PF Blog

Court Upholds EPA Hex Chrome Rule

23. July 2015

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.


A federal appeals court ruled July 21 that the Environmental Protection Agency took the necessary steps when it set rules on emissions of certain air pollutants, including hexavalent chromium for the electroplating industry.


The 2012 EPA rule was challenged by the National Association for Surface Finishing, which sued the EPA saying the new rules were too stringent. Environmental groups also sued the EPA, claiming the new rules didn't go far enough.


The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA study of the issue was fair, and therefore the rules stand.


“We conclude that EPA’s methodology passes muster,” the court said in its opinion. “Keeping in mind the ‘wide latitude’ we afford EPA’s expertise-informed choice of data-gathering methodology, we find that EPA’s data-collection process was reasonable.”


When the agency passed the rules in 2012, it claimed that more than 224 pounds of hexavalent chromium would be removed from the air. But the agency also said that of the 1,350 plating shops in the U.S., more than 85 percent are already meeting the standards.


The EPA said for those shops not currently meeting standards, it would cost less than $1,000 in new equipment in order to come into compliance. They also said that "small number" of shops would need to spend upwards of $65,000 to become compliant.


“We uphold EPA’s model as long as the agency ‘explain[s] the assumptions and methodology used in preparing the model’ and ‘provide[s] a complete analytic defense’ should the model be challenged,” the court's opinion said.


To read the court's opinion, please click HERE




MetoKote Adds Powercron Advantage Electrocoat to Systems in Two Plants

22. July 2015



MetoKote Corporation, the largest custom coating applicator in the world, has added new electrocoating technology at their Sheffield Village, Ohio and Sumter, South Carolina plants.


The new Powercron AdvantEdge technology by PPG Industries is a next-generation high-edge cationic-epoxy product formulated with a proprietary metal-free catalyst that eliminates the need for dibutyl tin and other scarce or restricted heavy metals as catalyzing agents.


"Our customers' requirements for additional corrosion protection and more environmentally friendly materials continue to increase. The benefits of using high-edge materials, in particular the Powercron AdvantEdge product, allow us to keep up with these requirements," stated Brent Schwartz, MetoKote VP Engineering.


According to PPG, Powercron AdvantEdge electrocoat is specifically engineered to provide high-edge protection of cut, stamped or formed edges on complex metal parts. Powercron AdvantEdge e-coat offers several performance advantages over e-coats formulated with conventional metal-based catalyzing technologies. These include curing at temperatures as low as 320F to reduce energy use and related carbon emissions, as well as excellent workability, a smooth film appearance, enhanced throwpower and excellent corrosion resistance.


"The addition of the Powercron AdvantEdge product simply reiterates MetoKote's position as the industry leader in technology," Schwartz said. "We strive to offer the highest quality coating services, and through our strategic partnership with PPG we are able to continue providing unprecedented coating solutions. We are currently the only custom coater supplying Powercron AdvantEdge e-coat, and our goal is to achieve 100 percent conversion to using high-edge electrocoat in all of our e-coating tanks."


MetoKote Corporation, established in 1969 and headquartered in Lima, Ohio, serves its many customers in 31 facilities throughout the United States and the world. MetoKote provides environmentally sound and cost-effective coating solutions including equipment, coating application, and related management and support services to a wide variety of industries such as agriculture, appliance, automotive, computer, construction equipment, electrical, furniture, industrial equipment, recreational, and truck and bus. For more information, please

For more information, visit and follow @PPGIndustries on Twitter.

Stripmaster Celebrates 25 Years

20. July 2015



Stripmasters Services based in Decatur, Illinois, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week by unveiling its new powder coating line and entertaining guests with a barbecue for its customers.


The company specializes in plastic media blasting, sandblasting, painting and powder coating. It is located at 2500 N. 22nd street in Decatur.


Mark Scranton is the president of Stripmasters. He founded it in 1990, servicing companies that include Caterpillar Inc., Decatur Foundry, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Barton Manufacturing.


The shop moved into the former Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. plant in 2011 and added15 new jobs.


"We've grown steadily and gradually," Scranton said in 2011 when he moved the business into the new facility. "We've gone through good times and tough times. It wouldn't be possible without the employees who stand here today."


A lifelong resident of the Mt. Zion-Decatur area, Scranton and Stripmasters have built a reputation for serving his community in many ways, starting with the Boy Scouts where he obtained the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.


Scranton served as a firefighter, EMT, investigator and command officer with the Mt. Zion Fire Department for 13 years. He has also served on the boards for the Mt. Zion School District, March of Dimes, and the Decatur Celebration as a volunteer, board member, general chairman, and president.


Scranton and Stripmasters have also served as a financial supporter for multiple community events and is a 1986 graduate of the Greater Decatur Chamber's Decatur Leadership Institute. Most recently, Stripmasters donated numerous hours and resources to help Extreme Makeover Home Edition in Champaign, IL.


At Stripmasters, they do a variety of painting and their specialty is painting semis, trailers and other heavy equipment. They use only high grade urethane coatings, and they do custom restoration and painting of vehicles with special needs. Some of the vehicles they do include: Semi’s, Supersucker Vactor trucks, dump trucks, fire and rescue apparatus, cranes, and a variety of other industrial equipment. Their large 20′ x 50′ paint booth is one of the largest in central Illinois.


For more information, please visit



Gardner Research Releases “Media Usage in Manufacturing 2015” Survey Results Report

20. July 2015

The strong survey participation and increased research activity illustrates manufacturers’ investment in evolving and expanding their businesses.


Gardner Research, the market intelligence division of Gardner Business Media Inc. in Cincinnati, has announced the results of the fifth annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing” survey of industrial professionals. The full report including complete survey results, insights on industrial marketing trends and buyer behavior is available at


The survey, completed in the first quarter of 2015, includes a group of 2,288 respondents composed mainly of executives, managers and engineers at companies engaged in durable goods manufacturing.


The survey results include observations and raw data investigating primary trends in business-to-business industrial marketing and media usage. Specific topics include: buying cycle behavior, search, mobile, media usage, social media and vendor selection.


Commenting on this year’s key findings, Rick Kline, Jr. group publisher & vice president noted “Along with delivering insights into how industrial professionals are using media, this year’s survey is a positive commentary on the strength of North American manufacturing. Respondents indicated they are researching products, processes and services more frequently and using more types of media to conduct their research. The strong survey participation and increased research activity illustrates manufacturers’ investment in evolving and expanding their businesses.”


Key findings:


Buying Cycle

• The majority of manufacturing purchases (64 percent) are influenced by at least 3 people

• Nearly 70 percent look for products or services at least once a week



• Websites and trade magazines are the two most accessed and effective information resources for manufacturing professionals

• Trade magazines remain the leading push media


Social Media

• LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers

• Social media adoption has increased for the fourth consecutive year

• Overall perception of social media as a business tool remained flat with a below average rating of 2.64.



• Manufacturers are significantly more likely to select search returns featuring brands they recognize (93%) to brands they are not familiar with (31 percent).

• When reviewing search engine returns, manufacturing professionals favor technical articles and known brands over images, ads and videos.



• Most manufacturing technology buyers travel less than once a month (65 percent); nearly 20 percent indicated that they don’t travel at all for work.

• Overall mobile adoption is relatively flat, but significant gains appear in laptop and tablet usage; primary tablet use is email.


Vendor Selection

• In line with media usage reports, manufacturers that made a capital equipment purchase last year relied most heavily on trade media, supplier sites and events.

• The most influential criteria impacting a buyer’s selection of a potential vendor is technology followed closely by service and reputation.

• While registration based media ranks lower on accessibility and effectiveness, it is a primary means for buyers to reveal their purchasing interests.


Speaking on media usage trends, Kline, Jr. continues, “Looking back over the five year survey history, it is clear that manufacturing professionals are incorporating new forms of media in their research and buy cycle. However, adoption of newer media is being used as a complement to, not as a replacement for, traditional media forms. As a result, a marketing mix integrating multiple media remains the most impactful means to reaching today’s active, evolving technology buyer as they progress from awareness to vendor selection.”

Macdermid Parent Buys Enthone Group

16. July 2015



Platform Specialty Products Corporation, the parent of Macdermid, has agreed to acquire Alent plc, the parent company of Enthone, in a cash and stock transaction for approximately $2.1 billion. Including net debt, the total transaction value is approximately $2.3 billion.


Alent's business comprises two business segments: Enthone, its Surface Chemistries business - a global supplier of electroplating chemistry to the electronics, automotive and industrial industries; and Alpha, its Assembly Materials business - a global supplier of interconnect materials, primarily into electronics applications.


"The proposed acquisition of Alent marks a further step in the Platform strategy of building a portfolio of best-in-class 'Asset-Lite, High-Touch' businesses in the specialty chemicals industry," said Martin E. Franklin, Platform's Founder and Chairman. "This business and acquisition fits well within our stated objectives, and we are compelled by the value creation the combination may generate. The creation of Platform was the catalyst that created an environment where the Alent transaction could take place. That's what Platform is all about. Alent is a terrific fit and rebalances the portfolio as we continue to build the company."


"Alent is a strong complement to Platform's founding asset MacDermid, and I am excited to see it become a part of the Platform family," said Daniel H. Leever, Platform's Chief Executive Officer. "We have a long history with Alent and its predecessor company, and these are assets we know well. We believe the synergy potential is significant as is our combined ability to deliver better technology and service to our customers. Alent will far enhance the breadth, depth and overall footprint of Platform's Performance Applications segment. Alent's Enthone division represents a perfect partner as we continue to grow and build MacDermid whilst Alent's Alpha division adds several new high return positions to our portfolio. This latest acquisition further underlines the Platform 'Asset-Lite, High-Touch' thesis and the strength of our long-term growth story."


Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Heath, Chief Executive of Alent, said:


"Since the successful demerger of Alent at the end of 2012, our market leading businesses have outperformed their end-markets and delivered increasing returns. Major steps have been taken to improve efficiency together with investments in facilities and R&D to support future growth. In addition, our Investment for Growth strategy announced earlier this year positions Alent to deliver long-term growth and sustainable margin improvement. The significant premium being offered by Platform recognizes the progress Alent has made, the opportunities in front of us and the overall quality of the business, whilst also presenting a clear opportunity for our shareholders to realize the full value of their investment earlier.


"I said when I joined Alent that it is a strong business, at the heart of which is a tremendous technical capability that has been built up by the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm of our people around the world. The combination with Platform, drawing on the best of both that Alent and Platform have to offer, is a compelling proposition which I believe will be better able to serve customers and provide even greater opportunities for our employees. Our Board is unanimous in its recommendation of the proposed Transaction."


The transaction will be implemented by way of a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under the U.K. Companies Act 2006. Both companies' boards of directors unanimously support the transaction, which is expected to close in late 2015 or early 2016 after the satisfaction of the applicable closing conditions, including Alent shareholder approval and regulatory approvals in certain jurisdictions. Following closing of the transaction, Platform will remain a New York Stock Exchange listed company domiciled in the United States.

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