to Jenkins, is to balance the global with the regional – to bring global technology and marketing leverage to all customers, but focused to their regional needs.

Jenkins also included a variety of interesting statistics about the global coatings market, including the preferred technology mix by region (solventborne, waterborne, powder and UV), the preferred paint sheen by region, as well as information on the volatile hydrocarbon feedstock costs and the resulting influence on resin selection.

Over the course of the 1 1/2-day event, 31 technical presentations were delivered. Some of the topics included trend-setting pigment technologies, accelerated weathering, a new freeze/thaw high-throughput test method, silicon carbide “whiskers” for tough polymeric coatings, and nano-additives.

Attendees that visited all 49 booths were entered into a raffle for three prizes: Michael Misiaszek, Lab Chemist at TPR2, won a $50 gift card; Keith Quisenberry, Senior Product Development Chemist at Franklin International, won a Wi-Fi Kindle; and Charles Billstrand, Senior R&D Chemist at GTI Chemical Solutions, won a 47” Vizio HDTV.

It was great to meet with both coatings suppliers and manufacturers at this event, and to hear about some exciting new technology. Look for articles in upcoming issues based on presentations given at CTT.

Mark your calendars now for September 11-12, 2012, at the same excellent venue, so that you can be sure to be a part of this growing annual conference!