On My Mind: One for All?

Trade show season has hit the finishing industry full force.

Trade show season has hit the finishing industry full force. It all started with RadTech and Automotive Finishing, in the last two months.

There are some other major trade shows still on the horizon for this year as well-C1eanTech 2000, SUR/FIN 2000 and Powder Coating 2000.

In my short time in the industry, trade shows have afforded me the opportunity to quickly learn the various technologies. They also have allowed me to meet some key finishers and suppliers. I'm sure many of you look at trade shows in a similar manner.

I've often wondered why there are so many trade shows for what I consider one industry. Virtually everyone that reads this magazine is a finisher. And, many of you perform more than one type of finishing process. Plus, all of you have some sort of cleaning/pretreatment process, and many of you need to know what's going on with pollution control.

One trade show would provide finishers an excellent opportunity to compare various and competing technologies. With everything under one roof, a finisher could more easily ascertain which is the best process for them. Finishers might also find a new technology that could replace or complement an existing process in their plant.

But the current set up certainly makes this difficult. A finisher would have to spend quite a bit of money to see just the shows I mentioned.

While last fall brought us Coating '99, which was a show sponsored by 11 associations promoting a variety of finishing technologies, that show was still heavily represented by the powder coating industry. But Coating '99 could be a step in the right direction.

Other industries have certainly found this to be a favorable way to go. One example is IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show), which is the major trade show held every other year for the metalworking industry. This is one of the most successful trade shows in North America.

So, would the finishing industry be wise to unite and have one trade show that covers the broad spectrum of technologies? What has kept this from happening so far? Do finishers not want this? Do suppliers not want this?