Improving efficiencies is a top priority for many companies, and Technical Glass Products (TGP) in Snoqualmie, Wash., is no exception. Earlier this year, the company saw an opportunity to do just that when it decided to bring the powder coating process in house for its steel products. Tim Anderson, powder coat manager, explains, that steel has a different make-up than aluminum and as a result must be powder coated rather than anodized. TGP had been shipping the products out for powder coating, but by bringing the process in-house the company found it could improve efficiencies.
“It was more efficient for us to produce in-house opposed to shipping out,” says Jeff Razwick, president of TGP.
“It made sense to bring the process in house,” agrees Anderson.
The process began in March of this year and now the new powder coating operations takes up about 20,000 square feet of the company’s 100,000-square-foot facility. Over the past few months the company has done a variety of trial testing and is now taking on some small-scale projects. The company is about two months away from even bigger jobs.
The process begins in what’s called the blasting booth. This is where the steel is basically stripped down of any oxidation that may have occurred. After blasting the steel goes through a thorough five-stage wash, which includes a sealing process that helps keep it from oxidizing again.
Next the product goes into a powder booth. Anderson says they’ve employed a quick-change system of their top eight colors, though custom colors are available as well.
After the powder coating—which actually goes on as a powder—is applied, the steel is cured. This process takes 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The last stage in constructing the steel door, window or curtainwall is the final assembly. If fire-rated, all components, including all of the hardware, must be rated as such as well.
“A lot of work goes into creating these systems,” says Razwick. “It’s very labor intensive.”