ORANGE CITY, Iowa — While liquid paints remain the base product at Vogel Paints Inc., the Orange City, Iowa-based company’s powder coating division provides another layer for it to build on.
The 91-year-old company broke ground on a 91,000-square-foot expansion in spring 2016 to its then 14-year-old 66,000-square-foot powder coating facility located on its expansive Sioux County seat campus.
Finished slightly ahead of schedule, the three-story $19.5 million addition went online in early October. A community open house to mark the occasion was held Thursday.
The state-of-the-art climate controlled facility will someday host 15 production lines, eventually employ 50 people and help Vogel meet increased demand for its powder coating products.
It's also considered the first phase of a five-year $29.3 million expansion plan for Vogel’s powder coating operations that will ultimately more than double the division’s output.
“It was probably 1999 when we first just started messing around the edges of this a little bit and since then I mean everyone is getting into powder coating if they’re an original equipment manufacturer,” said Matt Ferring, Vogel’s director of corporate marketing.
Ferring noted the demand for powder coating is on the upswing, something industry analysts have also taken into account.
Globally, powder coating is projected to reach a market value of $16.55 billion dollars by 2024, according to Grand View Inc., a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm.
Prior to the expansion going online, Vogel was running its original facility at maximum production capacity so the new addition has helped alleviate some of that burden.
One reason powder coating continues to gain popularity and increase its market share is due to its "transfer efficiency," Ferring said.
Transfer efficiency is the term used to explain how much paint ends up on the product a customer is trying to paint versus how much is wasted in the process.
Powder coating is a dry finishing process typically applied electrostatically that is then cured under heat to allow it to flow and form a covering over the item it's applied to.
“(Transfer efficiency) is so much higher than what you would get with a liquid coating,” Ferring said. “Also, we remove some of the concerns with solvents and so on; powder coatings are completely free of solvents so a lot of operations see a big benefit to that too.”
Powder coating has become the fastest growing internal component of Vogel's varied business operations, which includes everything from producing traffic paint to operating about 70 service centers across the country.
Despite that development, Mark Vogel, the company’s vice president of corporate business development, doesn’t see this as a determinant to its liquid coating counterpart.
In fact, Mark Vogel — who is part of the third-generation of family ownership and a grandson of company founder Andrew Vogel — thinks the two areas help with corporate synergy.
“Liquid coating is an absolutely essential technology both current and in the future,” he said. “In many ways, with powder coating, we are gaining market share so it’s growing internally to Vogel but nationwide it’s not growing as much as we are experiencing.”
Ferring added: “The other thing powder coating allows us to do is introduce our liquid coatings to markets that may not have been aware of in the past too.”
Vogel developed a strong reputation in the Midwest because of the quality of its consistent quality of its paints and its emphasis on strong customers service.
However, the company wants to use its powder coating division, which has a global customer base that ranges from small shops to renown manufacturing firms, as an inlet to promote all of Vogel’s offerings.
“We are going out farther geographically because of the ease of shipping of a non-flammable, non-hazardous product; we can go farther from the factory than we do with liquid coatings,” Mark Vogel said. “In that process, though, there’s no reason not to go out farther with liquid because it’s drawing us farther away.”
With a few more years worth of improvements still to come to the powder coating plant, Mark Vogel foresees more growth for the division, something he and other company officials look forward to.
"We are excited — very excited — to have this (online)," he said. "The timing is just perfect because we know we need it."