Posted in: Industry News

Best Practices Are Crucial for Finishing First

Posted on Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Dear Fellow PCI® Members, We’ve spent the last two years on “Return to Growth” and “Shaping the Future Together” missions, and I commend past Presidents Chris Reding and Bob Allsop on their successful efforts. I am convinced the future is bright for our organization.

In the past few years, I have visited many powder coating facilities—both captive and job shops. The one clear take away from all of these visits is that there is a real disconnect between best (or even necessary) practices in powder coating and the real world. This is the “beauty and the beast” of powder coating. The beauty is that even with subpar practices, powder coating works. The beast is that best practices should be the minimum level effort, not the goal. I often talk about the Good, Better, and Best of powder coating. Notice, I don’t say “bad.” Even a cheap hobby powder coating gun will put powder on a part. But it won’t do it effectively, or efficiently. And it certainly won’t do it economically, all things considered. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “yep, we’ve got a good ground,” even when no ground exists. Or how about, “yep I’ve got good clean, dry air,” even though the problems they are encountering are clearly moisture or oil related.

As I think about the “beast,” one of the major issues I see in manufacturing today is poor finish or a finishing defect. Yet, the majority of manufacturers are spending the least amount of money in their finishing areas. Painters are treated and paid as low-skilled employees. Owners find all sorts of ways to get by on a shoestring. Recently, I heard an owner make the statement, “I can’t be bothered with the cost or time to clean hooks.” You have to be bothered with the details; they should not be ignored. What I see lacking is good education—not just educating the painters, of which the Powder Coating Institute (PCI®) does a great job—but educating the decision makers: the owners, executives and managers. You have likely heard the saying “knowledge is power.” I’d like to amend that to read “using knowledge is power.” Come on, everyone knows that a good ground is necessary for effective powder coating, but in practice that knowledge is often ignored. There is a real cost to ignoring knowledge, and that message has to be driven into our industry.

My charge as President of the Board for 2015 is to drive education and knowledge through all levels of the finishing hierarchy—from top to bottom and back up again. As the global voice of the industry, the Powder Coating Institute has to lead the effort to drive best practices and high quality to all levels of the industry. We will speak as one unified voice on behalf of our industry and push for powder coating to be the process of choice when it comes to coating needs. Our association has, bar none, the best educational programs available for powder coating, but we will not stop there. We will better demonstrate and drive the cost savings proposition of best practices and take this to the highest level of decision makers. With your help we can take powder coating from good and better, to best. Let’s work together to drive this message to our industry.

John Cole, PCI® President