Industry icon, web-coating authority Edward D. Cohen dies at 84 

Dr. Edward D. Cohen

Dr. Edward D. Cohen, a long-time AIMCAL technical consultant and expert authority in the solution web-coating industry, passed away on Aug. 6 at age 84, following a long illness. 

Ed’s academic career began with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University (Medford, MA) and a doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of Delaware (Newark, DE). He spent most of his career with DuPont in Photo Products where he is credited with bringing air-floatation drying to DuPont.  He co-founded and lead the DuPont Corporate Coating Network, as promoted to the rank of DuPont Fellow and transferred to DuPont Corporate R&D to lead the DuPont Corporate Coating Center. He retired from the company in 1998.

Ed was founding president of the International Society of Coating Science and Technology (ISCST), and his honors include ISCST’s John Tallmadge Award for contributions to coating technology, as well as the AIMCAL President’s Award and the 2020 inaugural class of inductees to the new AIMCAL Hall of Honor.

As president of Edward D. Cohen Consulting, Inc. (Fountain Hills, AZ), he brought his clients 45+ years of experience in all aspects of the solution web-coating process. His knowledge spanned the coating and drying of thin films, coating-process development and scale-up, polyester-base development, film-defect mechanisms, defect characterization techniques, litigation support, and professional development activities for scientists.

His extensive AIMCAL activities

Ed was an active participant in AIMCAL technical conferences long before he retired from DuPont and was named the association’s first technical consultant. As the advisor for web coating, he helped AIMCAL deliver technical expertise via active involvement in the Technical Advisory Panel, recruitment of speakers, support of the “Ask AIMCAL” function on the Website, and presentation of Converting School courses, pre-conference short courses, and moderating conference sessions.

“I didn’t have a technical background and needed someone with a real technical background to help AIMCAL move forward,” recalls Craig Sheppard, former AIMCAL executive director. “Ed was our first hire (after me) as technical consultant. We talked weekly, he gave input on major decisions about AIMCAL, and he was certainly the ‘go-to guy’ for everything that AIMCAL was going to do.

“Ed was very well respected by everyone in the industry,” Sheppard continues. “I remember being with him at a CMM show; it was like walking around with the Pope. Everyone wanted to take pictures of themselves posing with Ed or getting him to autograph their copies of his books.”

Over the years, Ed authored or contributed to various publications for AIMCAL and the industry. Works include Coating & Drying Defects: Troubleshooting Operating Problems and Modern Coating and Drying Technology, both co-written with Edgar B. Gutoff. For AIMCAL, he wrote the “Coating Concepts” Q&A technical column for Converting Quarterly magazine.

“Ed Cohen was perhaps the most prolific technical author and contributor to Converting Quarterly as well as many other industry publications,” says CQ Editor-in-Chief Mark Spaulding. “Over his 11 years with the magazine, Ed wrote nearly 80 columns and technical features covering the entire scope of web coating – and that doesn’t include his numerous contributions to the former CONVERTING Magazine, where he was also one of our columnists.”

Ed’s closest friends remember him for the character that made him successful as much as his accomplishments. His best friend, Mike Cone, says, “Ed’s probing intellect, deep skepticism and abiding humanity led him to become an outstanding leader in technology and a great innovator.”

Ted Lightoot of Ted Lightfoot LLC adds, “I never knew anyone who talked like a misanthrope but secretly had as deep an affection for people as Ed. He was a mentor to me, helping me learn about coating and drying, but more so helping me learn how to innovate. I feel privileged to have enjoyed his friendship.”

Ed is survived by his daughter Alison and two sons Jason and Bill.