More than 400 attendees and technology suppliers descended on the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando for the Electrocoat 2006 Conference.
The event kicked off with workshops geared toward people new to the e-coat industry, finishing line managers and executives. An opening evening reception allowed attendees to visit with old friends and make new contacts.
The next morning, the conference program debuted in earnest with the keynote address from Phil Phillips, managing partner, CHEMARK Consulting Group. Phillips tackled the topic of electrocoat growth in industrialized nations, as well as future trends and advancement.
Phillips’ consulting firm predicts e-coat will continue to find increasing acceptance in all regions of the globe, with growth at above average coatings consumption growth rates. Estimates of e-coat usage by region, according to Phillips:
- N. America (USA, Canada, Mexico): $1.2 billion
- Western Europe: $0.750 billion
- South America: $0.080 billion
- Asia/Pacific, excluding Japan: $0.370 billion
- Japan: $0.880 billion
Eastern Europe & Russia: $0.400 billion
Over the next two days, more than 30 presenters took the stage to discuss new technologies, environmental issues, line operating and management and much more. Attendees were able to compare technologies and question presenters regarding the merits and potential drawbacks of each.
For example, in presentations focusing on material handling, presenters imparted information about overhead conveyors, square transfer indexing systems and programmable hoist e-coat systems. These were followed up by a discussion of the various types of tooling systems available for e-coat and factors in the correct selection for a specific application.
Two speakers focused on pretreatment, it’s importance and the role of new technologies such as nano-particles in pretreatment.
These presentations were followed by eight speakers discussing various aspects of e-coat line management. Topics included “Efficient E-Coat Tank Operation,” “Color Control in E-Coat,” “Custom Masking,” “Applications and Markets for Clear Coatings” and “Multi-Colored E-coat System—A Cost-Effective Approach.”
Several speakers focused on management-related topics, system management and system efficiency. “The How-To of a Metal Finishing Turnaround (Even If you’re Still Making Money” covered one shop’s experience and detailed eight steps that could help redirect finishing companies toward improved profitability. Two presenters detailed their companies’ experience adding e-coat to their finishing capabilities and its impact on their bottom lines.
New technological developments also were the focus of multiple presentations. Bulk e-coating of small parts using a metal mesh belt, a shuttle concept for coating automotive bodies that’s said to reduce floor space requirements and improve quality, improved pretreatment, and advances in ultrafiltration technology for e-coat paint recovery were all highlighted.
Exhibit rooms hosted by industry technology suppliers provided the focus for attendees for both evenings of Electrocoat 2006, presenting them with many choices for entertainment, education, networking and food. Attendees enjoyed themselves and were able to network with colleagues and speak with experts about products and services.
Exhibitors provided a wide variety of entertainment options, from DuPont’s racing games with the Jeff Gordon car to Texas hold’em and other casino games in PPG’s room. Therma-Tron-X (TTX) electrocoated binder clips on a miniature system, while visitors to Henkel’s exhibit room could check out their golf swings and get tips from a virtual pro.
The event also included the Professional Achievement Luncheon, which featured awards for the best end-user paper presented at the conference as well as the George E.F. Brewer award recognizing outstanding achievements in promotion, application of e-coat technology, and paint and process technology.
The winner of the best end-user paper award was Anthony Sossi of ITD Precision, who spoke on the topic of “Important Aspects of E-Coat Tooling.” According to Sossi, developing and using the right kind of hangers and racks is a key to achieving a sufficient and consistent electrical charge throughout the e-coat process.
Winner of the Brewer Award was Cindy Oravitz, retiring executive director of The Electrocoat Association. Cindy has worked in the industry since 1988, and since 1997 has held the position of executive director of the association. She is succeeded in that position by Karen McGlothlin, who has worked with the association for several years.
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