PPG Industries Inc. was founded in 1883 in Pittsburgh, USA; it is a global supplier of paints, coatings, chemicals, optical products, specialty materials, glass and fiber glass. The company employs more than 34,000 people and has 125 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates in more than 20 countries. Sales in 2006 were $11 billion. PPG has been listed on Fortune 500 for 52 years and is the world’s leading manufacturer of transportation coatings including automotive coatings, aerospace coatings; as well as the world’s leading manufacturer of architectural, industrial and packaging coatings. Each year, PPG invests millions of dollars in developing products, processes, and the newest technology to meet the market requirements. PPG is one of the few publicly traded companies to pay its shareholders dividends continually since 1899, and has paid increased shares to shareholders for 37 consecutive years. PPG boasts of not only first class products but also unique cooperate culture which prides its employees. According to Fortune, PPG has been listed as “Global Most Admired”, chemical industries in recent years.
PPG is also one of the few global coatings companies that first invested in China in the 1980s. In China, PPG produces and sells eleven major products, including Aerospace Materials, Automotive OEM Coatings, Industrial Coatings, Packaging Coatings, Fiber Glass, Glass, Architectural Coatings, Automotive Refinish, Light Industrial Coatings, Protective & Marine Coatings and Optical Products. PPG has nine manufacturing plants combined in Tianjin, Suzhou, Kunshan, Zhangjiagang, Zibo, Guangzhou and trading companies, offices, labs and training centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. So far in China PPG has invested more than USD300 million and has more than 3,000 employees; in the Asia-Pacific region, the number of employees over 9000.
In China, the main customers of PPG Automotive coatings include GM, GE, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen, Chery, and Hainan Mazda. Nearly all auto manufacturers use PPG automotive coatings and technology. PPG Automotive Refinish ranks No. 1 in China auto refinish and passenger car markets. In 2005, 70% of China’s more than 200,000 police wagons were refinished by PPG professional auto paints. As for packaging coatings, PPG provides coatings to such well-known international and domestic companies including Coca Cola, Pepsi, Lulu and Wangwang. PPG provides aerospace coatings to customers including Boeing, Air China, Southern Air and China Eastern. Air China is using PPG coatings for the three 2008 Olympics aircraft and China Eastern plans to use PPG coatings for its 2010 World Expo aircraft.
In addition, PPG provides industrial coatings to various companies including Haier, Nokia, Motorola, Whirlpool and Dell. PPG architectural coatings are widely used in many well-known structures including those in Tian Anmen Square and the flag post, Beijing Oriental Plaza, Beijing International Exhibition Center, Beijing International Airport, the Shanghai Jinmao Building, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Tianjin Jinhuang Building and Taida Building.
PPG’s fiber glass business entered China’s marketplace in the 1980s and established manufacturing sites in Taiwan Jiayi, Jiangsu Kunshan and Shandong Zibo. In March 2006, the world’s largest fiber glass furnace, costing $120 million, was put to production in Kunshan, boasting more than 70 thousands tons of output. In 2006, PPG invested jointly with Sinoma in Zibo to launch a fiber glass plant that will have more than 200,000 tons of annual output. A research-and-development (R&D) center in Suzhou is being planned to support PPG customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
PPG’s fiber glass business has nine world-wide manufacturing sites, five R&D centers and a network of sales and technical support professionals. It manufactures continuous-strand fiber glass products which include chopped strand, direct draw, yarn, assembled roving and rolled goods. These products are used in a wide range of applications in the transportation, energy, construction and electronic markets and in many other industries.
In R&D, PPG invests millions of dollars each year to develop, improve products, process and technologies to adapt to the new markets. Thirty percent of the company’s sales are from products that are less than four years old. Since 1996, PPG has received 6 R&D 100 Award presented by R&D Magazine for the most significant technology-related new products and processes.
Some significant achievements in R&D include:
• Pioneered cationic electrodeposition automotive primers that have virtually eliminated rust
• Developed barrier coatings to improve product shelf life and retain carbonation in beverages bottled in plastics
• Introduced plastic photochromic eyewear lenses that automatically darken in sunlight
• Formulated key pharmaceutical intermediates used for the critical treatment of life-threatening diseases
• Introduced revolutionary insulated glass technology for residential doors and windows
• Commercialized the world’s first powder clear-coat finish for cars
• Developed resin-compatible fiber glass yarn for the electronics industry