MGM Installs New Automated Paint Line

August 25, 2009

With plans to target the clad-wood window market, MGM Industries recently installed an automated vacuum coater/paint line for its vinyl profiles.  Unlike other paint lines used by vinyl extruders, the new line automatically transfers profiles between the cleaning, painting and backing process, eliminating the handling that can sometimes create adhesion problems, as well as speeding the operation, reports Abe Gaskins, president of the Tennesee-based manufacturer.

MGM's vacuum coating line is designed to eliminate much of the handling and hand cleaning typically seen in vinyl paint processes.

Gaskins says he's been researching the painting of vinyl for the past four years. His search led him to Schiele Machinenbau GmbH in Germany, a supplier of vacuum coating equipment that has also provided equipment to a number of large extruders. Sharing his concerns about the hand cleaning of profiles he'd seen in other operations, as well as the handling involved in the paint process, Gaskins asked for a completely automated line that could pre-clean the profiles and apply the paint in one continuous process.  Working with Schiele, as well as Stiles Machinery, its distributor in North America, that equipment has now been in place at MGM's facility for several months, and the company has since been doing test runs on various paint formulations.

In addition to looking at equipment, Gaskins also has spent time researching paint. He determined the vinyl window market is relatively small for the biggest paint suppliers, and they tend not to devote a lot of resources to it. As a result, he has opted to work with a smaller supplier able to devote the resources to developing a product that will adhere will to the vinyl. "With some paints, you can take a fingernail and sometimes peel it off the vinyl. With our paint, you can take a key and bear down on it, and it will not come off," he says. "We feel that we will be offering an automotive grade finish and will be able to monitor the 'wet film' thickness that will optimize both the surface finish and the adhesion of the paint to the vinyl."

Now that MGM has completed the trial runs with its new paint line and fomulation, "we can go right after clad," Gaskins states. "The market's there," he continues. Enjoying success for many years with a double-hung product that looks like a shop wood window, he predicts the availability of color will open up many new opportunities, including big projects where the architects demand color, but will also welcome an economically-priced alternative to aluminum clad products.

MGM is starting production runs this week with the new line producing more than 1,500 bronze over tan single-hung windows for a job in Texas.

"We feel that we will have the best paint system in the country, and we'll be able to produce volume jobs in paint. Up to now paint has been offered more on a boutique basis by many companies," Gaskins concludes."Nobody has made the major plunge to enter the market in a big way. This investment, obviously, changes that scenario."

MGM and Stiles Machinery are hosting an open house to show the new vacuum coating line at the window manufacturer's Hendersonville, Tenn., plant on October 15-16. Information on that event can be obtained by emailing MGM's Abe Gaskins or Stiles' Jim Stube.