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# Painting Q&A: Profitability of 2K Mixing Equipment

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Q. How does 2K electronic mixing equipment improve my profitability?

A. To improve your finishing profitability, you must first understand the current costs of your finishing operation. To uncover finishing costs, focus on the mixing and painting processes of a finishing operation. The questions below are examples of what data to gather from your finishing operations:

• How long does it take to fill one drum of waste?
• What is the average cost of your paint?
• What is your average painter labor rate per hour?
• What is your average paint usage per shift?
• How long does it take to clean your finishing equipment between color changes and at the end of the shift?
• How many parts are finished per shift/per booth?

The example below compares Booth 1 (hand mixing) to Booths 2 and 3, which both have 2K electronic mixing equipment.

From the data gathered by understanding the customer’s processes, we notice the gallons of paint used per spray booth is about the same, but once we understand the number of parts being painted (in this case, all the parts are the same for each booth), we uncover Booth 1 uses more paint per part.

The table shows the results from the time spent collecting additional information from each of our booths. The results show that Booth 1 generates approximately \$99,000 less profit per year compared to Booth 2. We also notice that Booth 3 generates approximately \$37,000 less than Booth 2.

We are now ready to answer the original question: How does 2K electronic mixing equipment help improve profitability? With this example it would take approximately 1–3 business days to collect this information. If three days is too long to focus on collecting information, newer 2K electronic mixing equipment can assist by automatically tracking your finishing costs including material and labor. With this additional data that focuses on how painters perform with the equipment, we can focus on the profitability differences, implement changes to the finishing process and use the equipment to track our changes.

 Booth 1 Booth 2 Booth 3 Color 1 usage total/shift 5 gal 4.39 gal 4.11 gal Total solvent usage/shift 3 gal 0.85 gal 1.35 gal Average color change time 15 min. 2.25 min. 3 min. Number of parts painted 6 8 7 Average paint usage/part .83 gal .55 gal .59 gal Total profit less cost/ year for painting \$131,749 \$231,000 \$194,291

Is an opportunity to save \$100,000 worth three days of work? As soon as we collect this information, we can begin to understand why the profitability is different per booth and more importantly how to improve the performance per booth. Booth 1 had not upgraded to 2K electronic mixing equipment and the data proved the difference in performance.

When a customer upgrades to 2K electronic mixing equipment, it is usually to reduce the amount of waste produced from hand mixing paint. However, the additional costs are a combination of additional solvent waste, additional labor needed to mix paint and, ultimately, less throughput of parts per shift. If your production line can handle the additional parts per shift, 2K equipment can improve your profitability by up to \$100,000 per year.

The other way newer 2K electronic mixing equipment can assist is by gathering this information plus a lot more to assist in automatically tracking your finishing costs. With this additional data that focuses on how painters perform with the equipment, we can focus on the profitability differences, implement changes to the finishing process and use the equipment to track our changes. Without the data, you will only be guessing if the changes you implement help your process.

With the right data and employees that understand the finishing process, continuous improvement projects can be put into place that will result in increased profitability. The right equipment and experienced help can improve all spray booths in the finishing industry; it is just a matter of having the right data.

Justin Hooper is the product manager at Finishing Brands, makers of DeVilbiss, Ransburg, BGK and Binks products. He can be reached at jhooper@finishingbrands.com, or at 630-660-4377.

Originally published in the February 2016 issue.

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