TechConnect speaks with Mike Cameron, Program Manager-External Technology, Sherwin-Williams Company
What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution, and sale of coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers. Sherwin-Williams has interest in technologies, processes and potential partners that can help us meet the innovation and business needs of our company. Our interests are divided into 5 broad subject areas:
• Visual Appearance: Unique appearances, Specialized finishes, Modeling and Visualization tools
• Painting Process: Simplified process, Improved transfer efficiency, including new tools and surface preparation
• Maintenance & Durability: Resist damage (microbial, UV, corrosion), enhanced Cleanability and Surface Toughness
• Custom Solutions: Smart materials, Multi-functional coatings, novel Packaging
• Sustainability: Biobased materials (monomers, polymers, additives), coatings and materials that require Reduced Energy to produce or use
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?While technology adoption is simplest when a technology has already been fully developed for use in coatings and related materials, we understand that this is rarely the case. We also recognize that finding cutting edge technologies means sometimes finding them early in their development cycle. In an effort to more efficiently screen emerging technologies, we often use our External Technology Proof-of-Concept Lab to facilitate technology evaluations. Sherwin-Williams works with technologies ranging from concept to commercialized coatings products.
Please describe your company’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.At Sherwin-Williams, we employ an Open Innovation approach which is integrated into our stage/gate development model. This allows for both developed and undeveloped technologies to be evaluated for possible adoption into our coatings portfolio. We actively seek technologies/solutions from a variety of external parties such as coatings suppliers, non-coatings business units of coatings suppliers, traditional sources of technology like universities, and less traditional sources such as inventors, small companies and spinouts, and parallel industries such as textiles and inks.
Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector? Who are you looking to meet with?TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit provide access to an impressive breadth of technologies that we would not typically find in the coatings technology space. Connections can be made with potential partners from government labs, academics, start-ups, small businesses and even other large companies.
For those that participated at the TechConnect-National Innovation Summit in 2014:We were able to meet with many new technology organizations and have been able to act on a number of leads originating from the 2014 conference.
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