Shelley Verdun – PPG business manager, Powder Coatings spoke with Coatings World about the company’s recent acquisition of Alpha Coatings Technologies.
Coatings World: Why was Alpha Coatings Technology an attractive acquisition for PPG?
Verdun: At PPG, we are committed to powder coatings as one of the most sustainable coating solutions. Continued advancements in technology have increased customer confidence in powder coatings, as they prove competitive to liquid solutions in color, durability, efficiency and cost. The acquisition with Alpha Coating Technologies provides additional powder capacity. This includes small batch and low cure powder manufacturing capabilities for general finishes, light industrial, furniture and heat-sensitive substrate end uses. This acquisition also provides emerging IP in low-temperature cure powder technology.
CW: What are Alpha's major product lines, production capacity, etc.?
Verdun: Alpha Coating Technologies is a U.S.-based manufacturer of powder coatings for light industrial applications and heat-sensitive substrates. It is headquartered at its plant in St. Charles, Illinois, just West of Chicago. Alpha technical capabilities fall into two distinct areas – conventional powder technology platforms, such as polyester TGIC, and hybrid coatings, and more novel low-cure powder technologies for wood substrates.
CW: What are some new business opportunities for PPG now that you are able to manufacture smaller batches at faster speeds?
Verdun: With Alpha Coating Technologies’ ultra-responsive small-batch manufacturing model, PPG will now have the ability to not only service high volume colors for customers, but through the acquisition, will now be better positioned to offer quick-turn custom color matching. Alpha offers a five-day guarantee for color matching and manufacturing services for custom colors, which allows PPG to reach a segment of the industry that has been underserved in the past. Additionally, Alpha has built a successful quick-ship RAL program of more than 150 in-stock colors that either ship the same day if in stock or within two days if not in stock. We’re seeing a growing demand for RAL requests by OEMs and job shops who are seeking a less costly and quicker lead time than traditional custom colors. We plan to enhance this program by expanding the RAL program to include varying gloss levels, textures and functionality, such as anti-graffiti and PPG’s SilverSan antibacterial-protected technology.
CW: How does this give you an edge over your competition?
Verdun: The addition of Alpha Coating Technologies to the PPG powder family enhances and accelerates our strategy with advantaged supply execution, product development capability and presence in attractive powder end-uses new to PPG. We will leverage our combined strengths via our new eCommerce website for customers in the U.S. (https://shop.ppgindustrialcoatings.com), allowing us to reach new and existing customers in our market who value visible product selection, fast-order response and ease of purchase. In addition, we will be able to support customers who demand quick-turn custom color matching and five-day lead-time on small batches.
CW: What new markets will open as a result of PPG's enhanced powder coating capabilities?
Verdun: We are excited to enter the growing market for powder on heat-sensitive substrates, such as medium density fiberboard (MDF), high-density fiberboard (HDF) and hardwoods. Powder coatings are revolutionizing the MDF market because they offer design freedoms that other finishing methods and laminating processes can’t provide. With advancements in materials, application and curing methods, powder coatings are capable of sealing the board substrate, providing a moisture barrier, and creating a beautiful, durable, seamless finish. In addition, powder is applied and cured in one step, eliminating the need for multiple coats, sanding and long dry times. MDF has become a popular composite material used in the industry because it is uniform, dense, smooth and free of knots and grain patterns. The use of MDF continues to grow in markets such as office furniture, kitchen, bath and garage cabinets, store fixtures and displays. Through PPG’s commitment to sustainability, we also believe in helping our customers reach their sustainable goals. By using powder coating instead of laminates to finish MDF, a user can eliminate the usage of edge backing, adhesives and solvents, and, as a result, reduce their carbon footprint.
CW: What are the plans for the future?
Verdun: At PPG, we are committed to investing and innovating in powder coatings. We are focused on servicing our customers while developing benchmark technologies that will solve our customers’ most pressing problems.