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Last Word on Establishing A Holistic Approach to Finishing - Step 5

13. January 2020 13:44

By: Joe Baggett, Innovative Wood Process Solutions

The other day while on a plane coming home and contemplating the final articles of this series. I was listening to my favorite 80s mix, and the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash came on and I was inspired.

While the paradox of the song was about indecision in a romance gone bad it is very analogous to many finishing journeys that are stuck or will be stuck in indecision. In the famous words of Strummer, "If I stay there will be trouble and if I go it will be double."

This is symbolic of how many feel about finishing. It doesn’t have to be that way! It has been the goal with this series of articles to provide a holistic strategy and some of the best questions to create emotional permission and empowerment to move forward and take advantage of the advances in coatings, delivery and curing technology in the wood finishing industry.

So, get ready and go the next level in your finishing journey! 

This last step in the holistic finishing process really is about putting it all together. After having gone through the previous steps the last one is about how it all fits together, sometimes literally. When completing the design of the lines and equipment many times the underlying questions are what are the easiest and lowest cost ways to get into finishing or attempt to make the next step.

 

Meet Joe Baggett August 26 when he
leads the Finishing Symposium at IWF 2020. 

This usually results in the scenarios that have the highest amount of labor or lowest productivity, the lowest transfer efficiency and the longest cure times/cycles. As a general rule the largest amount of real-time and cycle that product sits in the production facility is for finishing. Just recently there was a furniture manufacturer that went from air curing their coatings (1-3 days) to force curing them in a batch oven (8-10 mins).

It shortened their internal lead time by several days. Some of the higher-performing newer coatings that are more compliant with environmental regulations (an example would be water-based 2k) are best applied with forced curing as it significantly reduces cure time. This is an example of how the previous steps in this Holistic process fit together. 

Joe Baggett and a cabinet design engineer at the
Microvellum console and overlooking the plant floor.

After the questions from step IV are answered we suggest significant testing before ordering new equipment or committing to any new formulations.

We also suggest creating buy-in from the coatings suppliers, equipment companies, and the fluid delivery providers, to agree and commit to the anticipated intended results. We suggest taking the formulations and multiple substrates like the ones that will be used in a production scenario and the proposed lines, equipment and fluid delivery system and complete testing in the scenario that will most likely represent the production scenario. Most of the major finishing equipment manufacturers have labs and testing facilities and can make accommodations for this testing. Have a representative from each group, coatings, equipment and fluid delivery present at the testing.

I want to take a moment and emphasize the environment in which the finishing operation will occur. Besides the coatings, equipment and fluid delivery system the environment and most specifically how clean the air is and the temperature of the air in the finishing area and coming into the finishing area is and should be?

Cold air that is contaminated is an enemy of good finishing areas. Then the environment of the area where the wood substrates are kept before finishing is also important. Keeping the BST (board surface temp at 77-100°F and clean is helpful. Many people go and test in a clean environment without temperature extremes or contaminated air, this must be considered in the final design and decisions.

During the testing bring the leaders and operators that would be operating the equipment and applying the new coatings to be a part of the test. This creates buy-in.

Complete the testing confirming or understanding the difference in the intended outcomes. For instance, if the fluid transfer is projected to be 70% and during the testing is resulting in 60%, discuss this with the fluid delivery rep and the coatings rep and the finishing equipment rep. The purpose of this is to create commitment from all parties, not only that the new coatings can perform as intended but to what level of time to cure, transfer efficiency, productivity in labor, and repeatability.

Once successful testing is done the final design of the line and any finishing are environment requirements can be finalized. Many times, the footprint of an existing building becomes a constraining factor. This will also be an opportunity to work on the curing cycles which usually results in smaller line footprints.

While all improvement is change, not all change is improvement. It is very important to engage the internal members of the organization and the equipment, coatings suppliers and fluid delivery in a way communicates the importance, value and purpose of the new finishing strategy. Usually, the finishing area requires the most and best leadership due the definition and adherence to processes. Because there are more variables to finishing than in most other parts of wood working, a good leader of people who is also technically astute with designing and following finishing processes is key to the sustained success of the finishing strategy.

To create buy-in and commitment we encourage the development of a document describing and defining the operation and performance of the new finishing system and AutoCAD layout of the new finishing system. It is even better is all involved parties commit with their signatures.

After final testing is complete, samples of the new finish system should be made and signed off by marketing, manufacturing and all parties involved. Ordering of the new equipment would occur at this point and the permitting process from step three should be finalized at this point with while being synchronized with the permits to construct the new finishing system by the time the new system would arrive and be installed.

The future isn’t what it used to be! It is common when we engage wood finishers to hear of how long they have been doing wood finishing. Let me say it is good to be proud of what one’s accomplishments. However, because of the pace of change it matters less how long something has been done and more how well it is and will be done. I want to reiterate the importance of this being a cycle and journey and not destination.

In Wood Finishing, there paradigm shifts every 3-5 years. It is a good exercise to go through this Holistic Finishing Process as a cycle every 3-5 years.

We aren’t done yet with finishing,  just stopping for now. We would love to continue the discussion with you and your teams at IWF 2020 as we will presenting this same subject but in more detail at the Finishing Seminar. Good luck, see you all at IWF in Atlanta in August 24-28, 2020!

 Joe Baggett is President of Innovative Wood Process  Solutions. Reach him at iwpsolutions19@gmail.com,    817-682-3631. www.iwps.biz

 

 

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