Using the PCM to Reduce Partial Drums in Metal Roof Coating

    Posted by Mike Bonner

    Aug 7, 2015 11:00:00 AM

    metal roof industrial coating

    Partial drums are a big pain for metal roofing coaters, just as they are for all coil coaters. They have to be handled. They have to be stored. They are full of expensive paint, which represents a cost and has to be accounted for on the books of the business – either as an expense or as an asset. Neither of which is an attractive option!

    Furthermore, because they often contain waste paint, they represent an environmental hazard. Responsibly disposing of these also represents a significant cost to the business.

    Minimizing partial drums is of utmost importance to everybody.

    What is a Partial Drum?

    In our recent blog, "Why Partial Drums Pile Up In Aluminum and Steel Coil Coating," our Sarah Ledford defined a partial drum as a partially full drum containing paint that is left over after a coating run has been completed.

    She related how the volume of partial drums is directly related to fill volume - the minimum paint required to support coating without starve-out – most of which is in the pan. She also revealed that one of the biggest contributors to the number of partial drums is custom colors.

    What is Driving More Partial Drums?

    As the building boom declined, so did the demand for metal roofing stock. Construction companies were no longer sure from where or when their next building project would come along. This made them nervous about carrying inventory – gone was the attitude that “it’s OK, we’ll use it on the next job.”

    Because they didn’t know where their next job was coming from, they also didn’t know what they would need. Often a business can be identified on the street by the color of the roof on its building. For instance, have you ever seen a Long John Silver’s without that distinctive blue roof? Or a Kentucky Fried Chicken without that red? And have you noticed that the KFC red is different from the McDonald’s red?

    The construction companies now wanted – actually needed – to buy exactly what they required, when they required it. This drove smaller lot sizes and custom color demands for metal roofing suppliers. To make matters worse, they were also demanding lower prices – and with the excess capacity in the coil coating marketplace, if one supplier wouldn’t give them what they wanted, another would – just to get the business.

    Keeping These Requirements in Check

    One of our East Coast Coil Coaters, who do a considerable amount of metal roofing stock, implemented the PCM to reduce their fill volume with the goal of making them more competitive on custom color orders.

    Eliminating the volume in the pan by dropping it into a catch-basin configuration, they were able to achieve a fill volume reduction of 75% - from 12 gallons to four gallons! At an average cost of $150/gallon, this represents an average reduction in overhead of $1,200 per custom color job.

    Mission accomplished.

    But there’s more.

    While this makes them more competitive when quoting custom color jobs, the same benefits apply to their repetitive jobs, too. So now, they can be more competitive while enjoying improved margins on both custom color and repetitive jobs.

    Reduced Partial Drums as a Natural Side-Effect

    But reducing the paint volume purchased and consumed in industrial coating projects also impacted their partial drum situation. With less waste paint left over after custom color jobs, more jobs could be combined per waste drum – reducing their number!

    Moreover, on repetitive jobs, the fact that the paint spent most of its time in the drum meant that there was less opportunity for contamination, which also reduced waste. Overall, reducing partial drums was a natural for them – simply by implementing the PCM.

    Download our free Coil World Article to learn more about the module and how it can help your business.

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    Topics: paint and coating, PCM, fill volume

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