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A Tale of Two Coil Coaters

Posted by Mike Bonner

May 21, 2013 11:15:00 AM

Last week we shared the idea that we all have beliefs about what we can control and what we can’t.  Further, we put forth the bold claim that by challenging these ideas you can drive significant cost savings, as well as quality and process improvements.

In April 2007, we had the opportunity to test this assumption and determine the real impact of controlling the “uncontrollable” variable of the fluctuation of the temperature fluids in the manufacturing process.  We shared the details of the process in the article A Tale of Two Coil Coaters

While the immediate results were impressive, what’s even more impressive is the results have stuck through the long-term.  We’re happy to report (and you can read) that the process improvements are stronger than ever.

In today’s challenging economic environment, the opportunities to capture quick, “low-hanging fruit” improvements are rare.  Luckily, process temperature control is one of those items. 

To illustrate the impact, we’d like to share some of the highlights of this test case, so that you can truly see The Business of Temperature. 

The goal of the project was to reduce the amount of solvents used by at least 50% while improving the consistency, repeatability and efficiency of the process.

Among the improvements that have stuck:

  • Reduced the amount of solvents that needed to be added by more than 75%, resulting in significant savings.
  • 95+% of solvent related defects were eliminated from the production process, leading to significant direct savings and productivity gains. 
  • The process time for a drum of paint to be increased from 65° F to 90° F was kept to less than four minutes, enabling the viscosity to be managed while virtually eliminating the need for solvents.  In addition to significant savings in time and material, in April 2011 Steelscape won the coveted EPA National Partnership Environmental Award and have saved more than 350,000 lbs. of naphthalene over the last five years.
  • They were able to significantly reduce their cost structure through:
    • A 2% reduction in top coat consumption as a result of the elimination of edge-to-edge film variations
    • A 75% reduction in solvent additions to change paint viscosity
    • A 95% reduction in solvent-based defects like blistering and solvent pop
    • A 33% reduction in oven LEL’s, which allows many products to be run at an increased line speed
    • Thickness variations were eliminated


The company also enjoyed a number of other productivity improvements caused by fewer shortages, increased predictability and better quality.

We encourage you to read more about how you can drive such improvements in your production process, and enhance your competitive advantage.

Topics: Manufacturing, cost of temperature, coil coating

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