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PPG Launches $7.8M Coatings R&D Hub

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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Paint and coatings giant PPG Industries has unveiled its newly completed research and development facility just outside of Pittsburgh, home to its global headquarters.

The new Coatings Innovation Center (CIC) in the suburb of Allison Park represents a $7.8 million investment into its science and technology activities, the company said in a statement Thursday (Feb. 18).

Upgrades to the facility include increased laboratory and testing space as well as equipment improvements that expand the company’s technical capabilities in research and development for paint and coatings.

The facility improvements are meant to enhance PPG’s resources for:

  • Creating and testing sealants, adhesives and pretreatment solutions;
  • Simulating the environments where customers use its automotive and industrial paints and coatings; and
  • Training distributors, painters and collision-repair professionals to successfully use the company’s automotive refinish coatings.

“The PPG Coatings Innovation Center continues to provide an elite research and development environment where PPG scientists can ensure our customers have access to the most inventive coatings solutions,” said David Bem, PPG vice president, science and technology, and chief technology officer-elect.

“Many times, the breakthroughs that help us to deliver color, durability and functionality in coatings for everything from cars and trucks to consumer electronics and heavy machinery begin at our Coatings Innovation Center,” Bem added.

Investing in Innovation

The investment at the CIC enhances three main areas, according to the company—robotic spray booths, laboratories and a training center.

The facility’s renovated coatings application center provides two robotic spray booths with environmental controls for variable temperature, humidity and airflow. More than $4 million went into the renovation of this space, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

PPG says the booths, which replicate an automotive production line, allow it to replicate the manufacturing environments of its global customers to test the application of automotive, industrial and performance coatings products under a wide range of conditions, such as relative humidity ranging from 15 percent to 95 percent.

 Bob Donaldson via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 Bob Donaldson via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The investment at the CIC enhances three main areas, according to the company—robotic spray booths, laboratories and a training center, according to the company.

Prior to the new climate-controlled booths, “We were at the whim of outside temperatures,” John Furar, manager of the CIC Applications Center told the Post-Gazette. The lack of control over environmental conditions made it difficult to measure adhesion, durability and other coatings properties during application, he added.

Space has also been converted to laboratories for synthesis, adhesives and sealants, and pretreatment solutions to accommodate increased staffing and upgraded equipment that support PPG’s growing development needs in these areas, it says.

A completely renovated 9,000-square-foot automotive refinish training center now provides state-of-the art facilities, including two new spray booths, a prep station, upgraded equipment and two large classrooms where body-shop and collision-repair professionals can learn about PPG products and application techniques.

“As PPG continues to expand its paint and coatings portfolio, the company’s science and technology activities become increasingly important for ongoing advancement to address our customers’ changing needs,” said Michael McGarry, PPG president and CEO.

“Because it is the hub of our global research and development activities, enhancing the Coatings Innovation Center strengthens PPG’s overall capabilities as well as its presence in the Pittsburgh area—home to our global headquarters for more than 130 years.”

The Allison Park facility is one of 70 research labs operated by the company, according to the local newspaper. About 370 staff works on site; as a result of the expansion, about 100 of those jobs were added since 2011.

 

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Automotive coatings; Business matters; Coating Materials; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Industry News; Latin America; North America; PPG; Research and development

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