As hard as I try to maintain optimism and really look in all the nooks and crannies for signs of a major turnaround – it is still tough out there. When you have been in the industry as long as I have it is so frustrating and sad to see a lack of growth, R&D budgets severely curtailed and in some cases cut completely, and an industry that you love continue to shrink.
We have two choices as we start this New Year – approach with fear and hesitancy or be guardedly optimistic and move forward. I choose the latter, as I think if we don’t show confidence we will spiral ourselves downward.
On behalf of the PCI staff I want to take this opportunity to wish our readers, advertisers and contributing authors a very happy holiday season. We are successful because of your continued support, encouragement and feedback – we always welcome your viewpoint.
Globally, the economic downturn this year has been rather depressing, and the coatings industry has suffered through a year of contraction and discouraging news. We have two major coatings sectors that have been seriously impacted – automotive and new home construction, affecting the architectural and appliance coating markets. The industry has been doing all it can to look at alternate raw materials, processes and energy/cost saving measures while at the same time being innovative, green and sustainable. No easy task!
We are indeed in unique technological times – it is a challenge to keep pace with advancements in computer technology, science and information sharing. Sometimes it is just overwhelming. The Internet has made communication instantaneous and, despite the misuse and abuse, the positives are mind-boggling.
I know with the above title I have your attention for a few moments. In one of our features this month the author likens some people using UV measurement to a drunk using a light post – “more for support than illumination.”
As you know, we have been trying to incorporate more nano-related material into our editorial features and also in our e-newsletter, Insider News. There is so much exciting nanotechnology research being done – the frustration for me is that a great deal of it is outside the coatings venue and, therefore, we simply cannot cover it.
This issue of PCI contains the 17th annual listing of top coatings manufacturers for 2008, both globally and in North America. Surprisingly not all that much changed from 2007, and the declines were not as severe as could have been expected given the global economic distress.
Usually a conference write-up will touch on a few highlights, give some statistics and be fairly brief. Not so the TiO2 conference report in this issue of PCI. In my 35 years in the industry I don’t recall ever reading a conference report that in fact was so thorough and all inclusive as to be an industry market report on the global business today. And it was enjoyable reading!