As our cover clearly shows, this month’s Products Finishing delves into all things military, especially how finishers can try to get some of the work going into new military expenditures such as the ‘Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles’ project.
We profile the Oshkosh Corporation’s recent $2 billion contract victory for the new FMTV series, and detail how some finishers are adding or changing chemical agent resistant coatings (CARC) lines to get some of the work that goes into those 23,000+ vehicles that will be built.
CARC has seen controversy in the past several years, ever since some military personnel on the ground in the first Gulf War reported illnesses after using the products – albeit incorrectly and without proper safety garb. Several thousand vehicles and pieces of equipment deployed to the Gulf region had to be quickly repainted from the three-colored woodland camouflage paint scheme to desert camouflage prior at the start of the war. The Defense Department in 2000 released an environmental exposure report that examined servicemembers' exposure to CARC paint fumes.
But with newer safety precautions in place, you’ll read on page 12 about how some finishers are installing new CARC lines, or expanding the ones they currently have, in order to get in on the new contracts.
“At the moment, it seems CARC is the only system that customers are buying,” says Therma-Tron-X’s Michael Gallagher, whose company is helping to build Oshkosh’s new plant.
In addition, we profile a Detroit-area finisher on page 13 who has invested heavily in CARC lines and is seeing the benefits, but not without some help from a little-known federal and local program called Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) that help businesses work with the military and government agencies to win new work.
Jay and Dona Burkard from Burkard Industries spent almost a year attending PTAC meetings, training sessions and conferences in order to become qualified to bid on military projects, and we tell you how they did it.
Continuing with military features, we also profile Birchwood Casey’s new black oxide process it calls Lumiclad for blackening aluminum for some military applications such as inertial guidance systems, ordnance trigger mechanisms, vacuum pumps and piston/cylinder assemblies.
And our Industry News section starting on page 8 reports that, despite a 2009 directive from the DoD acquisition chief to phase out the use of hexavalent chromium, the military is going forward with a plan to continue use of the cancer-causing corrosion inhibitor.
If you heard Matt Kirchner’s outstanding speech at the Ecoat conference in Louisville in May, then you’ll appreciate the additional bits of wisdom Matt throws our way on energy conservation in his ‘Never Finished,’ column. If you missed his talk, then you enjoy even more his great tips on putting money back into your pocket instead of mailing it to your energy company.
On the subject of great speeches, in last month’s issue I mistakenly identified MetoKote Corporation’s Jeff Oravitz in mentioning his talk on rebounding from the slumping economy. My apologies to Jeff, but this also gives me the chance to mention that he also took home the George E.F. Brewer Award at the Ecoat conference. He received the award for his more than 25 years of outstanding contributions and service to the market promotion of electrocoat technology. He served on the organizing committee that formed the Electrocoat Association, and has participated in numerous Ecoat conferences as a presenter, moderator and speaker, as well as held many committee positions. Hats off the Jeff!
The second Brewer Award was presented posthumously to the late Lyle Gilbert, a regular Products Finishing columnist until his death earlier this year. Gilbert retired from MetoKote in 2000 after spending more than 25 years in various roles with the company. Gilbert was very active in the electrocoating industry during his tenure with MetoKote.