Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East, the list of crisis areas is getting longer and longer. Of course, political crises always have consequences for the economy and naturally the paints and coatings industry is no exception.
At the beginning of the year, I like to tidy up my flat in order to get rid of unwanted and useless things. This time I discovered an article in a pile of newspapers and magazines. This article begins with: "Electrical-Coating – A charge alternating from positive to negative should protect ship hulls from fouling. Via this the acidity of the surrounding water is changing constantly and this repels mussels and algae”. This is what I call an exciting research project.
Recently I attended the Coating Summit 2015 – the global strategy and networking forum for senior coatings executives. These senior executives from the global coatings industry agreed that it was an attractive industry which offered huge promise - especially in high-growth markets - and plenty of opportunities. However back home meeting people within the European coatings industry I heard, that this view might be too optimistic.
Whenever I do interviews with industry professionals, I like to ask them how they came to take up a career in the coatings world. It’s funny how different the answers are. Only recently, I met an ambitious young man at a coatings company supplying the graphic arts industry.
To think about how to spend the money we earned through our work is one of our first world problems. A lot of people in this world don’t even have enough money to buy things that satisfy the basics needs. I think, it is therefore an ethical necessity to act socially responsible. This could mean to look for the attribute "organic” or "bio” while you shop groceries. Sometimes we consider this ethical attitude and buy our food at a local market or directly at a nearby farmer. On other days we go to one of the huge chains or supermarket around the corner. That’s how we humans are, not always consistent but at sometimes we at least try to act politically and ethically correct.
The editorial staff have just finished putting together the programme for the EC CONGRESS. This, Europe’s biggest congress on coatings technology, will offer 144 presentations on the latest technologies and developments that can be used by paint makers to research innovations and develop products. Too often, though, research and development work takes a back seat to everyday business (handling queries, troubleshooting, etc), with the result that many innovative ideas simply fall by the wayside. I have set to wondering if that might threaten the competitiveness of the coatings industry in western Europe in the long term.