In their book The Speed of Trust… The One Thing That Changes Everything, Steven Covey and Rebecca Merrill highlight an issue that long has resonated for Modean Industries and its customers: the importance of building and sustaining trust. But trust doesn’t come easily. It’s a collaborative effort. In the end though, maintaining customer trust is good not only for a company’s bottom line, but also for its reputation. For as long as Modean has been in operation, these have been core values. They also have been key to our success in the industry.
As many in the finishing industry already are aware, it was Hani T. Azzam of Modean Industries (formerly Interrad Corporation) who introduced powder coating to the United States in 1969. This was a crucial transition point for the industry. Making the switch to powder involved a leap of faith. In order to convince a customer to switch his product application to a powder coating system, we had not only to allay that customer’s fears, but also gain his trust. We needed to assure — and demonstrate — that we would be there every step of the way, from installation, to start up, to service. Trust… Because we succeeded in achieving it, order after order came to our company, and our credibility grew. Products ranged from automotive air conditioning mufflers, to outdoor cast iron furniture, to aluminum doors and windows. We even worked on the very first automobile ever to receive a powder coated finish.
In the 1970s, powder coating was not a known product. People wanted to have their products coated, but how? Customers had concerns about engaging a young company that was still relatively unknown. Even though our company management had been working for aerospace, automotive and industrial businesses for years, we were still a startup.
- So company employees learned to “listen first”.
- We all made sure that anything we offered the customer was also something we could deliver on.
- And we delivered quality work.
The strategy produced results. As David Simard, Director of Public Safety Products, Smith & Wesson, noted:
“Modean Industries completed the installation on time and on budget. They stuck with us from the beginning, … trained our personnel and ensured the success of our production process.… Modean Industries proved to be a dedicated and trusted partner, staying with the process until repeatable results were achieved.”
By listening closely to our customers, our engineers were better able to understand customer requirements. And understanding these requirements in turn opened up tremendous possibilities for developing new coating solutions. Here are a few key milestones as they happened in the early stages of powder coating development:
- Pollution-free: Early on, we realized that any new process we proposed had to be completely pollution-free. This meant totally eliminating solvents and making sure the shop stayed clean and safe. Details of this can be read in our article, “Energy, Ecology, Economy & Excellence. “The 4 E’s of Powder Coating”.
- Leading the way: The second important development happened at Singer Sewing Machine Company, where we led the conversion from liquid to powder coating. Up until this point, powder coating had never been used as an industrial coating for anything except electrical control cabinets and other similar parts. But the conversion project at Singer proved to be a tremendous success — not just environmentally friendly and production-efficient, but cost-saving as well. As a result, the way was opened for powder coating to become used for a wide range of products. Sales increased too. The coating was thin and good-looking, which appealed to customers. Powder companies started to offer hundreds of colors with an exceptional quality finish.
- A better coating gun: Through our experience with the installation at Singer, our partners in Switzerland were able to develop a more advanced powder coating gun. The generator became placed within the gun itself. This made electrostatic coatings safer and created the flexibility to use the gun on robots, reciprocators, etc. We also developed a deflector-less gun to coat the inside of boxes without creating rejects by the accumulated powder on the face of the deflector and causing rejects.
- A better booth: With the development of the twin air booth, our engineers were able to design the two largest booths in existence today at GM.
- A better 3D reciprocator: Collaborating with our partners in Switzerland, we were able to develop 3D reciprocators where the gun was more flexible. It could go in and out, up and down, and it could move horizontally along the path of the conveyor.
- More colors: With the availability of more colors, our engineers developed the quick color change process whereby several booths could roll on and off the coating line.
Today, powder coating technology developments are continuing at a rapid pace. But although available technologies have changed dramatically over the last 40+ years, many have built upon the foundation that was laid by Modean Industries management. For numerous industries, we were the first to develop powder coating systems. Collectively, this helped establish powder coating as a dominant force in the coatings industry.
In short, yes, there is a reason why customers have trusted their projects to Modean Industries for so many years: dedication, integrity, expertise and commitment to quality results.
To learn more about Modean Industries’ work in powder coating, please refer to our numerous case studies online.