Looking Back, Moving Forward



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Another year is winding down. Traditionally, year-end offers an opportunity to reflect on the past year’s achievements and disappointments, highs and lows.

Here at Products Finishing, we successfully re-launched the magazine as a full-size publication starting with our August issue. This may not seem like such a big deal, but after 70 years as a digest-size publication that transition required a leap of faith and an investment in the future of PF as well as of the finishing industry. Feedback from both readers and advertisers has been uniformly positive.

The U.S. finishing industry also can look back with pride on several achievements.

In May, a record number of attendees at the SFIC Washington Forum heard two days of presentations covering everything from the latest finishing technologies to environmental and worker safety issues to the mood of Congress in this election year. Some also attended meetings with their congressional representatives and their staff to outline their concerns and lobby for passage of legislation important to the finishing industry and to manufacturers in general. The event also hosted a U.S. Department of Defense electroplating and surface finishing environmental R&D workshop, which explored industry environmental trends and served to help inform the Pentagon’s research and development agenda for plating and surface

In September, industry groups hosted successful trade shows for both powder coating and plating. Both events were tightly focused, with well-received conference programs. Attendance at both was modest, but no exhibitors I spoke with at either show were disappointed—attendees were individuals who were truly interested in learning about the respective technologies, and who also had buying and specifying influence for finishing equipment and technologies.

At the SUR/FIN show in Milwaukee, another momentous event took place: the final vote for consolidation of finishing industry trade groups into a single entity took place. As the show wound down, the AESF Council of Delegates—the final piece in the consolidation puzzle—voted in favor of creating the National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF). This consolidation will provide a strong, unified voice for the industry and an umbrella organization for all companies, individuals, and suppliers interested in advancing the art and science of plating.

About now, some of you who did not attend the shows or other events may be wondering how they impact your company, your job, your life. The answer is, they all work to strengthen the U.S. finishing industry. By engaging the people setting environmental and worker safety policy, for example, platers were able to reduce the impact of OSHA’s drastic lowering of the permissible exposure limits for hexavalent chromium.

More focused shows reflect the current state of the finishing industry in the U.S.: smaller, maybe, but the survivors have toughed it out against global competition. They’ve adapted to the new world order, and are stronger for the experience. With the advent of NASF, domestic finishers will have a strong, unified outlet to advance the agenda of the U.S. finishing industry.

All these things are cause for optimism as we look forward to the start of a new year—always a time for thoughts of renewal, a chance to look forward to a fresh start.

And speaking of renewal, the November issue of Products Finishing included a subscription card. If you haven’t yet filled out the card, signed it and dropped it in the mail, I’d like to ask you to do so now. We pay the postage, so all it’ll cost you is a couple minutes of your valuable time.

You can also renew (or start your subscription, if you’re not currently receiving your very own copy of the magazine) on the Internet by going to www.pfonline.com/subscribe. Either of these simple actions will keep PF coming to you each month without interruption.

However you do it, signing up for this magazine is one way to demonstrate your interest in keeping up with the latest advances in finishing technology. It’s an act of faith, in yourself and your professional development, in your company and its customers, in the industry as a whole. Renewing your subscription says that you believe in the future of the U.S. finishing industry, and in its ability to compete with companies from around the world.

Please mail the card or go online to sign up today. But, while you’re at it, set your mind on a fresh outlook. As we head into 2007, don’t just renew your subscription, renew yourself!