Success on Display
Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Edited By: Sharon Spielman
Installing a new powder coating line
allowed this Tennessee-based display
manufacturer to streamline the production
and efficiency of its finishing line.
For more than a century, the 300-plus employees at
American Display & Fixture, a division of Marketing
Alliance Group in Chattanooga, Tenn., have been
manufacturing wire, steel and wooden display parts.
The company is reported to be an industry leader in
the production of visual merchandising and product
displays for a variety of large retailers. As the demands
of customers increased, so did the need for a finishing
solution that would successfully rise to the challenge.
"We powder coat all of our steel parts because it
is durable and cost effective. The range of colors and
finishes are endless with powder coating, and our
customers demand quality," says Dion East, project
manager at American Display.
After looking at a number of different suppliers,
American Display decided to work with Nordson for
a powder coating solution. "It is a very competitive
industry, and we are always looking for new ideas
and innovations that can lead to efficiencies in
production," says East.
"Our powder facility at the time was holding us
back," explains East, who managed the installation of
the new system from start to finish. He says installing
the Nordson system was a huge step into the future for
their operation. Originally working with a system that
was slow and often bottlenecked, the team was eager
to work with their new supplier to install a line that
would increase line speed and overall efficiency. The
company ultimately installed a ColorMax® 2 powder
spray booth with Encore® automatic and manual spray
At the Chattanooga facility, sheet metal and tubing
is laser cut, formed, welded and powder coated
in-house via multiple production lines. "One of
our biggest motivators was efficiency. The industry
demand was for larger pieces. We had to streamline
our process to save time and money, and the Nordson
system took care of that," says East.
On the previous line, which would only
accommodate parts up to 28 inches wide, large parts
needed to be disassembled before being powder
coated, and then put back together. The spacious
design of the new booth (which will accommodate
parts up to 60 inches wide and 10 feet long) eliminates
that step and also allows for several color changes per
day, increasing turnaround.
American Display has a custom-designed system
from General Automatic Transfer (GAT). The washer
is a four-stage system. "We partnered with Chemetall
to provide us with a cleaner/
phosphate and an electronic
monitoring of the chemical levels
that works great for us," Easy
says. GAT also built a custom
dry-off and cure oven. "We have
20 feet of IR oven followed up
with convection to cure our
ever-changing parts at 30 feet per
Regarding the old powder
coating booth, East says, "The
old booth simply didn't have
the capabilities when it came to
coverage and reclaim rate. The
savings (with the new booth) are
The powder coating booth is
equipped with 12 Encore venturi
automatic guns and two Encore LT
manual hand guns, which are used
to coat hard-to-reach areas after
the part has moved through the
booth. East says that the manual
guns are hardly ever required,
as most of their parts are being
sufficiently coated automatically.
"The coating quality of the…guns
is unparalleled," he says.
The booth is not only more
efficient; it actually conserves
material. Rather than spraying to
waste, the booth is able to reclaim all of American
Display's 40-plus unique colors and averages a color
change time of less than 10 minutes compared to over
an hour with their prior system. "I can't say enough
good things about Nordson and the entire process,"
says East. "The improvement has been obvious. We
are extremely happy with performance."
New Capacity, New Opportunities
The new system expands
American Display's capacity to
bring in additional work from a
larger customer base. Marketing
Alliance Group has a new OEM
division, Alliance Metal and
Plastics is the division that was
created to produce OEM parts for
other manufactures. "With our
increased capacity in the sheet
metal, tubing and powder coating
departments and our molded/
extruded plastic division, we
are ready to become a preferred
supplier to the OEM industry.
We can cut, stamp, form and
powder coat in-house, turnkey,"
Sharon Spielman is editor of Powder Coated Tough magazine. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.