Under the motto “We QUALICOAT and QUALIDECO the World”, the quality labels celebrated 30 years of coating and 20 years of decorating at their best. For this aluminium finishing event of the year, hosted at the prestigious Millennium Hotel London Mayfair on 17 and 18 May 2016, many well-known names and companies from all around the globe gathered together to celebrate and to discuss the future of the vast surface finishing industry.

The celebration opened on 17 May with a Gala Dinner, a moment to relax and enjoy the gourmet meals and the entertaining speeches by QUALICOAT President Mohammed Panam and Managing Director Josef Schoppig. They extended warm appreciation to the members and the sponsors of this event, which also followed tradition with a toast to Her Majesty the Queen, along with wishes of prosperity to the QUALICOAT and QUALIDECO labels. A highlight of the ceremony was a parade of flags of the nearly 50 countries where QUALICOAT is represented worldwide.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, QUALICOAT and QUALIDECO lead an international organisation that has been shaping the global market for the past 30 years. Together with the General Licensees and various certified laboratories, the quality label associations establish and monitor standardised specifications for the coating process, the rules implemented for the chemical products and all the technical tests, regularly adapting them to the market needs and state of the art of research. 

With the growing need to meet a global and uniform quality standard and to reach out to internationally minded customers, companies around the world have come to realise how essential it is to have their licences certified with the QUALICOAT and/or QUALIDECO labels. This has been the main reason why ever more companies have been requesting to be tested in order to obtain a quality label, encompassing nearly 400 licensed coating plants across the world, 600 approved decorations and over 500 powder and chemical approvals, as QUALICOAT President Mohammed Panam pointed out so well in his opening presentation on the value of QUALICOAT on 18 May.

The Congress itself gave all the participants an opportunity to enhance their knowledge, not only of coating and decoration, but also of many aspects of this industry. The stimulating topics started with the latest developments in sustainable and responsible raw aluminium production, presented by Chris Bayliss, Deputy Secretary General of the International Aluminium Institute, and Justin Furness, Technical Director of the Council for Aluminium in Buildings. Then Xuezhu Pan (President of the Chinese Association QUALISINO) and Ram Ramnath (Executive Committee Chairman of the Quali Middle East Association) gave fascinating insights into the exotic wonders and differences of the Chinese and Middle Eastern markets.

There was also time to learn through the eyes of Russel Deane, Global Specification Manager of Akzo Nobel Powder Coatings, how important it is to get architects to specify QUALICOAT and QUALIDECO, especially in a market that has been growing all over the world. As he stressed, “Any contact with any of these players is a chance to educate, and to improve the specification”.

Adrian Toon, Immediate Past President of FAECF (Federation of the European Window and Curtain Wall Manufacturer Associations, with various accredited laboratories), guided the audience through the importance of aluminium for the industry and the future of metal facades. Franck Derouen, Global Segment Director of Axalta Powder Coatings, and Cristobal Bernal, Chief Technical Officer of Bimetica, followed on by exploring the impact of BIM (Building Information Modelling) digital management on aluminium finishing. According to both, this process is “the most efficient manner of developing a construction project used today on an international scale”.

Juan Bernabé, Convenor of QUALIDECO, went on to show that aluminium retains its strength and durability when decorated with finishes such as wood effect, with the quality assured by QUALIDECO.  A vital factor for the decorative appearance and useful life of products with coated and finished surfaces for daily use in architectural applications is to maintain “value through sustainable cleaning methods”, as explained by Philipp Ambruch of Rudolf Ambruch Fassadenpflege GmbH.

The event closed with a special presentation by Professor Michael Stacey of Michael Stacey Architects on the longevity and sustainability of aluminum in architecture, illustrated during a Bateaux London cruise along the River Thames to view and admire the magnificent buildings with aluminum facades.

Besides gathering everyone together to celebrate the rise and importance of these quality labels, the Congress in London was a forum for knowledge sharing and social networking on an international level. And it really brought home to everyone the benefits of QUALICOAT and QUALIDECO and the value of holding these two labels in an international market where they are increasingly becoming a prerequisite to operate in a global supply chain.