This issue I am featuring several blogs from AIMCAL (The Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators). In August 2005, AIMCAL launched four blogs "to help members of the converting community locate the information they need about new technology and issues facing their organizations and the industry."
According to AIMCAL's communication manager, Caleb Howe, "the blogs have been very helpful in creating a database of useful technical information for our members." These blogs grew out of the "Ask AIMCAL" service on the web site where people would submit questions to a technical panel. "Whereas before, someone who asked a technical question would receive an emailed response, now the answers are provided on the blog for the entire world to see."
It has been an education process for the members, because many people did not know what a blog was. The answer to a question would be posted on the blog, but some people would still be waiting for an email response. Slowly everyone is getting used to the blogs and AIMCAL is starting to promote them more now. At its Fall Technical Conference there is even a Blogmaster breakfast where members can meet the blog authors.
Each of the four blogs are run by a highly qualified expert in their field; these are the same experts who would field questions in the Ask AIMCAL service. Each expert has a Ph.D. and decades of experience in their field of expertise. On the blogs they are supported by a number of guest authors who make occasional contributions.
The Web Handling and Converting Blog (www.webhandlingblog.com)
This blog is by David Roisum, an authority in the area of web handling and converting. He is the principal of Finishing Technologies Inc., consulting to manufacturers and converters of paper, film, nonwovens and other materials. He covers such topics as splicing, tension control, slitting, rollers, wrinkling, and many other web handling issues.
Roisum is prolific; he has published more than 100 articles and conference papers as well as several books on web handling. He writes a couple of articles every week on the blog. "The blog makes me more eager to do detailed answers to the questions I receive," says Roisum. "This is because the whole world can access the information, and it is archived forever and can be accessed from the search engines."
The Vacuum Web Coating Blog (www.vacuumcoatingblog.com)
This blog deals with specific vacuum web coating issues, a process that is often used in the coating of metalized material. The author is Charles Bishop, a scientist and consultant to the vacuum coating industry. This blog deals directly with questions from people who are having specific problems with some aspect of the vacuum coating process. Recent posts dealt with delamination issues, problems with plasma treatment, and metal adhesion issues.
The Web Coating and Laminating Blog (www.webcoatingblog.com)
Ed Cohen, the author of this blog, is a technical consultant in all aspects of the web coating process. He has more than 35 years experience in coating research and manufacturing technology with the DuPont company, and currently he is president of the International Society of Coating Science and Technology. The blog deals with all kinds of coating issues such as coating application, coating solutions handling, drying, coating measurement, and defects.
The Specialty Web Coating Blog (www.specialtywebcoatingblog.com)
John Fenn Jr. is a thin film coating specialist who has founded several companies, the most recent being his own technical consulting firm Fennagain. Topics discussed here include new technical advances in specialty web coating, issues facing this segment of the industry, recent news and new products, recommendations of relevant books and articles, and meeting announcements.
There is obviously some crossover with each of these blogs, and the authors regularly contribute to each others' blogs. The frequency of posts varies with each blog, and Roisum of the Web Handling blog is the most prolific of the four. If you have technical questions regarding any kind of web handling or coating issue, you would be well served to read these blogs.