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Thursday, 21 March 2019
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Markets & companies, Coatings market

Interview: “The Innovation Center will serve as our global R&D hub“

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

In November, Axalta Coating Systems unveiled the largest coatings research and development center in the world in Philadelphia. We spoke to Barry Snyder, SVP and Chief Technology Officer, about the investment.

In November, Axalta Coating Systems unveiled the largest coatings research and development center in the world in Philadelphia. Image source: Sergey Nivens - Fotolia.com
In November, Axalta Coating Systems unveiled the largest coatings research and development center in the world in Philadelphia. Image source: Serge...

Why did you choose Philadelphia as location of the coatings research and development center?

Barry Snyder: The Global Innovation Center’s new location in the Navy Yard is within miles of Axalta’s global headquarters in Center City Philadelphia and several major Philadelphia universities, allowing for collaboration among Axalta employees, business partners and customers, and offering an attractive workplace for new talent.

To what extent will the R&D center affect R&D centers in different geographies?

Snyder: The Global Innovation Center will serve as Axalta’s global R&D hub where we build our core application, resin and colour technologies that underlie our product development. From there, our regional R&D centers – located in the Americas, Europe and Asia – and our global network of labs can take these innovative platforms and translate the technologies into customer-facing, customized products. This tiered structure allows us to solve customer problems from one centralized hub, then distribute the technology globally, where our other R&D centers can focus on tailing the products to our local customer needs. 

What coatings relevant R&D will be initially in the focus of the new center?

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Barry Snyder,

SVP and Chief Technology Officer, Axalta

Snyder: The Global Innovation Center will focus on developing the next generation of coatings products and keeping pace with emerging application needs. Vehicles increasingly use light weight plastic and composite materials to save fuel, which require special coatings formulations. Regulations and customer demands call for newer water-borne coatings. Customers engaged in vehicle manufacturing and repair require faster and more productive application systems and technologies. Developing products to suit these and other needs will be the mission of the Global Innovation Center and Axalta’s worldwide research and development network.

The center will also promote STEM education through a number of programs. Could you please explain why?

Snyder: Axalta has a long-standing commitment to STEM education, and the events and programs that Axalta—and the organizations with which we partner—support are designed to benefit both K-12 and university students and institutions. To raise the visibility of STEM curricula and excellent classroom experiences in the Philadelphia area, Axalta sponsors the Axalta All-Pro Teachers Program with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Science Festival with the Franklin Institute, and several other programs that honor STEM educators and students. The Global Innovation Center will play a role in that ongoing commitment.

This interview is part of a longer article on the investment, which is part of the December issue of the European Coatings Journal.

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