Craig Dietz is the Strategic Marketing Manager at Axalta Powder Coatings, where he is responsible for creating and executing the strategic marketing plans for the Alesta and Nap-Gard powder brands. He is also responsible for the pricing actions to meet margin objectives.
CD: We’re concentrating on the agricultural construction equipment market, and also the architecture and job coater markets. With respect to agriculture construction equipment, the way that we plan to penetrate that market further is by developing corrosion-resistant products that give superior performance for the equipment of the major equipment suppliers or manufacturers, such as Caterpillar, John Deere and CNH Kubota. We’re also working on lower-cure-temperature products for that market segment. For the architecture market, meeting AAMA 2603, 2604 and 2605 is of prime importance, and each of them has a different long-term weathering requirement. We’re working globally with our partners in Europe where the quality coat specifications are more in vogue, and working on longer-term warranties. So, overall, we’re going to penetrate that market by developing products for the different qualities of weather resistance that are needed, working with architects and engineers to get the coatings specified, and working on a global approach with warranties and products. The job coater market is essential to our business, and we want to further grow that business by developing broader color tools for use with customers, and working on more OEM approvals and supply. In the custom color market, service level is really important to the coaters, so we need to make sure that we have products available in the right place at the right time, and that we have them available all the time.
PF: How has the transition to the new Axalta been?
CD: The transition from DuPont to Axalta is going great. The company is working to break down barriers between the different businesses and work globally. We have the OEM automotive business, the refinish business, and the industrial liquid and industrial powder coatings business, and among those different businesses we work globally and collaboratively where it makes sense. That’s a big difference from the DuPont days. Another big difference is that Axalta is investing in people, equipment and technology. Those investments are going to help propel our growth even further. We’re also looking at acquisitions, although nothing is expected in the near-term. That will help our growth, as well.
PF: How has the Star Coater’s program helped Axalta and its customers?
CD: The value in the Star Coater program is in the peer groups. We have customers get together from different job coater shops and share experiences. One job coater may have an issue with racking or with packaging or masking, and he can share and explain how his company solves common problems. These job coaters are really living the day-to-day experience of coating parts, so they know what’s going on and how to solve problems. There are a lot of smart people in this business, and they are really creative in coming up with solutions to overcome the problems they face. Other benefits of the peer-to-peer aspect of the Star Coater program are the long-lasting friendships the members make and the fun they have in the meetings.
PF: What new powder coating products or advancements is Axalta coming out with?
CD: We’re working on a dry-on-dry application of our coatings for agricultural construction equipment. This dry-on-dry process—some people refer to it as dust-on-dust—basically involves applying a primer coat followed by a topcoat, without an intermediate step of curing or melting and flowing the powder coating. We’re also working on further developing superior metallic-effect finishes that use a unique bonding process and that can mimic liquid coatings. Finally, we’re also working on low-cure-temperature powders for the agriculture construction equipment market and other markets, and high-temperature-resistant coatings for the oil and gas market. Wells are being drilled deeper and deeper, where the oil is hotter, and we have developed a fusion-bonded epoxy that can resist temperatures as high as 155°C.
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