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Benefits of SEA Membership

 “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”

So said Groucho Marx, and we must admit, he may have had a point.

Membership of any club or association is a bit like the curate’s egg – good in parts, not so good in others. There will always be decisions made on behalf of members that don’t find favour with everyone and it can appear that the larger companies, or individuals of influence get their way most of the time. In any club or association it will probably always be that way – after all, bring any group of people together and finding common ground isn’t always easy, not to mention managing diverse personalities and interests.

Where membership of a good trade association pays dividends is its ability to get the voice of the membership heard in the right places, on key topics that will affect the industry. Take the surface finishing sector as an example, over recent years it has faced major changes in the way chemicals used in our industry are registered, evaluated, authorised and restricted within the European Union, with the REACH directive undergoing numerous iterations on restrictions of substances, additions of substances and changes to the tests required. The Surface Engineering Association played a major role in drafting sensible, workable legislation and has continued to facilitate the UK’s ability to keep pace with REACH.

Without the involvement of the SEA, it is likely that legislation would have been passed that had swingeing effects on the companies that work in the surface finishing sector – the anodisers, the electro-platers and finishers – to the point where they were unable to comply because of cost or capability, so the only option was to close.

A strong trade association must be many things to many people and the SEA is no exception. Its members are as diverse as the services they provide, so it’s important that the association is knowledgeable on all relevant topics, up to date with current legislation, understanding the requirements of the manufacturers in the chain, and of course keeping a finger on the Brexit pulse.

At the heart of the surface finishing industry is the small to medium size companies which provide manufacturers with innovative coating solutions that help make the end products lighter, faster and thinner. A great deal of pressure is put on these companies at the end of the chain and making a commitment to researching new materials and processes and finding innovative solutions is extremely onerous. Membership of a strong trade association helps make these demands less onerous, as knowledge can be shared, assistance given to help with the cost and time dedicated to health and safety and environmental compliance, research costs amortised, and Government funding uncovered.

These are the important benefits of being a member of a relevant trade association, but let’s not dismiss the importance of being able to meet and network with like-minded people who share similar goals, and the material suppliers and original equipment manufacturers who buy the products. Association-led events such as seminars, regional meetings and conferences provide suppliers with a golden opportunity to be part of the surface finishing landscape, talk directly to potential customers and learn about what is driving their supplier demands.

Most trade associations offer professional business support – usually provided through an expert 3rd-party provider – on such key corporate matters as VAT and PAYE, employment, public liability and insurance. If the sector relies on technical knowledge and expertise, then members should expect that a competent technical service be provided to answer questions or resolve issues.

Then of course are the commercial savings that contribute to the cost of membership; the help with marketing and promotion opportunities, discounts that your trade association negotiates on behalf of its members, such as discounted car hire, hotels, energy brokerage and private healthcare, all of which can yield considerable savings every year.

In our experience, membership of a quality trade association pays for itself very quickly, either through using the business or technical support service, enjoying discounts on popular or regular items or that chance meeting at an event that results in a new customer.

Here’s a summary of the benefits of membership for SEA members:

  • Marketing support on the SEA website to promote your business
  • Networking opportunities to joint-venture and win new customers
  • Business support services to save money and to make business life easier 
  • Access to knowledge and support to help solve technical problems
  • Assistance with H&S compliance to free up time, protect your workforce and to stay compliant
  • Help with environmental compliance including REACH and COSHH to free up time and to stay compliant
  • Materials science support to help solve application issues
  • Representation at local, regional, national and international level to ensure your voice is heard post-Brexit
  • Gala dinner and awards to relax, unwind and network
  • Industry awards that recognise, reward and promote businesses of excellence.

Check out the full list of benefits of being a member of the Surface Engineering Association at

Sub Menu

  1. Benefits of SEA Membership
  2. Made for Space event – discover the opportunities for the surface engineering sector
  3. Increase in Climate Change Levy Rates
  4. Official launch of the Surface Engineering Leadership Forum
  5. Looking after the industry with SELF
  6. A successful Gala Dinner and Awards for the SEA
  7. The Importance of Being a Part of a Trade Association
  8. Cadmium plating – an introduction
  9. A brief guide to the chrome plating process
  10. The REACH Directive and the implications to the surface engineering industry
  11. Your guide to electroplating
  12. Your guide to COMAH 2015 and how it affects your business
  13. The Surface Engineering & Heat Treatment Industry conference – an event you shouldn’t miss
  14. An introduction to hard chrome plating
  15. Metal Finishing
  16. Nickel plating and the SEA
  17. EPR Consolidation Update
  18. Surface Finishing
  19. The Surface Engineering Association
  20. Surface Finishing Legislation
  21. REACH Regulations
  22. REACH Chemicals
  23. COSHH Regulations
  24. Surface Finishing Industry Association
  25. Electroplating Chemicals
  26. Trade Associations
  27. REACH Compliance
  28. The Surface Finishing Industry
  29. A guide to reducing your energy bills with the Climate Change Agreement
  30. The Aims of the Climate Change Agreement
  31. EPR 2016 is coming!
  32. REACH and the impact of Hexavalent Chromium
  33. The Future Of Plated Plastics
  34. D-Day For Chromium Trioxide?
  35. Meet the 2016 Award Winners
  36. The Horizon 2020 Project
  37. SEA members contribute to world-leading research
  38. The REACH Cross Sector Group
  39. Importance of Membership
  40. The HS&E Committee – An Important Update
  41. The Importance of Networking Events
  42. BATF commission portrait in memory of former President
  43. Have you got your tickets yet?
  44. REACH - What's happening under this legislation?


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Federation House, 10 Vyse Street
Birmingham, B18 6LT, UK

T: 0121 237 1123
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