You know things are big when they start comparing them to football fields. As in an aircraft carrier is so many football fields large, or this many widgets would fill that many football fields.
So we sat up and took notice when the American Wind Energy Association’s Windpower 2011 conference in California this summer attracted more than 1,100 exhibitors and filled four convention halls that could equaled the space of … ready? … 20 football fields.
We mention wind energy because that is our focus this month in Products Finishing, and it also may be the “next big thing” that finishers and coaters hope will keep their businesses growing as that sector expands.
We focus several stories this month on how big the industry is growing and what types of parts are going into wind turbines that seem to be cropping up everywhere.
The AWEA reports that U.S. wind farms contribute more than 41,000 megawatts of installed capacity, enough to power 10 million households. But here’s the really big number for you: more than 8,000 parts go in to wind turbines, and they all need to be coated and corrosion resistant because of the harsh outdoor environments in which they are placed.
California state legislature recently set a goal of having 33 percent of its population on wind energy by 2020. As a result, wind power units are now under construction in the state that could result in almost 1 million California households being powered when they go online this year.
Hopefully, platers and anodizers can get in on the action along with powder coaters and painters, too. More than 8,000 parts in a single product is a big undertaking, and owners don’t want to have to climb one of these wind turbines to fix a corroded part.
We’ll check in a few times each year to see how the energy industry is transforming the finishing sector.
We note a milestone in this issue with the observance of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania 10 years ago this month.
We revisit that day with several platers who were in our nation’s capital that day attending the NASF Washington Forum annual conference. A few tell the story of how they managed to get out of Washington via planes, trains and automobiles when the nation’s airlines were grounded. One plater, Bob McBride from California, was supposed to be on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, but his wife, thankfully, talked him out of going to the event.
We also report on a Kansas sculptor who is making art pieces using I-beams from the fallen World Trade Center, and how he used the experts at Products Finishing to get advice on how best to finish the pieces.
We also note with great sadness the passing of Sherwin-Williams executive Tom Grady and Columbia Chemical sales rep Willie Barry.
Grady, a board member of the Powder Coating Institute, died unexpectedly at age 45. He was with the Sherwin-Williams metal building products group, and is survived by his wife, Jane, and daughters Elizabeth and Kaitlyn. His friends have created a college fund for Grady’s two children. Donations can be made to the Grady Educational Fund at M&T Bank, 740 Maple Road, Williamsville, NY, 14221.
Prior to joining Columbia Chemical’s sales team, Barry’s 21 years in the metal finishing industry included various positions at Hastings Manufacturing and as operations manager at Dynamic Finishing. He is survived by three children, two stepchildren and his wife, Lisa. Friends may contribute to the William Barry Memorial Fund, Account No. 3159628, Routing Code 072408436, Choice One Bank, 109 East Division, Sparta, MI, 49345.
They will be missed.