George Koch Sons recently completed the design and installation of a turnkey powder system at Nortek’s Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila HVAC Manufacturing Facility to support the company’s transition from the use of pre-painted steel coils to an in-house powder application process. The system creates a centralized location for Nortek’s Coahuila HVAC production, provides a durable surface finish, prompt lead time, and intuitive user control.

The in-house, GKS system places all stages of Nortek’s HVAC manufacturing under one roof, eliminating shipping variables that had the potential to create unforeseen delays that could increase lead times. Aside from its practicality, the system includes Koch Smart Controls with human machine interference capabilities to provide full user control and ease of operation; a component that is especially useful when familiarizing oneself with the system’s unique operating process.

“The operating process begins with a pretreatment bath that cleanses parts to prevent reactions between the metal surface and paint ingredients, resulting in a paint application that is blemish-free and able to withstand harsher conditions than many pre-treated metals. I believe this equipment is the missing piece to Nortek’s production process, and I’m honored that Nortek placed their trust in GKS to provide what we believe to be the best solution for their company,” said General Manager for GKS Mexico, Antonio Gallegos.

“While Nortek is stepping into unfamiliar territory by taking on our own paint finishing process, GKS has done a great job helping us adjust to the new equipment. The GKS team has been patient, communicated thoroughly, and asked all the necessary questions to permit a smooth installation. I feel confident that GKS will stick around long beyond the system’s installation to deliver support and assistance as needed,” said Nortek Manufacturing Engineer, Alejandro Leal.

About George Koch Sons

George Koch Sons, a division of Koch Enterprises, designs, engineers, fabricates, and installs automated finishing systems for all major coating technologies, including liquid, powder, electrocoat, porcelain enamel, anodizing, and plating systems. Our team operates from five different locations spread throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe to deliver the most reliable systems and the best customer experiences in the markets we serve.

Weeks before the onset of COVID-19, Lifetime Products partnered with George Koch Sons LLC to design, fabricate, and install a powder finishing system to support its business demand. For many, Lifetime’s trademark basketball goals, play sets, and outdoor equipment provided a necessary and safe distraction from everyday life during the pandemic. As a result, Lifetime found itself helping mitigate the negative impacts of social isolation. Maintenance and Facilities Director at Lifetime, Jayson Barnes, credited much of Lifetime’s response to their collaboration with Koch, saying the installation process, constant communication, and performance of the system made it possible to fulfill customer’s recreational needs at a time when social events have proven dangerous for physical health and safety.

In April, Koch mobilized onsite to begin the installation of the system. Barnes, a first-time customer for Koch, was pleasantly surprised by the sense of urgency and detail shown by Koch throughout the building and installation process. When unforeseen obstacles arose, Koch was able to quickly remedy a solution that ensured smooth installation and timeliness. “I’ve worked with so many other companies, and between cleaning up messes, issues with parking, and monitoring safety regulations, the installation process can sometimes feel like a nonstop babysitting interaction, that was not the case at all with Koch,” said Barnes.

Koch Project Manager, Seth Johannemann, touched on the virtually flawless communication between Koch and Lifetime, saying, “We faced an adverse and unprecedented pandemic environment coupled with 1,500 miles separating our locations. Still, communication and conflict resolution were streamlined due to diligence demonstrated by both teams.”

At a time when many of Lifetime’s product demands have seen a rapid increase, Koch’s comprehensive system engineering and high-quality manufacturing have been transformative in accelerating production rates. Describing Lifetime’s dire need for products over the last six months, Barnes stated, “At one point in time some of us were working six days a week to provide play sets, basketball systems, and kayaks for people who wanted their kids to be outside. Without those things, depression and other problems escalate quickly.” Lifetime’s new system allows for a rapid line speed of 18 feet per minute, a 98% uptime performance, and the ability to simultaneously run different parts. Barnes says the Koch system has exceeded his expectations and positively influenced the lives of Lifetime’s customers.

While the last six months have created unfavorable circumstances for many, Lifetime has provided a necessary distraction from harsh realities imposed by the pandemic. The outdoor equipment company is proud to be a reliable source of support for its customers during uncertain times and feels confident the Koch system will continue to allow for consistent, high-quality production. Koch is humbled to play a fundamental role in Lifetime’s efficient pandemic response and looks forward to collaborating on future projects.