Arius Zúñiga
National Association of Manufacturers of Paints and Inks - Anafapyt
Expert Contributor

Where Is the Industry Headed? Reflections on LACS 2021

By Arius Zúñiga Lara | Tue, 08/31/2021 - 14:48

Without a doubt, the first virtual edition of the Latin American Coatings Show (LACS) left us many lessons. Throughout two days of activities, more than 25 experts shared their knowledge with almost 4,000 attendees who connected from various countries such as the United States, Canada, China, Australia, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Chile, Peru, Argentina and other nations in Latin America, including Mexico. We learned that it is possible to develop a large event for the paint, ink and coatings industry, without the need to do it in person as has been done since 1997. We also learned that it is feasible to continue doing business within this scheme; the 999 visits to the 30 virtual stands testified to this.

Trial and error are the best way for us to challenge our capabilities and take on new challenges. For the National Association of Manufacturers of Paints and Inks (Anafapyt), this year's edition of LACS was an important challenge that, fortunately, we were able to overcome. With faith, we hope that the pandemic will come under control and that we will once again have the pleasure of meeting at the in-person edition of LACS from July 26 to 28, 2022. At that next event, the activities will take place over three days at the Citibanamex Center, one of the largest and most important exhibition forums in Mexico.

While looking forward to that, it is worth reflecting on all the good things we experienced during this year’s event. On the first day of activities, we had the participation of prestigious speakers from Clariant, Evonik, HERO, Leschaco Mexicana, Eastman, Lubrizol and Dow Chemical Company, among many others.

During the second and last days, we were able to see first-hand the most important innovations being developed by companies such as Wacker, Lanxess, OCSIAL, PPG, Biria Carbon Inc. USA, Venator, Envirospheres, Allnex, Wanhua Chemicals and BASF, to name a few, although all contributions were of great value to the audience.

Thanks to this we were able to learn about the development of antibacterial and antiviral paints, which help reduce the risk of contagion of COVID-19, influenza A-H1N1 and other bacteria, the new challenges around volatile organic compounds (VOC) and the establishment of reduced maximum permissible limits of content, in addition to the advances in coatings, which are quick to install, have zero volatile components, have protection against corrosion and abrasion, as well as chemical and microbial resistance, in addition to a coverage that is exceptional against cracking.

We also had the opportunity to learn more about the constant changes in existing legislation regarding VOCs, solvents and products free of formaldehyde, heavy metals and halogens, as well as coalescing agents, which prevent cracking of the film during drying and reduce the temperature minimum film build. All this, without forgetting sustainability, a theme that was echoed throughout the event and that was even addressed in a panel discussion with experts such as Luis Manuel Guerra, a chemist from UNAM specializing in hazardous waste in Berlin; Ana Paula Fernández del Castillo, Managing Partner of ISD; Alfonso Guati Rojo, Head of the General Directorate of Standards of the Ministry of Economy; and Mónica Alcalá, Vice President of Science, Technology and Sustainability of Anafapyt, who agreed on the importance of promoting actions that help mitigate climate change and the degradation of ecosystems, changes that must be promoted by all organizations and governments.

We also had the opportunity to listen to proposals and solutions that promote the reactivation of the economy and, therefore, of industries, through the voice of experts such as Daniel Vargas, Director of Economic Census and Surveys at INEGI; Luis Godoy, Director of Data México at the Ministry of Economy; Enoch Castellanos, National President of Canacintra; and Enrique Lerch, Vice President of Communication and Institutional Linkage of Anafapyt. In this discussion, we heard about the readjustment of value chains resulting from the closures due to the pandemic, but that allowed for a recovery in the manufacturing industry, in which the automotive sector stands out.

However, they stressed that the reactivation necessarily requires government support, negotiations to promote SMEs, fiscal stimuli and access to soft loans. While considering that this situation will continue, it is also necessary to strengthen health measures.

For all this and more, all of us who are part of Anafapyt are very satisfied with the results of this virtual experiment of an event that seeks to continue positioning itself as a benchmark in the paint, ink and coating industry and placing Mexico as a spearhead in the sector.

Photo by:   Arius Zuñiga