Finally Reconnecting in Person: American Coatings Show 2022

A strong and successful comeback of the American Coatings Show and Conference after the hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic: Over 7,000 visitors, 365 exhibitors and 760 conference attendees turned Indy into the coating’s hub this spring.

The American Coatings Show 2022 took place from April 5 to 7 in Indianapolis. Image source: ASHinteractive

The atmosphere of joy to finally meet again in Indy after the last ACS in 2018 was palpable on the show floor and in the conference halls on all three days. People’s happiness about their reunions with colleagues and acquaintances was obvious when the doors opened for the seventh edition of the American Coatings Show and Conference, which are being held concurrently for the first time.

The ACS 2022, organized by the American Coatings Association (ACA) in collaboration with Vincentz Network (VN), once again demonstrates the trade show’s importance for the coatings industry – even more after a break of four years, due to the global pandemic. There was a special atmosphere in the air when show visitors and conference attendees alike poured into the Indiana Convention Center on the first show day. “How have you been,” “good to see you again, “,“long time no see” – these phrases could be heard all over the show floor.

Busy show floor

The show floor brimmed with over 7,000 visitors and intensive exchange. More than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space are occupied, with 365 exhibitors showing their novelties in terms of coatings raw materials, technologies, equipment and services. The Product Presentations on the show floor were well-attended right from the start and showed the visitors’ great interest in novel paint and coatings developments. Busy booths, happy reunions and discussions on sustainability were a trademark of this year’s ACS.

“We are excited to see the industry come together for the ACS again. The exhibitors’ booths, conference and show attendees, and new ACS branding are all coming together to provide an energizing experience for all involved,” said Cheryl Matthews, Vice President, Events & Expositions at ACA. “It was a very exciting first day on the show floor and in the conference area. We’ve already had great feedback from our exhibitors and attendees,” added Kristina Wilger, Director of Event Management at Vincentz Network. According to Wilger, it was great to reconnect with the coatings industry face to face and witness the lively exchange at the show and the fruitful discussions at the conference. “We looked forward to offering more opportunities for networking, business growth and professional development. Approximately 200 people participated in the Fun Run, energy is high on the show floor, and the highly interactive conference sessions are well attended,” said Matthews.

New and established features offered plenty networking opportunities

After its successful start in 2016, the popular Fun Run took place for the third time. As in 2018, this year’s winners were Mexican twin brothers Alfredo and Alejandro Vergara Ugalde of Alvu Química. The twins crossed the finish line together, as they did in the last Fun Run. This time even faster than at the last run four years before. At 17:55 minutes, the twin brothers beat their previous record by 17 seconds and remained under the 18-minute mark. “The race was amazing. We enjoyed seeing many familiar faces. We are excited for the ACS Fun Run in 2024 and hope to achieve a threepeat by winning three in a row,” Alfredo Vergara Ugalde said.

Another highlight was the panel discussion “Women in Coatings: Breaking Down Gender Biases in the Workplace.” Sarah Eckersley, R&D vice president, Dow Industrial, Intermediates & Infrastructure, talked to panelists from across the global coatings industry about their experiences as well as strategies on how to drive inclusion and break down gender biases.  Another new addition was the Powder Coatings Pavilion, while many of the longstanding highlights returned, such as the Product Presentations, which drew many interested listeners.

Fruitful exchange at the AC Conference

Pre-conference Tutorials proved again to be popular and attracted high interest. Ahead of the official start of American Coatings Conference 2022, once again 10 Pre-conference Tutorials drew strong interest by coatings professionals. In particular, the tutorials on anti-corrosive coatings and waterborne high-performance coatings were highly attended lectures. Sustainability was not only a hot topic on the show floor, it was also in the focus of the keynote – along with innovation. Chris Killian, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Eastman was the keynote speaker at the Plenary Session that kicked-off the AC Conference 2022. He gave a speech titled “The Role of Innovation in the Coatings Industry When Every Color Must Be Green.” His address focused on how the resilience of technology innovation and creativity are leading the paint and coatings industry to be able to enabler a more sustainable future as demanded by their customers. “Working together the coatings and materials industry can be pivotal in solving significant world challenges,” said Killian, summarizing his points and underlining the coatings industry’s role in a more sustainable, green world. “I think the coatings industry gets it – or at least begins to get it. And we should all be proud to be part of an industry that is responding with sustainable solutions. We have the opportunity to make a real impact.”

American Coatings Award presented to Steve Block of NXTLEVVEL Biochem

The conference, consisted of about 90 selected presentations in total, in 16 dedicated sessions. Approximately 760 attendees had registered for the event. The prestigious American Coatings Award honors the most outstanding technical presentation at the American Coatings Conference. This year, Steve Block of NXTLEVVEL Biochem was chosen as the winner by the organizers, the American Coatings Association and Vincentz Network, for his presentation on “The Use of Levulinates as Coalescing Agents in Water-Based Coatings”. No surprise that this paper had sustainability and renewables in the focus. “The work that has been done in the field recognises the need to not just improve the technical aspect of coatings but also addresses the growing need to transition from fossil fuel-based chemistry to bio-based chemistry,” said Block.

Save the date

The next American Coatings Show and Conference will take place in two years. In 2024, the show and conference will open their doors on April 30 and take place until May 2 in Indianapolis. The venue will once again be the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

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