Dr. Frank J. Maile (Director Business Unit Coatings & Plastics)
“The European Coatings Show is an absolute industry highlight”
Innovation is the key to success. Dr. Frank J. Maile simplifies the SCHLENK strategy to this lowest common denominator in order to position the company with good prospects for the future as well. Our company also used this slogan for its appearance at the European Coatings Show (ECS) from April 4 - 6 in Nuremberg. In an interview with Dr. Frank J. Maile, Director of the Business Unit Coatings & Plastics, we find out how things went.
To see and be seen. Exhibitors from every continent meet for the international European Coatings Show at the Nuremberg trade show grounds. Was this a home game for SCHLENK?
Dr. Maile: The ECS is an absolute industry highlight and, moreover, it takes place right at our doorstep. It is the leading international trade show with over 1100 exhibitors, so it is a hot spot for decision-makers and for technologies in the paint and coatings industry. For this reason, it is also very important for our company to use our home field advantage with our innovations.
We attracted attention — in the positive sense — with a trade show design concept in which, for the third time, we presented a classic automobile as a highlight at our trade show stand: this year it was coated with the SCHLENK pigment Zenexo® GoldenShine.
Dr. Maile: Our goal was to draw interest with an attractive trade show stand and our unique selling proposition, the classic car concept. Not only industrial and automotive coatings manufacturers can be found at the trade show, but also their customers, such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Toyota. They come to us for information about color trends or to find inspiration in our coated exhibition pieces at the trade show stand. The focus of our marketing activities here was Zenexo® GoldenShine, a new development.
What kinds of responses did you receive?
Dr. Maile: Our classic car concept was well-received by visitors. By now it is well established at the ECS. Visitors feel that our automobile exhibits speak to them emotionally. They take photos, run their fingertips over the unique coating, and feel like they’ve been taken back to an earlier time. And offers to purchase are not unusual. We are really very proud to be the only company with this trade show concept — it is a unique selling point for Schlenk.
And that’s for the third time in a row...
Following the “Goddess” Citroën DS and the racy Lotus Esprit, our choice this year was a beautiful 1966 Corvette C2 Sting Ray. According to our classic car concept, the appearance of our trade show stand is determined by the home country of the exhibition piece: seating areas like in an American diner on Route 66 along with a juke box and a bar.
So the Corvette with the elaborate coating turned out to be the ideal advertising vehicle for the innovative effect pigment Zenexo® GoldenShine?
Dr. Maile: Definitely. With the coating on the body we clearly demonstrate the benefits customers have by using our pigment in their coating formulations. With the sports car, we focus on the so-called “styling” capability of Zenexo® GoldenShine: elegant color progressions and extraordinary light-dark flop combined with the unique golden shimmer on the body’s shoulders under directed lighting. The color tone was a successful eye-catcher. Our customers’ stylists can hardly wait to use the pigment samples to try out the styling capability of the new effect pigment Zenexo® GoldenShine for themselves to create new color tones.
What else makes Zenexo® so special?
Dr. Maile: Zenexo® GoldenShine 21 YY UTP — for ultra-thin pigment — is a completely new generation of colored aluminium effect pigments. This technology, patented by SCHLENK Metallic Pigments, is based on ultra-thin aluminium flakes which result in unique advantages: safe application, safe transportation, easy to store. But even more importantly, Zenexo® has extraordinary coloristic properties: the coverage that is so important to customers is superb, the color flop is exceptionally dynamic, and the color saturation is excellent. For these reasons, for our customers Zenexo® represents a completely new dimension in achieving attractive color tones.
Where else was SCHLENK able to score some points at the ECS?
Dr. Maile: With MultiFlect® Wave150, the extension of the successful series of polychromatic effect pigments for achieving rainbow-like effects in coatings and plastics applications. What is special here is that the extraordinary brilliance and sparkle — the glitter, actually — of Wave150 is captivating, but it has a classic look, not gaudy like many of the so-called glitter flakes made by other manufacturers. In addition, the Alustar® Ultra-Treated Metallics (UTM) series, which is based on the revised version of existing SCHLENK milling technology. As a manufacturer of aluminium and gold-bronze, we are building on our tradition, and thanks to our expertise we are able to elevate our pigments to a higher level.
So did we present a nice spectrum of innovations?
Dr. Maile: The portfolio extends from the Zenexo® innovation to the new AluStar® generation, the new Multiflect® version and new AluMotion® and Decomet® types and on to Alumer®, the polymer-coated aluminium pigments. Based on attractive demonstration materials, we also presented many application areas, from powder coil coating to auto paints. And the impressive innovations presented by Dr. Matthias R.F. Kuntz of our partner Business Unit Inks & Graphic Arts aren’t even listed here!
In conclusion: customer interest was huge and the trade show was more than worthwhile for us.