Speaker interview: Bill Tobin, Q-Lab Corporation

Ahead of the Polymer Testing World Expo North America, we caught up with Bill Tobin, Senior Technical Marketing Specialist at Q-Lab Corporation.

Bill is a Technical Marketing Specialist for Q-Lab Corporation. This role is essentially a combination of Application Engineering, Product Management, and Standards development. Bill's main focus is helping to develop/update international standards in weathering and corrosion to offer understandable solutions for laboratories to perform repeatable and reproducible tests.


What are the biggest challenges facing the market today and how can this be overcome?

In weathering, one of the biggest challenges we face is helping customers see the value in testing. Many users who are new to weathering are trying to find a “magic number” that allows them to compare hours in a weathering tester to years outdoors. This magic number (if it even exists) is very difficult to come by, takes years of testing, and varies by formulation. We really want to show that there is a lot of valuable information that can be obtained quickly simply by focusing on comparison testing of formulas with frequent evaluations.


In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last decade?

I think the greatest developments in the last decade have been in creating new test standards that offer better correlation to real world conditions through long dark steps with water spray and better simulation of sunlight. In particular, ASTM D7869 (Xenon Arc Exposure Test with Enhanced Light and Water Exposure for Transportation Coatings) has opened the door to new methods that will better replicate failures seen outdoors. 


How do you see the sector developing in the next five to ten years?

In combination with the development of ASTM D7869, more and more test standards are implementing the newer optical filters used for simulating sunlight. As a result, I think we’ll see test methods that are better able to simulate and accelerate outdoor conditions. I think there is also going to be some focus for the industry for testing materials for exposure to UVC energy, as more products are being exposed to ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a means to disinfect surfaces.  


You will be speaking at AM I’s plastics industry expos in Cleveland in November, could you give us a preview on what you will be talking about?

As mentioned before, UVGI is becoming much more common in commercial and residential applications. The problem with this is that the same light that disinfects surfaces can affect the durability of a product. This presentation will cover some of the common questions, the current standards that exist, and the equipment available that can be used in durability testing of materials exposed to the UVC light used in UVGI.

Bill Tobin will be speaking at the upcoming Polymer Testing World Expo conference.