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Thurston Manufacturing

Thurston Manufacturing Company

The new PerformaLoc Polyaspartic Coating doubled capacity

Thurston Manufacturing Company is located in Thurston, NE and for more than 40 years they have supplied Blu-Jet® tillage and fertilizer equipment to the farm industry.  Thurston holds the patent on the original Circle R® Side Dump Trailer sold primarily into the heavy duty construction market.

As Thurston’s product offering and customer base expanded so did their needs. Not only did they need to increase production, but they also wanted to offer a higher quality finish.  These are two goals that were normally thought to be contradictory to each other and a compromise typically had to be made, trading off some of one for the other. 

They had been using a direct to metal polyurethane.  This gave them the high gloss finish they were after and it helped speed production as a primer was not used.  However, they also wanted to increase the durability of their coating and increase the value this process added for their customers.  A search began for alternate coating systems.  

First, they tried a rust-inhibitive epoxy primer.  This would enhance the corrosion protection but it also created a bottleneck in the paint booth as they now had to allow time for the primer to dry before topcoating.  Thurston wanted to provide a wet coating that would not add the additional cost of an oven and baking process to their costing and pricing, but still provide a high quality finish that would go toe-to-toe with or outperform powder coating in the field.  This prompted further searching for other high end type options.

Thurston needed the coating system to adhere to cold rolled steel, offer corrosion protection and  be fast drying all while delivering a final finish that was smooth, glossy and aesthetic appealing.  The paint finish also should have very high UV durability as the final product would be used outside in the elements.  Additionally, any paint finish would have to be resistant to liquid and dry fertilizers as well as any other chemicals used in the farming industry.

Ryan Jensen (COO/Controller) called his PPG representative to set up a time to discuss options.  During their discussion, Thurston was asked what was most important and to establish priorities.  PPG promised to find or develop a product to meet their needs.  Ryan knew they had “asked for the world and didn’t want to make any trade offs.”

After much discussion and several trials, PPG found a coating system to meet all of the requirements: adhesion, UV stability, corrosion protection, chemical resistance and fast air-dry times.  The system was Spectracron 581/582, a Wet-on-Wet 2K Epoxy Primer along with the PerformaLoc™ Polyaspartic Coating

The Spectracron 581/582 Epoxy Primer can be used as a wet on wet system meaning it can be topcoated in as little as 10 minutes with a two-component polyurethane or polyaspartic without fear of hazing or delamination, a benefit unique to this system.   

The topcoat, PerformaLoc Polyaspartic Coating has a very short pot life.  With that in mind, PPG recommended a proportioning machine.  This would enable precisely measured components and blend them together for spraying. PerformaLoc Polyaspartic Coating dries to touch in 10 – 30 minutes.  It can be taped and handled in 45 minutes.  No force dry time in an oven dramatically increased throughput and saved in energy costs.

Ryan was pleased with all the work and effort put forth.  PPG ran a series of side by side lab tests pitting a TGIC Polyester powder against the proposed liquid system.  Comparing salt spray, humidity and QUV, the liquid epoxy primer/polyaspartic topcoat system prevailed refuting a common perception that powder is better.  When it came to the proportioning equipment, Ryan noted that PPG “worked side by side with the equipment suppliers and the painters and spent a lot of time to make sure it was right.  They made sure mixing ratios were right and the system doubled capacity and we didn’t have to handle parts twice.”  When asked about the service Ryan said “all it takes is a phone call and we have someone here.  The support has been fantastic.  Service is still as good today as in the beginning.  (They even) stopped at our customer’s place to follow up a problem.”

BLU-JET and CIRCLE R are registered trademarks of Thurston Manufacturing Company

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