It’s no surprise that the auto industry is seeking to replace some of its existing processes with more environmentally benign operations. But in today’s tough economic climate, “environmentally friendly” technologies have to do more than just benefit the environment; they also must have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. At Ford Motor Co.’s Research and Innovation Center (RIC) in Dearborn, MI, researchers have been testing a new atmospheric plasma pretreatment technology that promises to achieve both goals.
When the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented stringent permissible exposure limits for hexavalent chromium in early 2006, the goals seemed impossible. Achieving the same or higher levels of performance with chrome-free technologies, particularly in the aerospace industry, simply didn’t appear feasible. The hurdles were too great. The costs were too high. The finishing industry collectively groaned, “We can’t.” OSHA set the bar and said, “Try it.” And guess what - we’ve come a long way.
Whether your finishing operation has already felt the effects of a slowdown or is simply bracing for the possibility, implementing processes and technologies that improve efficiency, productivity and quality can have a substantial impact on where your profit margins end up during 2008.
Thierica Equipment recently has taken its quest for quality and service to a new level with a 3,600 ft2 test lab that will allow finishing professionals to validate paint application methods and develop new products. Located within Thierica’s 84,000 ft2 manufacturing facility, the new lab is designed to help facilitate technology advances.
How can a company using 15,000 to 18,000 gallons of water and 165 to 185 gallons of chemical cleaning agent per month decrease its usage to less than 1,200 gallons of water and 7 gallons of cleaning agent per month, to save up to $17,000 per year? Robert Miller from TASROP, Inc., believes he has the answer in the form of a new recycling system.
A warm winter forecast and adequate natural gas supplies were supposed to keep natural gas prices in the U.S. in check, at least in the short term. Instead, natural gas prices have continued to be highly volatile, thanks to a bottleneck in storage and pipeline capacity.
In today's competitive manufacturing environment, product and process information is often a closely guarded secret. Logic seems to dictate that companies that are more enigmatic about their operations have a better chance of gaining a competitive edge. However, the opposite is actually true. Working closely with your suppliers can help you optimize your products - and your profitability.
According to a recent report from BASF, car buyers who want to stay up-to-date when choosing the color of their cars in the next few years will opt for striking, mixed colors that defy the definition of classic aesthetics. New trend-setting colors will no longer fit traditional descriptions like green, blue or gray, but will instead require names that reflect exotic combinations of colors and effects, such as "petrel-gray" or "greige" (a combination or gray and beige).
Our October issue has a big focus on powder coating technology. We also feature information on rheology, metallic effect pigments and the role and challenges of distributors. October includes distributor profiles as well.