Trojan Powder Coating Sits Atop Top Shops List

Trojan Powder Coating sits atop the Products Finishing Top Shops list as the No. 1 liquid and powder coating operation in North America, based on a benchmarking survey.


Trojan Powder Coating owner Carl Troiano takes a very low-key approach to describe how his company grew from one facility in New York to now three on the East Coast, becoming one of the biggest coating operations in the U.S.

“We were built on the crumbs of what other coaters left for us,” says Troiano, a native New Yorker whose accent is unmistakable Long Island, even though he is now operating out of his Sarasota plant he opened four years ago.

“We built this inch by inch over time through a lot of hard work,” he says. “It’s taken some time, but I like where we are these days.”

These days, Trojan Powder Coating is atop the Products Finishing Top Shops list as the No. 1 powder coating or painting operation in North America, based on a benchmarking survey done this spring amongst U.S. and Canadian finishing operations.

Trojan Powder Coating—which became the first U.S. coater to receive the Qualicoat aluminum coating industry certification from the Switzerland-based organization—scored very high on the four measuring criteria Products Finishing used in its benchmarking survey: finishing technology, finishing practices and performances, business strategies and performances and training and human resources.

 

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Top 20 Percent Make the Cut

Only the top 20 percent of the powder coating and paint shops who took the benchmarking survey and were scored were awarded the Products Finishing Top Shops designation. Earlier this year, Products Finishing named electroplating Top Shops in what will become an annual review.

For Troiano, being named the No. 1 operation based on quality measures was an encouragement for someone who took a huge leap of faith several years ago and moved from his New York home to open a new operation in Sarasota.

“This didn’t come cheap,” says Troiano, while walking through his 90,000-square-foot plant in Sarasota that offers high-volume powder coating, vinyl coatings, decorative wood grain coated finishes, plus a large area for storing his customer’s raw materials until they need it coated.

Most of Trojan’s customers are in the architectural and window business, which is how he built up his operation in Bayshore, New York on Long Island. Troiano’s father started a furniture making business in 1959, and Troiano and partner Keith Rein launched it as a powder coating operation in 1990.

Utilizing some innovative equipment and coating techniques, Trojan Powder Coating branched out into things such as faux finishes and liquid kynar finishes that attracted a customer niche that other coaters were not willing to go after.

 

Going After the Window Market

But its bread and butter is the window market. Trojan’s customers include some of the largest in the industry: PGT Industries, CGI Windows and Doors, WinDoor, Trulite Glass and Aluminum Solutions, among others.

The business was very good for Trojan Powder Coating’s New York operations, as truckloads of window frames and other architectural components made their way in and out of the 78,000-square-foot Long Island plant every day.

But almost all of the major window manufacturers were located in Florida: PGT in Venice, CGI in Miami and WinDoor in Orlando, plus TruLite in nearby Georgia. Soon, Troiano was being asked about moving closer to where the action was, and that meant Florida.

When PGT wanted to add decorative finishes with a sublimation powder coating process that mimicked a wood-grain finish, they first tried to get the work done by another coater. Unfortunately, they saw extremely high reject rates.

PGT shipped the materials to Trojan in New York, instead, but over time they asked Troiano to open up a Florida operation to reduce shipping costs. He agreed, but the timing could not have been worse as the U.S. was still suffering from a recession and decline in the housing market, which pushed the demand for new windows down to one of its lowest marks in history.

But that didn’t stop Troiano and his company. He found a spot in Sarasota, and went to work getting equipment and fixtures installed and ready to service customers. 

 

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Massive Finishing Lines

The main line is a 630-foot conveyorized line with a 250-foot 5-stage wash and a 60-foot dry-off oven. There are 18 Nordson Color Max automatic guns with an Encore-Eye Control system, plus a Wagner Powder Downdraft Spray Booth with reclaim capability. At the end of the line is a 150-foot cure oven, and the entire system can accommodate parts up to 24 feet long × 37” wide × 78” high, with a 300 pound maximum.

A large batch line has a spray booth measuring 55 feet long × 12 feet high × 14 feet wide, and has a five-stage wash system that is 50 feet long × 15 feet wide. A gas fired dry-off and curing oven is 55 feet long × 12 feet high × 14 feet wide that can accommodate parts 54 feet long × 13.5 feet wide and 11.5 feet weighing as much as 30,000 pounds. There is an overhead hoist and three I-beams each capable of 10,000 pounds each.

A small batch system has a spray booth that is 25 feet long Trojan Workhorses × 15 feet wide × 10 feet high, as well as a five-stage washer that is 50 feet long × 15 feet wide. A dry-off and curing oven is 25 feet long × 10 feet high × 10 feet wide and accommodates parts approximately 24.5 feet long × 9 feet wide × 9 feet high, weighing as much as 350 pounds.

There is also a vinyl paint line that is 24 feet long × 14 feet wide × 10 feet high, as well as a wood grain faux decorative finish or flat sheet finishing system that can coat extrusions up to 24 feet and flat sheets up to 144 feet long.

The New York line is even bigger, checking in at about 1,000 feet of conveyorized line with two wash systems—one for mixed metals and the other for Qualicoat aluminum—and a 75-foot dry-off oven and a Nordson ColorMax 2 Quick Color system with 16 automatic guns. A secondary line is over 500 feet, and the plant also has a paint and a wood grain faux finish line, too.

So with Rein running the show in New York as VP of operations and Chris Banach as plant manager, Troiano runs the Sarasota operations along with his son, Larry, who graduated and moved to Florida to help run that plant.

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Carl, right, and Larry Troiano.

 

 

Making Quality Investments

“We have made an extremely large investment in this plant to help us with the quality of what we put out,” says Larry, who received his master’s degree in business and will eventually run the plant.

“If we have an issue, we want to catch it inside instead of it getting to the customer,” he says. “That takes a lot of time to get it just right. If we have a specifications on what a part needs look like 10 feet away, we want to look at it from three feet.”

It’s a lesson the son learned from the father, and the father learned from the grandfather: get it right in the shop.

“Our customers give the product to their customer, and we know how expensive that can get when it gets that far down the line,” Larry says. “More importantly, you get egg on your face because it seems you can’t deliver quality. We don’t want that type of fiasco.”

The move to Sarasota took away about 33 percent of the business from the New York facility, but Rein was able to bring in additional work to fill the gap, resulting in more business than before. 

This spring, Trojan Powder Coating expanded its operations even more by taking over a liquid Kynar coating operation in Pompano Beach, Florida. Named Trojan Architectural Coaters, the paint line was already well established, Troiano says, applying 2603, 2604 and 2605 paints for the last 25 years, and receiving PPG Certified Applicator Program coater for the last 20 years.

 

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Running the Trojan New York location is Vice President Keith Rein and Plant Manager Chris Banach.

 

 

Second Florida Plant

The facility—managed by Steve Metzger, who has over 30 years of experience—is just over 50,000 square feet, and like New York and Sarasota can accommodate large parts, as well as customer material storage. It also uses Trojan’s pretreatment process of a chromium phosphate immersion.

Being named the No. 1 powder coating operation was a feather in the cap of Troiano, who spends his time traveling between his Sarasota office, his hometown plant in New York and across Florida to the Pompano facility.

“People thought I was nuts when we expanded at a bad economic time, and I wasn’t getting any younger,” says Troiano, still spry in his 60s and in better shape than men half his age. “But you know what? This is what I do. I enjoy it. And I like doing it right for the customer.”

For more information on Trojan Powder Coating, visit trojanpowder.com. 

 

 

 

Originally published in the October 2015 issue.

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