Q: First things first, Dr. Pagliuca, would you tell us about the I.E.I.’s mission?
A: Our mission is to promote the culture of vitreous enamel and disseminate awareness of the material at world level, with the aid of all our national associations. The work they do is very important, as they constitute a reliable benchmark for everyone operating in the industry. Most of them publish magazines, hold courses and seminars, organise technical conferences and maintain contacts with universities and research centres. These are all ways of developing culture, spreading the word about our material and at the same time updating the technical staff in enamelling works, providing them with objective information that is not company-specific. That being said, however, it would be desirable if the associations were to work together with the international association more organically.
Q: More specifically, towards what main objectives?
A: To facilitate the exchange – between the various national associations and the IEI and, at the same time, between the various actors and potential users of vitreous enamel – of scientific and technical information about enamel, enamelling processes, types of application and technology.
Silvano Pagliuca, was born in 1947 and is married with two children. In 1971, he took a degree in chemistry and in 1976 a Masters in Business Administration from the Bocconi Business University in Milan. After gathering working experience at Snam Progetti and Goodyear, he joined Ferro in 1980 as manager of the Vitreous Enamel and Engineering Division.
Pagliuca has authored numerous publications.
President of CISP from 1996 to 2006 and President of the IEI from 2000 to 2003, he has been serving since June 2004 as Secretary-General of the International Enamellers’ Institute, the world association of national associations operating in the vitreous enamel industry, established in London in 1957.
Since 2000, Pagliuca has been an active member on behalf of the IEI of the EG-CPDW group at the European Com mission’s DG Enterprise, whose task is to regulate and standardise water usage in accordance with the Drinking Water Directive, and has also served as a Technical Expert in the following subgroup technical committees:
:: SG3 – NMIM /CPDW – Non Metallic Inorganic Materials/ Construction Product Drinking Water (Glassy Materials – Vitreous Enamels).
:: SG4 – AMLP/CPDW – Assembled Multi-Layered Products / Construction Pro duct Drinking Water (Enamelled Water Heaters, Reservoirs, Valves etc.).
Q: Which activities do you believe to be more effective, so more deserving of promotion?
A: Facilitating investments targeted at designing and developing new applications of enamelled products, alerting members of our associations to areas of particular interest for V.E., with all the opportunities and investment funding available at regional, national and international levels. Also, encouraging the exchange of commercial information about vitreous enamel between the various actors on the enamel stage, in terms of global and national markets, new applications, new operator etc.
The boom experienced by enamel in past decades was closely related to the contemporary boom in whitegoods, especially cookers: as that sector is now undergoing major adjustment, we are well advised to look for new areas to work in, above all in the construction industry, in street furnishings and in industrial applications, as these all offer plenty of potential to a product with the properties of enamel. Our task is to ensure that these markets get to know our product well enough to use it; our method is to commit everyone and use technical and scientific information and communication tools.
How do you think this knowledge transfer can be helped along?
A: In particular by facilitating technical meetings and exchange visits between enamellers, with the obligation of reciprocity. These generate a useful face-to-face that leads to sharing knowledge and favouring new developments that benefit not only individual entrepreneurs, but the industry as a whole.
Q: Anything else?
If we want to keep growing, we need to focus on promoting our association’s life in as many countries as possible, draw up a managerial model for new regional associations and identify the right people to guide them and help them grow quickly.
Q: How can this development be stimulated?
A: By promoting the International Enamellers’ Congress, once every three years, and teaming up with our national associations to identify areas of particular activity in enamelling and of interest to enamellers, then supporting the local association chosen in the organisational and scientific effort necessary to hold the Congress.
Q: And in purely commercial terms?
A: By taking steps such as promoting comparative cost/benefit analyses between enamelled or enamellable products and alternative products, so as to keep the pressure up to showcase our competitive advantages.
Q: And in more purely legislative terms?
A: By representing vitreous enamel and its entrepreneurs vis-à-vis those responsible for emanating laws and standards, taking part in the main standardisation working groups and co-operating in developing laws and standards. Each national association already partners with the local authority responsible for developing standards applicable to enamel, taking part in the relative committee which, in the case of enamel, is CEN/TC 262 (Metallic and other inorganic coatings) at European level and ISO TC 107 at international level.
But there are also some more general areas, such as that of drinking water, governed by the Construction Products Drinking Water Directive, where we need to be proactive: I.E.I. has called for vitreous enamel to be included among the materials suitable for use in contact with drinking water, in particular in internal boiler linings.
I.E.I.’s strategy and the work it has done so far in this field are summarised in an article I wrote in for the “I.E.I. News” feature in Smalto Porcellanato – Tecnologia e Mercati, which can also be read on the association’s new website.
Q: We live in a global age, so…
A: For more general questions, such as the environment, recycling, safety, hygiene and suitability for contact with drinking water and food, I would hope that we could negotiate with responsible authorities at world level.
Q: What communication tools do you think are most effective?
A: Communications are crucial, both between our member associations all over the world and towards the outside world. We have just given our website an overhaul, designing it to be a complete, effective tool for disseminating information about everything concerned with the vitreous enamel industry and the life of the world association I.E.I.
In fact, the site has been enriched and redesigned. It now features all the updated information about enamel associations, news and above all studies, research, technical articles, interviews about applications and the technical standards: in short, everything about the development of vitreous enamel, from the smallest news item or association to the International Congress.
If you register on the new I.E.I. site, you receive an alert every time that it is updated.
Since last year, the C.I.S.P. magazine Smalto Porcellanato has started carrying a regular new feature, “I.E.I. News”, in Italian, English and Spanish, with space for plenty of information and for topics of general interest.
This interview with Silvano Pagliuca will be followed by others with the Presidents of the various national associations belonging to the I.E.I., so as to facilitate the exchange of information, discussion about common problems and above all the airing of new ideas.