The use and improvements of coatings in the new millennium will still be driven by government regulation regarding VOC's, environmental protection, and worker safety. This driver, aided by technological improvements in surface application, preparation, and equipment, will spawn new paint resin technologies.
Because of increasing costs of painting and corrosion protection, increased effort will focus upon extending coating life by systemizing maintenance painting, and improving quality with "certified" contractors and inspectors.
The use of the internet by the coatings community will change the way the "business" of painting is done. Procurement of materials and services will be done quickly and economically on the internet industry portal websites.
"Where a calculator on the Eniac is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1-1/2 tons."
Popular Mechanics 1949
"I think there is a world market for about 5 computers."
Thomas J. Watson, IBM Chairman, 1943
"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
"The future will be better tomorrow."
Vice President, Dan Quail
"Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future."
Charles F. Kettering
"Imagination is better than intelligence"
It wasn't too long ago that painting contractors were performing open nozzle dry abrasive blast cleaning with silica sand, without containment and ventilation systems, and sometimes without the use of approved respiratory protection devices and fall prevention/protection equipment. It was also not that long ago that lead alkyds were the primary means of corrosion protection of storage tanks, bridge structures and industrial plants and facilities. How far we have come in only a little over a decade! But this paper is not intended to be about what was, but rather what will be. The authors do not have a crystal ball, and indeed very few (if any) can predict the future. However the need to properly and safely remove existing coatings, and the need to apply environmentally friendly coating systems that will last as long or longer than current technology can provide is very likely in our future. Further, the electronic age is upon us, and will continue to influence the way we conduct business in the coatings arena.
The title "Use of Coatings in the New Millennium" implies a paper regarding the use for coatings for the next thousand years. This is particularly ambitious when one considers the advances in the use of coatings over the past one thousand years, and most notably in the past fifty years, or even within the last ten years or so. The rate of technological change is increasing at an accelerating rate and this holds true in the coatings industry as well as virtually everything else that affects our lives.
COATINGS USE TOWARD THE END OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM
Yogi Berra once said "Forecasting is very difficult to do, especially in regards to the future."
However, forecasting the use of coatings toward the end of the new millennium is easy, particularly as one thousand years from now no one will remember the forecast, and no one will care!
One thousand years from now, at the end of the new millennium, organic coatings as we know them will not be used, and corrosion resistance to the diverse galactic environments encountered by mankind will be achieved by laser surface sintering of powders onto other alloys after fabrication. The laser array will pre-heat and prepare the surface, and the sintered powder will