PPG Industries: Bringing innovation to the surface
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Science and Technology

Innovation, by definition, is focused on the future. 

When Chuck Kahle, vice president of coatings research and development and chief technology officer, talks about his vision for science and technology innovation at PPG, he likes to point out a little history, too.

"The economic conditions around the globe certainly add to the challenges we face in innovation. But some very big breakthroughs have come during extremely difficult times,” said Kahle. 

It was during the heart of the United States’ “Great
Chuck Kahle (right) listens as PPG researcher Larry Anderson discusses PPG’s protective coatings for aerospace transparencies (windows)
Depression” in 1934 when PPG introduced Solex heat absorbing glass (currently sold under the name SOLEXIA®), a product that continues to be a major contributor to the company’s success. It was in 1945, with the world ravaged by years of global conflict, that PPG patented CR-39 optical monomer. And, more recently, in 2002, with the U.S. economy reeling in the aftermath of 9/11, PPG introduced composite fiber glass for creating lighter and stronger wind turbines.

PPG has been a “relentless innovator” in good times and in bad, Kahle said.

Great potential

Innovation has helped PPG endure economic downturns and position itself for future growth.  With more than two dozen acquisitions completed in the last decade, PPG now has greater capabilities in science and technology, and more markets in which we can apply our technology. 

"Today," Kahle said, "PPG is a very technologically rich company, and we must enable our technical community to connect with each other so they use the knowledge and continue to come up with the innovations that will drive PPG’s business success.”  

If product innovation is the act of using unique combinations of knowledge to produce relevant and valued new products, Kahle muses, then PPG has “an amazing number of technologies to draw from to meet our customers’ needs."   

  • Chemist Sherry Zhang is testing compounds at PPG’s Tianjin, China, coatings plant.
    Coatings technology used on the launching pad for NASA’s space shuttle can withstand temperatures of 5,000 degrees (Fahrenheit);
  • Transparent armor for military aircraft and vehicles; 
  • Teslin synthetic sheets used in making tamper-proof passports and myriad other secure-ID applications; 
  • SOLARPHIRE® HVM (high-value mirror) glass with ultra-high reflective qualities for the growing thermal solar energy market;
  • HYBON® 2026 fiber glass is addressing the needs of manufacturers of blades for wind turbines;
  • Breakthrough waterborne coatings that reduces production of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and improve air quality;
  • Paints with low or no VOCs; 
  • Coatings that save energy by curing at room temperature;
  • Coatings for underwater use in marine environments; 
  • ZIRCOBOND® metal pretreatment is quickly displacing
  • traditional zinc phosphate.
Only by being relentless about innovation on a global scale will PPG be able to sustain another 130 years of business success. 

Your Career in Science and Technology at PPG

From the outset of your career as a PPG research professional, you will be given responsibility for carrying out significant projects. No matter what area of research you elect, your ideas and suggestions for new projects and current ones will be recognized and rewarded.

As part of the PPG team, you will be challenged to realize your full potential. Click here to view the open positions in science and technology.