Contract Tier 3 paint services are in demand. With a booming economy, OEM and Tier 1 automotive and power sports manufacturers are at max production capacity and their in-house paint facilities can’t always keep up.
Outsourcing class “A” painting is becoming more popular, and cost effective.
Companies that can take customer’s products and paint them to a high specification, with modern and efficient equipment can solve the dilemma of limited production capacity for their customer base.
Contract painters typically focus only on paint process and leave the parts production, whether plastic or metal, to their customers. Modern job tracking systems allow for a fairly seamless “in and out” service. Top quality paint process is the main focus for the contract painter.
With a singular focus, contract painters tend to be ahead of the curve in terms of technology and cost effectiveness. Having to apply many colors, and many types of paint means that using out dated painting technology is a non-starter. Pig-able paint circulation systems using flexible hose instead of rigid piping, and point of application viscosity control system allow forward thinking painters to control their quality, reduce paint and solvent waste and be extremely efficient with their labor costs, as well as their initial costs for capital equipment.
Having a semi load of your customer’s parts on site means that first pass yield is ultra-important. Creating scrap is the quickest route to lost profits. For this reason, the most efficient paint shops are often specialty contract paint shops.
Dan Leadstrom of Industrial Finishing Services in Perham, MN., reiterated the importance of precision and flexibility. “When your customer base runs the gamut from Harley Davidson, to Ski-do, to GM to Toyota, you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game. Time is money, and quality control is money. No two jobs are the same. Being able to process the job, on-time and to spec is the only way we can succeed, so we focus on the best technology, metrics and methodologies.”
Chris May of Albar Industries in Lapeer, MI, echoed the sentiments. “We’re looking at implementing a new viscosity control system from FSI, for our color and clear-coat booths, that should take our first pass yield to over 95%. We’ll save a ton of paint, solvent and labor, and our emissions will go down and color match and quality will improve dramatically.”
Just in time delivery is a primary concern in any industrial process and the ability to deliver on time is key in contract paint services, but being able to deliver on time and to spec is why contract painting demands a premium price. The jobs they do are often urgent projects for their customer base.
Time will tell if the trend towards contract painting will persist, but for now it seems to be a win win for customers and service providers alike. It’s likely that a case could be made by the customers of contract painting, to increasingly outsource the services to companies that can focus exclusively on being experts on just paint process. In the larger scheme of things it’s likely that outsourcing is more cost effective for the customer, especially as a larger percentage of their product goes that direction. Being able to eliminate a step in manufacturing that is very costly and regulatory may allow Tier 1 customers to be better, more efficient “turnkey” providers to their OEM customers. Tier 3 contract painting may be a niche that will grow over time as each technology becomes more and more specialized. It’s a niche to follow for sure.