Innovations
Published: February 14, 2024
Innovations
Published: February 14, 2024

Adam Riley: Producing Mini Sponges That Prolong Shelf Life

Adam Riley is our global technical service manager, specializing in silica products. Whether you're spicing up your lunch or getting something printed out, silica is there to absorb all the moisture! Adam holds a unique and responsible role, considering that the silica business is a small group of professionals globally. He helped develop various silica products, and alongside his team, they distribute silica worldwide while providing training to sellers and colleagues on the correct usage. Let's join Adam as he introduces us to the world of the tiniest sponges!

From Fancy Cars to Omnipresent Silica

Adam's PPG journey extends 33 years into the past when he started working as a chemist in the Automotive OEM business in the UK. His responsibilities and challenges at work have led him to travel and live across the entire world, before eventually calling Denmark his home. However, we must avoid using the phrase "settling down," as that certainly doesn't describe Adam's lifestyle.

After spending his initial years at PPG on the lab bench, engaging in customer support, testing, and R&D work, Adam seized the opportunity to visit car factories, expanding his horizons across different parts of the world. Two decades into the automotive industry, Adam noticed a vacancy in the silica business and felt that it was the right direction to take in his career.

Adam's current role within our Specialty Coatings and Materials business as global technical service manager for the carrier and coatings applications, is as diverse as the silica business itself. He not only provides technical service for coatings customers but also extends his expertise to the food industry.

Not two days are the same. One day, I could be in a food factory watching them grind paprika; the next day, I could be in a printing ink manufacturer, helping them balance the viscosity of their inks.

Adam and his team contribute to distributing silica worldwide, offering technical training on how to sell and use their products. They actively collaborate on silica product development, internal sales, and coordinate lab work.

Silica – The Heaviest Drinker

Silica is a material we encounter daily without even being aware of it.

"It is like a bunch of miniature sponges. It's capable of absorbing a lot of liquid, which extends the shelf life of many products across various industries."

Silica finds a wide range of use in the food industry, car tires, cosmetics, animal nutrition, agricultural chemicals, and coatings to achieve special surface effects.

Of course, not all silicas can be used in food. To attain a food safety grade, additional steps are necessary during the manufacturing of silica products, exemplified by the PPG FLO-GARD™ product line, where Adam was involved in the development process.

Over the last five or six years, we have obtained global food safety standards certification for these products, confirming their safety for consumption. Nowadays, you can find them in your marinades, coffee creamers, powdered drinks, and even spices. Silica ensures that your paprika doesn't turn into a sticky, moist lump after a few weeks on the shelf.

Adam dedicates a portion of his work time to researching emerging trends in the silica industry, ensuring that our company remains ahead of the competition and that our products comply with the local laws and restrictions of different countries.

"There are trade associations in the Americas and Europe dedicated to testing the safety of silica. I am involved in the European one, so when the European Union considers rule changes, we can present data to prove that our silica is safe."

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A Tight Knit Team

Adam's prior career has enabled him to cultivate a vast network of people, which is fortunate because the silica business comprises a small group of specialists. This is also the reason why each of them bears so much responsibility. Adam shares a story about once onboarding a colleague he only met virtually:

"In January of 2021, during the pandemic, we hired a new European sales professional based in Munich. So, I spent most of 2021 acquainting him with the industries, customers, and technologies. He didn't personally meet anyone for nine months. It was a challenging way to onboard and mentor someone without ever meeting them in person."

Witnessing his colleagues, both current and former, and knowing that he played a crucial role in helping them reach their current positions gives Adam a true sense of accomplishment and makes him #PPGProud.

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