2003 Large Coating Job Shop Survey

Article From: Products Finishing, , , ,

Posted on: 10/1/2003

Much has happened in the metal finishing community since we last performed the Products Finishing Large Coating Job Shop Survey in 2000.

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Much has happened in the metal finishing community since we last performed the Products Finishing Large Coating Job Shop Survey in 2000. We’ve witnessed the establishment of foreign labor as a legitimate and significant concern. We’ve seen the impact of terrorism and corporate scandal on the U.S. economy, as well as the impact that environmental regulations have had on some in the industry. At the same time, we’ve observed the birth of some new markets for metal finishers, and we have experienced how the internet can have a positive impact on the way we do business.

For its 2003 Large Coating Job Shop Survey, Products Finishing approached approximately 100 large coating job shops (100+ employees) in SIC 3479 (paint and powder coating job shops), and asked owners and managers to give us their impression of the state of the industry today, their concerns about the future and what they see as potential growth outlets. Some of the responses were predictable. Others were rather surprising. All of them are important. For many of the questions, we’ve drawn some conclusions. But we also encourage our readers to draw your own, and even challenge us if you disagree with our observations.

The Large Coating Job Shop Survey is divided into two sections. The front portion is dedicated to the survey questions, responses and analysis. The back is comprised of snapshots of some of the companies who participated in the survey. While this survey covers only the painting and powder coating markets, the November issue of Products Finishing magazine will feature a Plating/Anodizing Job Shop Survey.

If your company was not included in this survey and you would like to have your shop listed next time, please contact us at letters@pfonline.com, subject line “job shop survey.”

Challenges Ahead

Asked to identify the leading business challenges faced by today’s large coating job shops, survey respondents – in near unanimous fashion – pointed to the loss of jobs to offshore competitors. A full 68% cited foreign labor as a major concern. Though a number of other respondents pointed to secondary factors, such as market conditions (13%), environmental compliance issues (7%) and management issues (5%), it is evident that these circumstances support the exodus of jobs to overseas markets in one way or another.

Take, for example, the perpetual stream of laws and environmental regulations imposed by the Federal Government. While most finishers agree that today’s regulations make the average job shop a safer place than it was 100 years ago, they are angered that many parts of the world are permitted to do business as though it were still the year 1900.

“I truly support environment controls and regulations.” says Terry Spisak, President of SurTech Industries, a job shop based out of York, PA. “We are very green [at SurTech Industries]. The intent behind EPA, OSHA and other regulatory bodies is honorable, but the Government should have been able to anticipate the impact that its regulations would have on metal finishers in the U.S. since many of these laws don’t exist in places like China and Mexico. A level playing field would at least soften the blow of low wages and benefits that are paid to workers in competing countries.”

The emergence of competitive technologies, such as pre-colored plastics, is also on the mind of many finishers. For some insight into the evolution of pre-colored plastics, PF turned to Matt Naitove, the Editor of Plastics Technology magazine. “Obviously, the more plastics that go unpainted, the worse it is for custom finishers,” Mr. Naitove says. “I’m afraid this trend is unstoppable. On the other hand, its impact will be limited in some markets, such as automotive. Most of the body of the car is still painted metal and will be for the foreseeable future. Plastics makers keep dreaming of all-plastic car bodies, but for now it’s just a dream. So, on the exterior, we’re talking mainly about bumpers and trim parts being painted or not. The trend there is to avoid paint. As for car interiors, paint has been on the way out there for some time. Major appliances look like they will remain painted sheet metal for some time, too.”

And finally, it’s important to note that the metal finishing industry is affected by many of the same factors that have plagued the U.S. manufacturing community as a whole. Overcapacity, consolidation, huge increases in health insurance costs, pressure from customers to lower prices and other market conditions are having an impact on a job shop manager’s ability to maintain a profit. In order to respond to these conditions, owners and managers are looking at ways to diversify their service offerings and examining new outlets for growth.

Growth Potential

Survey respondents were asked to identify the the coating technologies with the largest growth potential for their businesses. Powder coating—named as the predominant coating required by finishing customers in the next 5-10 years by 55% of survey participants —emerged as a clear winner.

Greg Bocchi, Executive Director of the Powder Coating Institute (PCI) is not surprised by powder coating’s prominence. “At its onset, the growth of powder coating was driven by a desire [of finishers] to achieve environmental compliance,” he says. “But more recently, consumers have become more demanding with regard to the quality of the coatings on the products they buy. At the same time, powder coatings have matured, offering better quality and greater diversity in colors and textures. In doing so, it has positioned itself to appeal to consumers and finishers on those levels as well. Environmental compliance continues to be important in the coatings application area, but economics, efficiency and versatility of the finish have grown in importance as well.”

In what struck PF editors as a surprising twist, electrocoat was noted as having the second-largest growth potential in the metal finishing industry, tying it with liquid paint (17%).

Cindy Oravitz, Executive Director of The Electrocoat Association, indicates that she has noted an upswing in the number of phone calls received from coaters, engineers and purchasing managers inquiring about electrocoat. She attributes the attention to an increasing trend of using electrocoat as part of a two-coat system whereby electrocoat is used as a primer, and another technology (often powder) is applied as a topcoat. “Electrocoat is particularly well-suited as a primer for products that will be exposed to corrosive environments,” she says. “Its properties make it a great fit for use on agricultural equipment, appliances, automobiles, automotive parts, marine components and other types of products.”

Finding Hope in "Star Trek"

Survey participants were also asked which industries they see as having the most growth potential for the finishing processes they employ. Thirty-four percent of respondents see the most promise in the automotive industry (which, for the purposes of the survey, includes automotive components). Just six percent identified the furniture market as an avenue for growth, perhaps due in part to the drop in the office furniture market in 2001 and 2002.

While the strong results for the appliance industry (19%) were not surprising, aerospace (18%) reveals some unexpected promise. As one respondent joked, referring to the aerospace industry, “Of course aerospace is growing. I watch Star Trek all the time, and those spaceships are always made out of metal!”

Though the respondent was kidding, the reality is that the aerospace industry looks to hold some promise for metal finishers. Not only are many aircraft parts still made of metal (most other substrates have yet to achieve the necessary levels of durability and stability), but they often require some degree of precision finishing. And while some paintless film technologies have been explored for the industry, many are unproven with regard to their ability to stand up to time and atmospheric elements.

The demands of the Aerospace industry may offer a tell-tale sign for the future of metal finishing in the United States. Job shop manager Dave Lennard sums it up: “Airplane parts, automotive components, medical instruments, military equipment – these aren’t exactly the kinds of things that companies want to be sending overseas to have coated in the cheapest way possible. The job shops that survive to see the year 2020 are going to do so by expanding [their shops] to take on more quality-oriented jobs. It’s probably the only way we can still compete with Asia.”

Job Shop Survey Participants…

 

Amal Ent. Inc
Phone/Fax: 216-362-1880/ 216-362-0812
Employees: 100
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $15-20
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: n/a
Substrates Coated: Steel
Coatings Used: Solvent-borne,Waterborne
Coating Application Equipment: Dip Coating
Curing Method: High-Velocity
Other Finishing Processes: Heat Treating, Electro and Mechanical Plating,
Phosphating, Adhesive Sealents

Apollo Metals
Phone/Fax: 610-867-5826 / 610-867-7594
Employees: 120
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): More than $25
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 120,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Stainless, Brass
Coatings Used: Solvent-Borne, Electrocoat, Lacquer
Coating Application Equipment: Electrocoating, Dip Coating, Coil Coating
Curing Method: Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: Plating, Lacquer Coating
B. L. Downey Co, Inc,
Phone/Fax: 708-345-8000 / 708-345-8017
Employees: 200
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $15-20
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 320,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Iron, Cast Iron, Aluminum, Magnesium
Coatings Used: Electrocoat, Powder, Plastisol
Coating Application Equipment: Electrocoating, Dip Coating, Electrostatic Spray
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: None

Capsco, Inc
Phone/Fax: 864-235-8000/ 864-271-0746
Employees: 85
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 80,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Zinc Die Cast, Galvanized Steel
Coatings Used: Electrocoat
Coating Application Equipment: Electrocoating
Curing Method: High Velocity, Natural Gas
Other Finishing Processes: Electroplating, Black Oxide

E. M. F. Inc
Phone/Fax: 310-639-1621 / 310-639-7909
Employees: 125
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $1-5
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: n/a
Substrates Coated: Steel, Aluminum, Magnesium, Plastic, Titanium, Brass
Coatings Used: Solvent-borne
Coating Application Equipment: Air-Atomize Spray
Curing Method: Convection
Other Finishing Processes: Plating, Anodizing, Passivating, Electropolishing

Fleet Design, Inc
Phone/Fax: 615-325-6701
Employees: 145
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 80,000
Substrates Coated: Steel
Coatings Used: Waterborne
Coating Application Equipment: Air-Assisted Airless Spray
Curing Method: Convection
Other Finishing Processes: Polishing/ Buffing, Plating

Inland Powder Coating Corporation
Phone/Fax: 909-947-1122
Employees: 85
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 60,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Aluminum
Coatings Used: Powder
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: Sandblast

Paramount Metal Finishing
Phone/Fax: 908-862-0772 / 908-862-9477
Employees: 100
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 85,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Brass, Aluminum, Invar, Kavar, Copper, Beryllium copper, Magnesium
Coatings Used: Solvent-borne, Powder, Waterborne, High-solids, Lacquer, Plating
Coating Application Equipment: Air-Assisted Airless Spray, Air-Atomize Spray,
Airless Spray, Electrostatic Spray, HVLP, Robotic
Curing Method: Convection
Other Finishing Processes: Plating, Anodizing, Phosphating, Hardcoat Anodizing

Perfection Finishers
Phone/Fax: 419-337-8015 / 419-335-2843
Employees: 75
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 2
Sq Ft Facilities: 85,000
Substrates Coated: All but Wood
Coatings Used: Solvent-borne, Electrocoat, Waterborne, High-Solids, Lacquer
Coating Application Equipment; Electrocoating, Air-Atomize Spray, Dip Coating, Electrostatic Spray, HVLP, Flow Coating
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared, UV
Other Finishing Processes: Vacuum Plating, High-Speed Electrostatic Painting

Profile Powder Coating, Inc
Phone/Fax: 763-428-4990 / 763-428-8237
Employees: 33
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $1-5
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 20,000
Substrates Coated : Steel, Aluminum, Wood
Coatings Used: Powder
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray
Curing Method: Convection
Other Finishing Processes: None

Richard Lain
Phone/Fax: 260-489-3580
Employees: 52
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $1-5
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 60,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Aluminum, Castings
Coatings Used: Powder
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: None

Russell Products
Phone/Fax: 216-267-0880 / 216-433-1901
Employees: 100+
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 6
Sq Ft Facilities:
Substrates Coated: Steel, Aluminum , Plastic, Glass, Rubber
Coatings Used: Powder, Solvent-borne, Waterborne, High-Solids, Lacquer
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray, Dip Spinning, HVLP, High-speed Rotational Bells,Flow Coating,Airless Spray
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: Anodizing, Hard Anodizing, Chromate

Springco Metal Coating
Phone/Fax: 216-941-0020
Employees: 178
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $10-15
Plants/ Facilities: 2
Sq Ft Facilities: 150,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Zinc, Aluminum
Coatings Used: Electrocoat, Powder, Insulation Coating,
Coating Application Equipment: Electrocoating, Electrostatic Spray, Fluidized Bed
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared
Other Finishing Processes: Rack Plating
Techno-Coat, Inc
Phone/Fax: 616-820-1654/ 616-396-8211
Employees: 110
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $10-15
Plants/ Facilities: 2
Sq Ft Facilities: 95,000
Substrates Coated: Steel, Aluminum Extrusion, Aluminum Die Casting, Zinc Die Casting
Coatings Used: Powder
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray
Curing Method: Convection
Other Finishing Processes: None

Ternicote, Inc
Phone/Fax: 401-724-2230 / 401-724-3024
Employees: 90
Annual Sales Volume (in millions): $5-10
Plants/ Facilities: 1
Sq Ft Facilities: 105,000
Substrates Coated: Aluminum, Zinc, Steel, Stainless Steel, Magnesium, Copper, Brass, Engineered Plastics, Galvaneal,
Coatings Used: Powder
Coating Application Equipment: Electrostatic Spray, Dip Coating, Hot Spray
Curing Method: Convection, Infrared, UV
Other Finishing Processes: Cleaning, Descaling, Mass Finishing, Zinc, Iron Phosphate



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