"Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." --William Pollard
PPG began a transformation of its business portfolio in the late '90s. Building on its successful past in manufacturing glass and chemicals, it looked to the future and focused on building its portfolio of paints, coatings and specialty materials - the areas of its business that offered the most growth potential.
Today, PPG is a leading, global paint and coatings manufacturer with sales of nearly $15B last year. The company transformed itself through more than 50 acquisitions in the past decade that expanded its global reach and strengthened its portfolio in the growing paint and coatings market. It also never lost focus on the importance of innovation. PPG is consistently innovating to deliver high-quality products that help customers in the construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets solve their biggest challenges. Today, PPG employs about 47,000 people worldwide. They rank No. 182 in the FORTUNE 500, and this year they were named FORTUNE's most admired company in their industry.
The company's workforce prides itself on working every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and specialty materials that customers trust to protect and beautify their products. And you can find many of PPG's solutions all around you. For example, the paint on the walls of a building, the colorful coating on a car and even the materials within a mobile phone or tablet, likely are coated with PPG products. For decades, PPG scientists have focused on how to make things lighter, more sustainable, safer, stronger, quieter, more versatile and more energy-efficient, with innovative paint and coatings.
Automobile Boom - Then and Now
In the 1960s, PPG commercialized its electro-deposition coating process (e-coat). The technology enabled car manufacturers to apply paint more effectively to the bodies of automobiles, virtually eliminating rust. The technology has become the standard in the automotive industry.
Today, PPG is a major provider of coatings for automotive OEMs across the world; supplying everything from substrate protection, adhesives and sealants, color base coats and clear coats. PPG is also developing technologies for lithium ion auto batteries and even autonomous vehicles. It has developed technology to protect and enhance the lenses of the myriad of sensors and cameras that will be a major part of the supporting infrastructure needed for autonomous vehicles. For example, its hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings on sensor covers and camera lenses will prevent the buildup of dirt, enhancing the sensors ability to read the infrastructure.
The Case for Technology and Thought Transfer
Last year, PPG invested nearly $500 million in research and development. The company's focus on functional coatings - paint that goes beyond aesthetics - is yielding technologies that can be used across industries. Examples include easy-to-clean coatings that create maintenance-free surfaces and low-temperature cure coatings that consume less energy during a manufacturing process.
PPG's work in the airline industry is an example of how the company can successfully migrate proven technologies created specifically for one industry to another. As aircraft manufacturers attempt to decrease the weight of airplanes to make them more fuel efficient, they are using more sealants and adhesives to replace bolts and rivets, which increase weight and corrosion possibilities. The use of sealants and adhesives, from companies such as PPG, is providing significant savings in fuel costs alone. PPG also has transferred e-coat from automotive applications to aerospace. Since e-coat is specifically designed to provide an even coating on complicated surfaces and edges, it is ideal for airplane and aerospace applications.
In addition to adapting and transferring existing paint and coatings technologies to aerospace, PPG has developed technologies specifically for the industry. PPG's solar-heat-management coatings technology for aerospace is based on the development of novel pigment dispersions that increase transmittance of near-infrared energy, or heat, through a dark coating and increase the subsequent reflection from a white underlay. The technology is modeled after the science of an eggplant, which naturally remains cool to the touch even when exposed to intense sunshine. The eggplant's dark purple skin does not absorb near-IR radiation but transmits it to the white interior flesh, where it is reflected and transmitted out through the skin.
Home and Commercial Paint Industry Leadership
PPG Research Fellow Kurt Olson has said, "People are surprised about just how much science goes into paint...we have thousands of people figuring out how to make the paint look better and last longer."
PPG applies the same expertise that goes into innovating coatings for the aerospace and automotive industries to paints used by professional painters and homeowners. PPG has manufactured paint for residential and commercial building applications for more than 100 years, delivering the latest technologies and advancements through a strong brand portfolio, including PPG Paints, Olympic Paints & Stains, Glidden Paint, and PPG Timeless stain, which the company launched early this year. Beyond paints and stains, PPG also manufactures and sells caulks, repair products, adhesives and sealants for homeowners and professionals.
Today, PPG's employees hold true to the spirit of innovation and reinvention by offering differentiated products, technologies, services and other solutions to its customers in a wide range of markets globally.
I wonder what will be written about them in 2117?