Interview “Notable demand for specialised research”
Please give a little background information on the Institute of Coating Technology. Where is it located? When was it founded?
Dr Evripidis Tsaousoglou: The Institute of Coating Technologies (IoCT) is a research institute established in 2019 by professionals and experts in the coating and paint industry. While our headquarters are in Athens, Greece, our expertise spans the entire coating industry, encompassing everything from raw material utilisation to application and inspection. This enables us to function as a global authority on coating technologies, facilitating networking and knowledge sharing among scientists, researchers, industry professionals, and educators. The IoCT is dedicated to disseminating cutting-edge information, best practices, and fostering a holistic approach to coatings. We cater to various professionals directly or indirectly involved in this field, such as architects, engineers, decorators, and more.
What is the Institute’s mission?
Tsaousoglou: The IoCT is dedicated to uniting the scientific community, technical personnel, and all stakeholders associated with coatings professionally, academically, and in research.
Our main goal is to establish industry standards, foster expertise, anticipate advancements, encourage innovation, and actively promote the significance of lifelong learning through comprehensive training and consulting services. With our extensive experience, knowledge, expertise, and a forward-thinking approach, IoCT offers practical solutions to meet the daily requirements of every professional in the field.
Which segments and applications are you focusing on with your services?
Tsaousoglou: We offer comprehensive training programmes and certification courses to equip professionals in the coating industry with the necessary skills and knowledge. Our instructors deliver training sessions that cover a wide range of topics, including coating application techniques, safety practices, and industry regulations. Through our training programmes, individuals can enhance their expertise and obtain certifications that validate their proficiency, enabling them to excel in their careers and meet industry standards.
The educational and training programmes cover the needs of professionals, regardless of their work experience.
Which of these services currently show the highest demand?
Tsaousoglou: We have received significant interest in our training programmes, as they are recognized for their quality. However, we acknowledge that the current training material is available only in Greek, which limits accessibility for non-native speakers. To address this, we are actively developing an English training platform that incorporates dynamic animations. This initiative aims to enhance comprehension and cater to individuals whose native language is not English.
In our ongoing efforts to improve training methodologies, we have also embarked on incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) technology into our educational programmes. By integrating VR, we aim to create a more immersive and engaging learning experience. This technological advancement will benefit learners by providing a direct and realistic understanding of coating techniques, even if they are unable to physically attend training sessions. We are excited about the prospects of VR in enhancing training effectiveness, and we anticipate making further announcements on this front in the near future.
We have recently expanded our services to include Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) analyses. Despite being a relatively new offering, we have already received numerous requests, indicating a growing demand in this sector. This encourages us to continue investing in and refining our expertise in LCA and EPD assessments to meet the evolving needs of industries seeking to improve their environmental sustainability.
Furthermore, in line with our commitment to certifications, we are currently engaged in discussions to establish a state-of-the-art Materials Testing and Certification laboratory in Greece. This facility will focus on testing and certifying building materials and coatings, ensuring compliance with industry standards and specifications. The creation of this laboratory underscores our dedication to providing comprehensive and reliable certification services to support the quality and integrity of materials used in construction projects.
To what extent do you see a certain trend of carrying out research projects by a third party such as the IoCT?
Tsaousoglou: In today’s evolving landscape, specialisation in coatings is becoming increasingly important, on the other hand the growing regulatory requirements demand a broad knowledge of information. As a result, many small and medium-sized companies are opting to outsource certain aspects of their work to third parties. At the same time, we have observed that the pursuit of research for new materials does not always align with this trend. Larger companies tend to have the resources and preference for conducting in-house research, while the demands of small and medium-sized enterprises in this regard are relatively limited. Consequently, collaborations with external companies typically occur within the framework of funded research projects.
Conversely, there is a notable demand for specialised research and consulting services, particularly in the realms of problem-solving and failure investigation. Small and medium-sized companies often seek expert guidance and support to overcome challenges and address issues that may arise in their coating processes. Recognising this need, our institute is well-equipped to provide tailored solutions and comprehensive consulting services in these areas.
IoCT organizes the Coating Forum could you share some details?
Tsaousoglou: The upcoming Coating Forum, scheduled for 3 November 2023, in Athens, has already been announced, and it promises to be an engaging event. The focus on sustainability and the dynamic changes taking place in the construction ecosystem will continue to be key topics of discussion. However, other important areas will also be addressed, such as the training and development of workforce and executives, the transition from industry 4.0 to construction 5.0, successful strategies, and the global market outlook. The Coating Forum 2023 has been titled “Exploring the way unlocking the potential from Industry 4.0 to Construction 5.0,” reflecting the significance of embracing technological advancements in the construction industry.
Last year, the Coating Forum attracted over 300 attendees, including senior executives, experts, engineers, scientists, producers, professionals, policy makers, consultants, technology innovators, and leading market analysts from the construction industry. The event gathered a diverse range of participants, with a notable representation from paint manufacturers and suppliers/distributors of raw materials. Additionally, numerous companies from the construction and real estate sectors were in attendance. The attendee list was further enriched by the presence of companies from packaging, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) consulting firms, certification bodies, and financial institutions. It is worth highlighting that relevant associations and organizations, both private and governmental, also took part, contributing to the overall richness and diversity of perspectives shared during the Coating Forum.