Published: March 15, 2023
Published: March 15, 2023

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Ed Pagac: Using Data for Sustainable Manufacturing Processes

PPG OPTIMA SOLUTIONS™ is still new on the market, but within 2 years of its launch, it has already generated strong customer interest. The main reasons for the success is its focus on sustainability, as well as the expertise of the team which develops it, led by Ed Pagac, Optima Solutions Global Business Development Director for the Automotive Coatings business. Optima Solutions uses digital data to make manufacturing processes in the automotive industry more efficient, accurate and sustainably advantaged.

Optima Solutions: Sustainability As A Focus

The primary goal of Optima Solutions organization is to help our customers become more efficient when it comes to productivity, quality and sustainability of their manufacturing processes. The digital platform helps them to achieve this.

The Optima Solutions team and offering started back in 2020. A key value proposition was the decades-long PPG leadership in all coating layers applied in vehicle assembly and parts manufacturing operations. According to Ed, its success was mostly because of the topic of sustainability top of mind in the market, with many customers seeking more sustainable solutions.

"Our customers are now willing to invest money to reduce water and energy consumption, as well as greenhouse gases, during their production process."

Optima Solutions is regularly requested by customers that may have a manufacturing process, but don't have the expertise or the manpower to make it work in a financially sustainable way.

Efficient Work With Data

Optima Solutions is all about improving the quality, productivity, and sustainability of the manufacturing processes for PPG customers. To achieve this, the Optima Solutions team works with data and draws information from it that can help make manufacturing much more efficient.

Ed illustrates this on the Dirt and Defect Reduction software, which tracks even the smallest defects in the process of car painting. That way, manufacturers will use less resources, water and energy for the production process.

PPG has the unique combination of both process and chemistry knowledge of the materials, which most other companies don't have. I feel like there are big opportunities for us to combine those two aspects into programs that can significantly reduce water consumption.

The interest in manual work in the automotive manufacturing industry has been declining lately, so automating processes is more of a necessity than an option. Optima Solutions tools such as the Dirt and Defect Reduction software can reduce the necessity of people performing lengthy testing to ensure basecoats and clearcoats have perfect appearance.

"The dirt and defect tracker has been tested within our Aerospace unit. In the aerospace industry, the windshields must be very near perfection to adhere to regulatory and safety requirements. The defect tracker proved to be effective while mapping out where defects are coming in."


"Take Risks And Go Beyond Yourself"

Ed has always been keen to see the impact of the developments he and his team made in the marketplace. This is what initially piqued his interest in the automotive industry and explore the global market.

Before joining PPG in 1997, Ed had contacts with the company through the university that he attended. His first role was within the research and development groups.

Currently, Ed oversees the entire services team in the Americas. "My main role is to make sure that all the 800 employees on the Optima Solutions team across the Americas region are successful at continuing to implement our digital tools."

Ed's role demands an increased responsibility and time investment to bring new solutions to market. Therefore, Ed had to learn to rely on his team.

I trust my team  to make their decisions even without my input. And I let them know that.

According to Ed, having a sense of purpose and a clear vision helps people achieve their goals. He likes to paint the vision for them, showing that they're "doing something bigger than their individual task today."


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