Sustainable Coating Tech Meets OEM SpecificationsMon, 09/01/2014 - 16:32
“Our strong relationship with Volkswagen is one of the reasons Eisenmann decided to set up its Mexican base in Puebla,” says Luis Gerardo Barrales, Head of Sales of Eisenmann. A leader in plastics painting and coating applications, the company has also worked with Honda in Celaya on painting plastic parts for interiors. The company’s client list bears little relation to geography as Eisenmann is as comfortable working with Nissan, Toyota, Daimler, and BMW among others. Nevertheless, Eisenmann’s success stories and capacities have increased as it forayed outside Germany, given the technological specifications and requirements put forward by Asian OEMs alone.
At the moment, Barrales says his company is working to cover a growing demand for plastic components and wheels, areas in which Eisenmann has plenty of expertise. In fact, Eisenmann has a specific department in Germany that concentrates on the development of painting applications for aluminum wheels. The company is also working in powder coating applications. Barrales comments that in this segment, products can be distributed through Tier 1 companies or directly through body shops. For instance, the E-Scrub is a sustainable coating system, focused on automotive applications, that uses an electrostatic paint separation system implemented to reduce the amount of waste material. This results in savings by using less paint and producing less waste material to be stored and handled, by ensuring a very low percentage of remaining particles in the exhaust air. Similarly, the E-Cube technology can be used in any wet paint application, and is based on a filtration method that removes overspray from the air without the need for chemicals, water, or other additives. Barrales explains that instead of using expensive water treatment processes, Eisenmann developed a separator method of modules (cartridges) that remove paint particles for the overspray (air). Motorized shutters ensure that E-Cube modules can be individually removed and replaced during periods when the plant is not in use. Waste material goes into the cartridge, providing storage in little space. “This technology allows end customers to use painting materials in an efficient way, while reducing the amount of scrap with the cartridges. These have to be changed once per month, depending on usage,” says Barrales, adding that this technology reduces waste material from 20% to 10%. Every time Eisenmann develops a product, the company first eyes the local potential for each product in different markets. “It is likely that a product that is not suited for the European market might find a place in Asia, Brazil, or India. It does not make sense to build a product in Mexico and ship it to Germany because of costs and logistics, but perhaps the design could find a use in Germany,” explains Barrales. For instance, last year Eisenmann developed a skid conveyor system specifically tailored for the Mexican market. Barrales says Volkswagen requested this product and that it was designed, built, and installed by Eisenmann’s Mexican engineering department. “I see a lot of potential opportunities for this skid conveyor system. The idea is that, once we increase its installed base, we will share it with the rest of our subsidiaries. Our local developments can be used globally by the rest of the company and for other clients.” To ensure the company’s standards are complied with in its Mexican subsidiary, local engineers who work for Eisenmann have received training in Germany.
Eisenmann’s commitment to the environment goes beyond its coating technology, according to Barrales. The company recently entered the markets of eco-applications and environmental technologies. “Sustainability has become really important, particularly for larger companies. We see a lot of opportunities not just on the automotive side, but also in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.” In addition to increasing its presence in the paint and body shop lines, Eisenmann is also aiming at expanding its portfolio in environmental technology, such as water treatment and air purification systems that can be integrated as part of its paint lines. In cases where a customer is looking for certain environmental advantages, Eisenmann can fit its technology to the customer’s requirements. Furthermore, Barrales claims most of his company’s applications fit well in the automotive industry. “In the case of Volkswagen’s Think Blue strategy which seeks to reduce CO2 emissions, we work with the OEM to make sure that our systems provide efficient solutions for reducing polluting emissions. Eisenmann is willing to develop new things with our customers if needed, although most of our technology fits their needs well already.”
Eisenmann’s strategy for Mexico is to develop a supplier base consisting of third-party organizations. The purpose is to reduce costs while maintaining the company’s international quality levels, helping it to increase its installed base in Mexico, as well as increase its presence in Central America. For example, Eisenmann has two suppliers in Puebla that develop products with quality standards similar to those of German-based suppliers at very attractive prices. “We avoid paying additional costs in taxes, fees, and transportation by having good suppliers in Mexico,” tells Barrales.