A bevy of industry trade organizations co-sponsored the show, including the Air & Waste Management Association, Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI), the Electrocoat Association, The Metal Finishing Suppliers’ Association, National Association of Metal Finishers, National Paint and Coatings Association, The Porcelain Enamel Institute, The Powder Coating Institute (PCI), RadTech International North America and the Society of Vacuum Coaters. For good measure, a couple of supporting sponsors added to the mix: the Industrial Heating Equipment Association’s Infrared Equipment Division and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Coating 2005 gave technology suppliers covering the gamut of finishing processes a chance to display their latest products. Attendees learned about e-coating, powder coating, liquid coating, plating, air and waste management, porcelain enamel, vacuum coating, water treatment and UV/EB curing technologies, among others.
Expo exhibitors were pleased with both the quantity and quality of attendees. According to preliminary numbers from show management company Goyer Management International (GMI), the show’s 207 exhibitors took up 50,000 net sq ft of floor space at the convention center. GMI says 92% of exhibitors rated the show good or excellent; 87% of exhibitors rated the quality of attendees as good to excellent.
Total attendance was 4,144—up 30% compared with last year’s Powder Coating 2004 show held in Charlotte, but off 15% from Coating 2003. According to GMI’s survey, 96% of attendees agreed or strongly agreed that attending the show was well worth the time spent and 90% of attendees plan to purchase products from exhibitors.
Alongside the exposition, conferences gave attendees the opportunity to learn more about various aspects of product finishing. Some of the sessions provided an introduction to finishing technologies—a session on the basics of powder coating, for example, used a “Wizard of Oz” theme to give potential users a flavor for the technology and its capabilities. Characters included Dorky (and Toto, too): Liquidia, the Wicked Witch of Wet and the Wizard of Powder. Although presented in a fun and different way, the session didn’t lack technical meat: attendees gained fundamental knowledge of powder materials, pretreatment, application, curing, material handling, system design and quality assurance.
Other, more in-depth presentations targeted trends and troubleshooting for various finishing technologies. A multi-presentation session titled “Compliant Metal Finishing,” for example, drew a packed room for talks on the global market for liquid coatings, how to grow a finishing business through continuous improvement and other topics. A session on powder coating on plastics was well-attended, as were many other presentations over the course of the four-day conferences.
In light of increasing global competition, management topics such as continuous improvement and lean manufacturing were of particular interest to many conference attendees. A session on lean manufacturing concepts and techniques for paint shops provides a good example.
Dovetailing with the increased awareness of lean manufacturing techniques, continuous improvement, six-sigma, and other techniques to improve productivity and competitiveness was the emphasis by several exhibitors on fast color changes for powder and liquid coating.
Several suppliers of powder coating booths and technology, for example, drew crowds with systems that can change colors in as little as 18 sec. All these systems support the lean manufacturing concepts of reducing lot sizes to minimize work-in-process inventory as well as minimizing non-productive time.
Some exhibitors drew crowds with other types of in-booth displays, ranging from classic cars and muscle cars to Harleys and other two-wheeled attractions. Also popular were in-booth contests and giveaways. In one booth, attendees could meet and take a photo with a NASCAR Busch Series driver. Other exhibitors offered attendees a chance to win prizes ranging from an Apple iPod to pit passes for upcoming NASCAR races in Charlotte, NC.
A couple of new features this year went over well and added interest and more educational opportunities for attendees. An example is the Exhibitor Presentation stage. Located on the Show Floor, the stage enabled attendees to hear 15-minute commercial product presentations sponsored by several exhibitors listed. Presentation topics included fast color change technology for powder coating operations, achieving a decorative chrome look using a physical vapor deposition/vacuum metallizing process, liquid UV coating and curing of 3-D substrates, e-coating bulk parts on a conveyor belt and how to choose the right iron phosphate based on application requirements, among others.
Another new area of the show floor was The Garage, which gave attendees the opportunity to take an up-close look at a variety of finished products and get some insight into the processes used to make them visually appealing and durable. Products on display included an air compressor, barbecue grill, tractors and other lawn and garden equipment, a bicycle, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a Hummer, welded steel fence panels, wire shelving, and hand tools, among others.
Coating 2005 also generated contributions to those suffering as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast. As of Wednesday afternoon, show attendees and exhibitors had contributed more than $6000 for hurricane relief efforts.
Despite the generally positive atmosphere, it looks like the 2005 edition will be the last show with the “Coating” name. Next year, the emphasis will be on powder coating technology at the Powder Coating 2006 show sponsored by PCI. But, a more general finishing event will live on in 2007 thanks to an agreement between GMI and CCAI.
The organizations will launch a new conference and trade show to serve the industrial finishing market. FINISH ‘07 International Trade Fair and Conference is slated to debut September 17 - 20, 2007, in Indianapolis. CCAI will assist in the development and coordination of the technical conference, marketing and promotion, and CCAI corporate members will be eligible for a reduced cost of exhibiting.
According to CCAI President Jeff Watson of R3 Technologies, sponsoring the event fits in well with the organization’s emphasis on keeping users of finishing equipment and materials up to speed on the latest technologies and industry trends. “The mission of CCAI focuses on the education of finishing end users, and this event will help us to fulfill that mission by continuing to make high level educational content available to the industry, as well as providing an exhibition to help our corporate membership market their products to the end- user community in a face-to-face environment,” he says. “Because CCAI members are involved in all areas of industrial finishing, we feel this is an appropriate event to receive our support.”
Like this year’s show, FINISH ‘07 will focus on the needs of end users of all industrial finishing technologies, including liquid coatings, powder coatings, electrocoat, UV-curable coatings and plating, as well as the other technologies used by those end users, such as cleaning and pretreatment, material handling and curing.