Posted in: Industry News

Powder Perspective: Treasure Trove of Knowledge for Custom Coaters

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PCI’s 2012 Custom Coater Summit was a huge success at the Treasure Island Resort in Las Vegas. The event was held on March 22-23 where approximately 40 coaters attended. The agenda included topics on business solutions, marketing in today’s economy, leadership and motivation, managing your employees, and product innovations. There were several outstanding speakers, including David Chalk, Galaxy Associates; Eric Koslow, Decoral; Sam Miles, Miles Chemical Solutions; Steve Houston, TCI Powder; Scott Landgraf, In-Line Sieve; and Rodger Talbert, PCI. The keynote speaker, Barry Maher from Barry Maher & Associates, had abundant reviews as he presented on self- and employee motivation in his “Filling the Glass: Real World Tactics and Reality-Based Motivation for Increasing Productivity and Job Satisfaction.” Not only did he give useful and inspiration points, he did so with high energy and humor. Custom coaters also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of round table discussions, which are open discussions in order to help each other resolve challenges and go home with new ideas and solutions. Overall, the attendees had a great time and went home with many valuable resources they can apply in their businesses. Based on feedback, many were surprised by the extent of content they learned in the two days and will definitely be back next year. Attendee Heather Koehler, Advanced Powder Coating & Sandblasting, writes, “I would like to thank you and everyone at PCI for such an amazing event. We were blown away with all the knowledge of the powder coating business in one room. We will definitely be attending next year’s event!” The Custom Coater Summit is held in March every year in Las Vegas. Check out for details about 2013’s event, which will be posted as they become available.

Chemetall Opens Plant in Chennai, India

Chemetall-Rai, a member of the Chemetall Surface Treatment Group, has invested in a second production facility in India. The design and construction of this new plant set new benchmarks in safety and quality, while responding to the increasing demand for local sourcing in this growing region. The new facility will enhance Chemetall-Rai’s current capacity substantially. “To keep “The investment in our new plant is a further milestone in Chemetall’s expansion strategy and it clearly demonstrates the importance of the Indian market,” stresses Joris Merckx, president, Chemetall Surface Treatment. Recently the company has acquired the chemical business of Gramos, one of the major local players of surface treatment technology for the Indian automotive industry. Chennai, also known as the “Detroit of India,” has a significant importance for automotive OEMs and component manufacturers. The automotive industry is of particular interest for Chemetall, as it triggers innovation, sets high quality standards and feeds many other metal-producing industries. With a modern production plant close to the Hyundai, Ford and Renaullt Nissan manufacturing facilities, Chemetall is following its strategy to provide state-ofthe- art quality technologies as well as local support for global customers.

In other Chemetall news, the company has announced that the Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau changed its pretreatment from zinc phosphating to Chemetall’s more eco-friendly Oxsilan technology. In the new pressing plant of the Mercedes-Benz site in Gaggenau, which is one of the oldest car factories in the world, each day more than 1,400 spare parts like doors, trunk lids, fenders or engine hoods for all Mercedes-Benz models are manufactured, pretreated and painted. Formerly, the components were mainly made from galvanized steel. But aluminum is increasingly making its way into automobiles. For zinc phosphating, this increase in material mixes makes it necessary to carefully explore the technical limits. Adapting baths to the changing loads is complex and the disposal of heavy metals expensive. “The trend to light-weight construction will increase further in future. Mercedes-Benz therefore needed an alternative that was free from heavy metals and compatible with multimetals,” explains Klaus Rudo, responsible for Global Process Release at Daimler. After several months of testing, the new technology was adopted for use in series production in spring 2011. For Sascha Malorny, responsible for pretreatment and painting at Mercedes-Benz in Gaggenau, “It used to be that the phosphating zone had to be acid-rinsed every 10 weeks, which took a whole weekend each time. With Oxsilan, cleaning of the complete facility is completed after only six to eight hours.” Previously, the filter system had to be cleaned once a week, which meant a complete exchange of the filter mats. Today, it is sufficient to rinse the filter press once a month with water since the new pretreatment technology is virtually sludge-free.

Graco Closes Finishing Brands Acquisition

Graco announced April 2 that it has closed on its $650 million acquisition of the Illinois Tool Works’ finishing businesses, reaching an agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that allows for closing of the powder finishing business while the FTC investigates and considers a settlement proposal from Graco for the liquid finishing side of Gema’s business.

A week earlier, the FTC issued an order for Graco to hold the liquid finishing assets separate from the powder finishing and other Graco businesses while the FTC investigates and considers a settlement proposal from Graco. Although the liquid businesses are now owned by Graco, they will be run independently by existing management under the supervision of a trustee who reports directly to the FTC.

At the completion of its review, the FTC will issue a final decision and order that will identify the products, businesses or assets that Graco will be required to divest. The divestiture must be completed in the 180 days following the issuance of the final decision and order and may include up to all of the liquid finishing businesses.

The acquisition includes complementary powder and liquid finishing equipment operations, technologies and brands. In powder finishing, Graco has added Gema, and approximately one-third of the purchase price is expected to be allocated to this business. In industrial liquid finishing, the acquisition includes Binks spray finishing equipment, DeVilbiss spray guns and accessories, Ransburg electrostatic equipment and accessories and BGK curing technology.

“The addition of the Gema Powder Finishing business to Graco’s existing finishing operations is highly strategic and complementary,” says Patrick McHale, Graco’s president and CEO. “It allows the Company access to attractive end markets; the global distribution base of Gema is strong and growing; the emerging market exposure is highly attractive; and the brand name is well established with end users as a high quality, technological leader.”

“This is going to be an extraordinarily exciting time for all of us as we work to make our successful business even better,” says Claudio Merengo, Gema Group president. “This change in our corporate ownership will enhance our ability to provide high quality products and continued excellent service.” In the next several months, a transition will occur as marketing, promotional and product materials are integrated with the new company name, Gema.

Peerless Plant Tour, CCAI

As reported in the Fall 2009 edition of this magazine, Peerless Industries Inc., Aurora, Ill., a designer, manufacturer and distributor of audio-visual solutions, moved its outsourced manufacturing back to the United States. (Visit our digital edition for the full story at This has been successful for Peerless-AV. The company’s made-in-the-USA product line includes flat panel mounts, projector mounts, wireless technology, motorized mount solutions, audio cables, video cables, interactive kiosks, AV furniture, AV racks, AV shelves, precision gear products, surge protection, screen cleaning products and a full assortment of accessories.

A 70-year-old global company, Peerless-AV has remained at the forefront of the industry, creating new AV technologies that push the envelope and provide ideal solutions to meet the needs of the consumer and pro markets, alike. Peerless-AV manufactures over 3,600 products that serve original equipment manufacturers, commercial integrators and consumer retailers in 28 vertical markets worldwide through direct sales representatives and authorized distribution.

Thanks to a plant tour organized by The Chemical Coaters Association International, Northern Illinois Chapter, this past March 20, attendees were able to experience Peerless-AV’s success up close and personal. CCAI members and non-members alike were welcome to attend the event, which consisted of a company overview followed by a plant operations tour, including manufacturing and finishing, and brief CCAI-NI presentation and a catered dinner.

DuBois Aquires Galaxy Associates

DuBois Chemicals, a specialty chemicals manufacturer based in Sharonville, Ohio, has acquired Galaxy Associates, another Cincinnati-based provider of specialty chemicals solutions. The companies are not just geographically close; they share similar products and serve many of the same end markets. DuBois Chemicals manufactures and markets synthetic compressor, synthetic chain and other oils and greases as well as its Lubricoolant and Double-Cut brand of cutting fluids and Polydraw brand of pressworking fluids. Founded in 2002, Galaxy provides specialty chemicals such as metalworking fluids, process chemistries, conversion coatings, sealing rinses, and cleaners. The company has built its reputation through its Industrial, Pulp & Paper, and Transportation divisions, each of which provides products to a specific customer set. Galaxy has expanded its metalworking business by acquiring several metalworking fluid companies during the past several years. In 2004, Galaxy acquired Fremont Industrial expanding its Metal Finishing business. In 2007, Galaxy purchased Innovative Chemical Solutions (ICS), a metalworking based company. In 2009, Challenge Inc. was purchased by Galaxy expanding sales and product offerings in metal finishing and mask washing operations. “Galaxy bolsters DuBois’ industrial metal finishing business while adding complementary capabilities to DuBois’ transportation and paper segments,” says Riverside Partner Tim Gosline. “We expect customers of both firms to benefit from enhanced capabilities and a broader suite of products.”

Galaxy is the fourth add-on that Riverside has completed for DuBois Chemicals since it acquired DuBois in 2008. Prior add-ons include Blendco, Perkins Products and Mitco. “Galaxy is a truly great entrepreneurial company,” says DuBois CEO Jeff Welsh. “The complementary nature of our cultures, products and end markets will allow us to deliver a breadth of solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations. It’s a really natural fit for our marketplace. Together we offer thousands of innovative specialty chemical solutions that we can deliver with creative passion and expertise.” Visit

PCI Certification

PCI has developed the PCI 3000 Certification Program, which is available to all custom coaters applying powder coatings, to acknowledge coaters who can meet a standard of product quality that fits their market and meets or exceeds all of their market needs and advertised standards. In addition, PCI offers the PCI 4000 Certification Program, which is designed and offered to all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) applying powder coatings. This is the certification that DSI has earned.

The audit process exposes the powder coater to a thorough examination of their equipment and process used for application. It also examines their business operation from raw materials to finished products. This includes the safety culture within the company, inventory control, quality control, process control, and customer satisfaction. The entire operation is examined to make sure that the powder coater can deliver their expressed level of quality on a regular basis. In addition to the initial audit, the coater is required to perform routine internal audits and they are required to schedule an annual audit by PCI to reaffirm their continued compliance with the goals of the program.

During the auditing process PCI closely examine each of 12 operating elements. These elements include:

1. Pretreatment of the substrate 

2. Ovens used for drying and curing 

3. Application of the powder coating 

4. Incoming material quality control 

5. Training practices and competencies 

6. Maintenance of the system 

7. Customer satisfaction 

8. Safety record and practices within the operation 

9. Process control 

10. Warranties, guarantees and performance expectations 

11. Final quality control practices 

12. Loading, unloading and packaging

Within each element, the powder coater must meet a minimum required score in order to receive the approval of PCI and become certified.

As of press time, the following companies are PCI Certified.