At the end of each year I like to look back at all of the events that made news headlines over the previous 12 months. I thought it might be fun to do the same with the coatings industry, so I spent some time looking back through our January-November issues to reflect on what happened in 2014.

The year kicked off with PCI’s 113th anniversary, as well as positive growth forecasts for several coatings-related markets. Reports predicted that smart coatings will grow from $363 million in 2013 to almost $3 billion in 2018. UV coatings will be worth approximately $7.6 billion by 2019, up from approximately $4.6 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 10.6%. The coatings additive market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% from an estimated $6 billion in 2013 to $8.7 billion by 2018. And the global antimicrobial coatings market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2013 to 2018.

Much of the United States was in the grips of the polar vortex for the first part of 2014, which hindered the economy. U.S. GDP fell in the first quarter, but rebounded strongly in the second.

Work in developing standards for our industry did not slow down. SSPC released SSPC-45, a new standard that describes performance requirements for polyurea and polyurea/polyurethane hybrid coatings used to protect industrial structures. In the wake of the 2013 West, TX, tragedy that killed 15 people in an ammonium nitrate explosion, OSHA sought public comment on its Process Safety Management standard and other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents. And ASTM International began developing several new test methods, including ASTM E2864 for measuring airborne nanomaterials and analyzing them to determine their surface area, and ASTM WK 45390 to test the slip coefficient properties of coatings used in slip-critical bolted connections.

Late spring and early summer brought the American Coatings Show and Conference in Atlanta, and the RadTech UV/EB Technology Expo and Conference in Chicago. The ACS saw record-breaking numbers and the introduction of many new products and technologies. RadTech 2014 showcased new areas of growth for the industry and announced the creation of a new Sustainability Award, promoting sustainability through UV/EB technology.

It was a busy year for acquisitions. Following its 2013 acquisition of AkzoNobel’s North American Architectural Coatings Business, PPG Industries completed several big purchases this year, acquiring Hi-Temp Coatings Technology and Comex. Cristal entered into an agreement to acquire the TiO2 assets of Jiangxi Tikon Titanium Co. Ltd. in China. The transaction is expected to close no later than the end of the first quarter of 2015. Maroon Group LLC acquired Addipel LLC, a custom blender and re-packager based in Avon Lake, OH. Huntsman Corp. completed the acquisition of the Performance Additives and TiO2 businesses of Rockwood Holdings Inc. Eastman Chemical Co. announced a definitive agreement to acquire Taminco Corp. Emerald Performance Materials completed the sale of the company to an affiliate of private equity firm American Securities LLC. RPM International Inc. And Bayer announced in September that it plans to focus entirely on the Life Science businesses -HealthCare and CropScience -and float MaterialScience on the stock market as a separate company.

PCI started some new ventures this year, producing two technical conferences in Shanghai – one focusing on architectural coatings and the other on new advancements in the industrial coatings field. Both events brought in hundreds of attendees and an impressive group of speakers that included suppliers, professors, manufacturers and association members. Our annual Coatings Trends & Technologies (CTT) event in Chicago was also a great success – up 13% in attendees and 11% in exhibitors from 2013.

 Overall, it appears that 2014 was a very busy and productive year for our industry. Here’s to continued success in the new year!