EPSI grows with powder coating


Masking and hanging product manufacturer EPSI had its best year ever in 2011, driven by the growing popularity of powder coating. Based in the Racine County community of Franksville, the company expects to surpass that performance in 2012.

Masking products protect some of a part’s surfaces from paint during the powder coating process.

EPSI’s 2011 revenue was $8.9 million, with revenue of $10.2 million expected in 2012. President Armen Sarajian expects to add between 5 and 8 percent to the workforce each year for the forseeable future.

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Industrial powder coating, an alternative to liquid painting, has been growing between 8 and 10 percent per year over the last 25 years, since it is environmentally friendly and weather resistant, Sarajian said. He plans to expand aggressively in Asian markets, where paint consumption is growing.

“The more that powder grows, the more that we’re going to grow,” he said.

In addition, the higher cost of the industry’s move to lower volume, higher mix manufacturing has resulted in a greater need for cost saving measures like masking products, Sarajian said. Manually taping each part is more time consuming.

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Founded in 1976, EPSI moved its headquarters to southeastern Wisconsin in 1997 to take advantage of the strong industrial market in the Midwest, said CEO Kissak Sarajian.

Keeping paint off certain areas can have a significant impact on functionality of a part.

EPSI also has locations in Cerritos, Calif., Timmonsville, S.C., Indianapolis, Ind., Houston, Texas and Bloomfield, Conn. In addition, there are facilities in the Netherlands, Germany and China.

In its 40,000-square-foot Franksville facility, EPSI engineers design solutions for powder coating and liquid paint processes. Each part that comes in has a different surface and orifices, so the masking solutions are often customized, he said.

The company has more than 25,000 standard masking and hanging products available, Kissak said.

“We mask from earrings to airplanes,” he said.

Its products are manufactured overseas and then EPSI distributes the solutions to customers from the Franksville hub.

EPSI works with global customers in the construction, agriculture and automotive markets. Some of the big names include Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Caterpillar Inc., The Boeing Company and John Deere.

Since he became president in 2003, Armen has expanded the outside sales force to get closer to customers and worked to get EPSI recognized as a value added provider, rather than a last minute solution.

“At the end of the day, finishing is generally the last thing a customer will think about,” Armen said. “By the time the person realized there was a problem, all the time for designing solutions was out of the process.”

EPSI’s masking products include die cut tape solutions, silicone inserts and caps, and other customized solutions that make the process faster and more efficient.

“With the custom silicone solution, it’s quick on and quick off,” said Chad Cushman, a design engineer at EPSI. “Our goal is to save the customers time, and time is money.”

A silicone mask keeps plating from getting onto a mechanical portion of a Harley Davidson part that EPSI worked with, which keeps it working correctly.

“Chrome plating is thin, but still enough to make a bearing not fit,” said Mark Rogman, a design engineer at EPSI.

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