Tim Pennington, Editor of Products Finishing magazine, has a candid conversation with Jack Humble.
If ever a man fit his name, it would be Jack Humble. The president of Reliant Aluminum Products since 2008, he is a quiet, respectful Southern gentleman who plays in several bands. Humble’s High Point, North Carolina company is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Clariant products for aluminum finishing.
PF: Reliant continually introduces new products and innovative process improvements. As president, what is the secret to driving new innovation in your company?
JH: In conjunction with Clariant, we’re constantly looking for new ideas to enhance the market appeal of anodized aluminum. We are very fortunate to have highly talented and experienced technical and sales staffs who share a common-sense approach to addressing the needs of anodizers. We also realize the importance of active involvement in trade organizations to stay abreast of the latest developments affecting the science and business of anodized aluminum.
PF: You’ve mentioned that the future possibilities of new finishes for the construction industry may include anti-soiling technology to help purify the air, as well as resistance to acids, alkalis and oxidative environments. How close is the industry to this technology?
JH: Alcoa Architectural Products is currently developing “green” products that could break down pollutants like smog and convert them to simple compounds that wash away in the rain. We’re closely monitoring this technology to align our product selection with these new processes. While not primarily for the construction industry, there are new technologies that are designed to increase resistance to acids, alkalis, and oxidation. We’ve identified a selection of dyes that can withstand fading and discoloration from the new Sterrad system which uses hydrogen peroxide gas plasma technology to sterilize medical devices. Most recently, we’ve introduced an entirely new line of Clariant metal-free dyes that are NSF certified for food-zone applications.
PF: Reliant has a program to educate OEMs about the advantages of anodized aluminum compared with other coating applications. What feedback do you get from those OEMs?
JH: We’ve been well received by manufacturers. They understand that using anodized aluminum in their products lends an upscale appearance compared to plastics and other lightweight materials. For green manufacturers, anodized aluminum is especially appealing because its life cycle is relatively benign to the environment, and it’s much easier to recycle compared to other metal finishing processes.