Times like the ones we are living with right now can make anyone a little paranoid. People who know me well, also know that I can be a little paranoid whenever potential threats arise in business and life in general. For most, getting the adjective “paranoid” used to describe them isn’t an endearing compliment. However, the teachings of Andy Grove, one of my business idols, suggests that some element of paranoia in business; especially during times like these is imperative.

Mr. Grove – Only the Paranoid Survive

Book Cover: Only the Paranoid SurviveAs many of you already know, Mr. Grove was a brilliant visionary and significant reason for the meteoric rise of INTEL Corporation. Mr. Grove also wrote several books; one of which; “Only the Paranoid Survive” has influenced me over my years in  business. In this book,

Mr. Grove refers to the term “Strategic Inflection Point”; he used to describe those moments business leader must face when a significant change occurs in their industry and threatens their very existence. In these moments, the ordinary rules of business have been made irrelevant and if immediate adjustments and changes to adapt to these changes aren’t made, companies can perish.

Looking Ahead

While the death toll of the Coronavirus is unlikely to rival tens of millions of people that perished during the 1918-19 Spanish Flu, the financial impact of the Coronavirus will negatively impact almost everyone for years to come. New rules are being developed that will require adaptation by not only industry but society in general.

As 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” (provided we learn from it).

Best wishes for good health to everyone.

The Food Processing & Handling (FP&H) industry is seeing greater use of High-Pressure Processing (HPP) techniques. These techniques require Production Equipment to be able to handle higher production rates, different processing methods and various ingredients.

For example, many fast foods contain enough salt to drive up the alkalinity in the production environment. Combine that with production temperatures of over 140⁰ F (60⁰ C) even Stainless Steel can begin to corrode. This of course can lead to higher risks of food contamination.

ECS believes you can “have your cake and eat it too”

We offer high-performing polymer coatings that provide excellent non-stick/easy clean properties. These coatings also fit the bill for operating at on-going temps of 500⁰ F (260⁰ C), have permeation and corrosion resistance, and outstanding chemical resistance to concentrated chemicals. So how do you get to eat your cake? Our coatings provide all of those benefits as well as wear/abrasion resistance. It’s rare that you get these performance characteristics in one coating.

For more information please contact Jim Stuelke at jim@ecs-ww.com or call him direct at 816.381.9901.

Arrowhead Stadium saw its share of magic this past season as the Chiefs saw a lot of hard work come to fruition when they won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. During the play-off run leading to the Super Bowl; Travis Kelce, tight-end for the Chiefs re-purposed the title of the hit song by the Beastie Boys; “You have to Fight for the Right to Party(!)” to rally the team (and Fans) with each win.

Spay and Neuter Kansas City (SNKC)Like the Chiefs, the team at Spay Neuter Kansas City (SNKC); a not-for-profit organization has also put in countless hours of work resulting in incredible, life-changing “wins” for citizens and animals of Kansas City. So, our “party” is the Spay Neuter Gala which coincidentally for the first time ever is being hosted at Arrowhead Stadium on February 28th.

The Gala is sold out, but if you have a heart for animals and the SNKC Mission, here is a link to make donations.

Part of what makes SNKC so special is their smart approach to reducing homeless dogs and cats.

SNKC Gala is February 28th. 2020SNKC’s root cause approach starts with focusing on the 12 zip codes in the Kansas City, Missouri Urban Core and 2 in Kansas City, Kansas. Root cause in the sense that these zip codes are responsible for nearly 80% of animal control calls. Michelle Rivera, founder of SNKC has done an incredible job of leading an equally incredible team which has produced meaningful results:

  • Nearly 120,000 spay and neuter surgeries have been performed since 2002.
  • Over 25,000 pets are served by our organization each year.
  • An average of 11,000 spay neuter surgeries and around 12,000 pet vaccinations annually through their wellness clinics each year for low income pet owners.

Jim Stuelke, CEO of Extreme Coating Solutions, and his wife, Gina have supported SNKC for years. Gina, who owns Kenton Brothers, a commercial security systems company is a sponsor for this year’s Gala. Gina shares her feelings for SNKC in the video below..

At Extreme Coating Solutions (ECS), we typically characterize ourselves as a “functional” coating applicator. In other words, we apply coatings that not only protect the surface, but also enhance that surface by giving it non-stick or heat dissipation “functional” properties (or both). As a result, we get to see a wide range of product parts for an equally wide range of unique applications.

Acrylic Teeth Replicas

Tooth Be Told - Acrylic Tooth ReplicasOne unique project that we provide the final finishes for at our facility involves acrylic teeth replicas used as teaching tools for dental students. In the beginning, there were a number of different coating options we tested to achieve our client’s specific criteria. Collaborative work with the client included the development of customized painting jigs, which not only minimized variables that could result in quality issues, but also minimized the handling required to process the parts.

These tooth replicas are going to be teaching tools, so cosmetic appearance matters. The students need to be able to see the intricate veins and features within the roots of each tooth.

We ultimately settled on Dyna-Tek’s DT-5000 clear polymer coatings. Its combination of visual clarity, relatively fast ambient cure time, and hardness allows us to consistently deliver high-quality finishes on each tooth.

This project didn’t require any of the industrial functionalities that most of our projects do; such as chemical-resistance, non-stick properties, heat and/or abrasion resistance… this client simply required consistently good looking teeth replicas.

Tooth be told, we are good at the cosmetic stuff too.

Tooth Be Told - Acrylic Tooth Replicas

Delicious Customer Service-03What do you do when trail mix fruit is sticking to the chutes and trays of your packaging machine? Extreme Coating Solutions worked with one of our clients recently for a coating solution that fixes this problem.

The chutes and trays I’m talking about come from the manufacturers as non-coated, stainless-steel. However, the fruit in the trail mix eventually starts to stick to the stainless steel during packaging. This changes the “mix” of nuts, fruit, etc. as well as the weight of the packaging. During quality control, these bags get rejected, resulting in wasted product. (Not to mention the downtime for cleanup.)

The Solution

Ultimately, our solution is an FDA compliant, ceramic reinforced Teflon that coats the interior of the trays and chutes which reduces friction and allows for the fruit to stop sticking. The coating choice was influenced by the fact that the almonds in the trail mix are particularly abrasive. Our solution to the problem resulted in faster production because we reduced downtime for cleanup!

Getting the parts to us for coating

Delicious Customer ServiceThe trail mix chutes and trays are extremely expensive to replace. The machine that they’re installed on weighs and dispenses product at the same time. And they can’t ship the parts with a general carrier. With the customer being 125+ miles from our facility, shipping via local courier isn’t the best option either.

The only answer was a creative shipping arrangement. This usually involves someone from their facility dropping the parts off at the home of a sales rep or a meet-and-drop somewhere near Kansas City.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, a scheduled shut-down was the perfect opportunity for replacement of the chutes and trays. But a shortage of people due to vacation time meant a quick turnaround was required. The turnaround was the easy part. We were then left with the dilemma of how to get the chutes to the customer in a timely manner as they didn’t have anyone available to pick them up.

Delicious Customer ServiceIn an effort to quickly and safely deliver the much-needed trays to the customer, one of our coaters packed up and personally delivered the trays directly to the customer. Three days later, I took another round of finished chutes to our customer.

It’s a good thing to get out and physically visit the customer. It’s perfect for discovering what we’re doing right and what we could be doing better. The trip was worth it because the personal tour I was given was fascinating! I was able to see what we do to improve the performance of their equipment and manufacturing processes. Watching the packaging of the trail mix was informative and, in this case, delicious!

Project Porcupine Roller

Project Porcupine Roller

Thickness variance of no more than a “hair”? Okay, the coating spec didn’t actually say that, but the analogy is accurate. The coating specification called for an average coating thickness of 2 mils; but no less than 1.5 and no more than 3 mils. “Mil” which is terminology used mostly in the U.S., is equal to 1/1000th of an inch, or 25.4µ (microns). Two mils is also the average diameter of a human hair.

For this commercial dough docker roller, the downside of not meeting this spec was if the coating went on too thick, the coating can fracture during the curing process. And if that isn’t visually evident, it can still weaken the coating in those areas, leading to delamination. Conversely if the coating is too thin, then the release properties needed for this roller to poke and release the dough as it rolls over it will likely under perform, resulting in a lot of wasted scrap and downtime for our baking client.

For the coating applicator, the challenge is to use application techniques which allow the coating to build up thickness along the roller at the base of the “spines” without building up more than 2 mils on the spines themselves.

We’ve been handling challenging projects like this one for a long time. Our team has been together for over 28 years. Our lead “applicator” is also my partner, Bun Than Luy; who has been an owner in ECS since 1997. For Bun and the rest of our team, these years of experience serve us well when orders like Project Porcupine Roller show up, and the coating spec says we can’t be off by even a “hair”.

Buddy the Cat

Our 16,000 sq. ft. facility is in a fairly anonymous inner-Kansas City business park named after a small, but pivotal Civil War Battle; called the Battle of Byram’s Ford which occurred 154 years ago in 1864. In fact, when our building was built, they found cannon balls still in the ground during excavation. Behind our property is the Little Blue River and a lot of green space that is home to some wildlife… including a lot of mice. Or so we’ve heard…

Buddy

You see, we don’t have the mice problem our neighbors talk about. We don’t because we have Buddy. Buddy is the white and grey cat in the picture. And Buddy has lots of other buddies too. Being a feral cat isn’t an easy life. Most don’t live past 4-5 years, and as you can see, Buddy has had a couple of tussles himself.

We supplement Buddy’s “live” food with cat food as you see in the picture. In return, Buddy and his cat colony keep our building “mouse-free” year-round. It’s been a great partnership, and a win-win deal for both sides.

Buddy the Cat and his FriendsWe entered into a partnership of sorts with Buddy. We want him to stay around our building as long as he brings his friends along. And the reason is simple. It’s important to spay and neuter feral cats (and dogs). Left alone, they will multiply quickly with a high mortality rate. When we first moved into our building, there were about 20 cats roaming around. We love animals and one of the ways to treat them humanely is to help control the population.

Spay Neuter Kansas City

Spay Neuter Kansas City Logo

One of our favorite organizations is Spay Neuter Kansas City, who agreed to live trap all of Buddy’s friends, spay or neuter them, give them their shots, and then release them. Buddy didn’t participate in this part however, as he was too smart to fall for that Can of Tuna in the traps. We support SNKC annually because we believe in their mission and the good work they are doing for animals in Kansas City.

For more stories about businesses adopting feral cats for rodent duty:

These Feral Cats Aren’t Put Down, They are Put to Work, on USA Today

To Solve a Rat Problem, Send in the Feral Cats, on Chicago Business

Brothers in Blue Reentry

Brothers in Blue Reentry is one of those programs more of us need to know about.

Brothers in Blue Reentry, also known as BIBR is a Christian-based program that mentors prison inmates along with structured experienced-based programs. Most of these men grew up in a distressed economic environment, with little to no financial resources. And they had no family structure to learn from as they developed their sense of values growing up. As a result, their lives spiraled into crime and drug usage; and ultimately prison.

PrisonFor many in society, the thinking is they will “learn their lesson” by serving time. Unfortunately, the fallacy of this is the assumption that forced incarceration, with others there for similar reasons, and living in a very structured environment; will lead these men to having break-through moments with a profound revelation on how they will change for the better.

If you’re all about “stats”, the industry average for the number of released inmates who commit another crime and return to prison is 35%. The percentage of inmates who go through the BIBR program is 12%. BIBR wants to continue to expand this program and help more men (and women) in the inmate populations all over the country.

Kansas Department of Corrections

Kansas Department of CorrectionsBIBR’s privately-funded program is making a difference, but none of this could succeed without the active support of the forward-thinking leadership of the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The Kansas Department of Corrections is ranked #1 in the country in terms of inmate job skills training; which is really impressive since Kansas maintains less than 1% of the United States prison population (16,600 of the 2.1 million total in the United States). These programs train inmates on a number of skills ranging from welding to information technology. And now that they’ve been trained in these skills, inmates released from prison back into society are equipped with the ability to find jobs that pay good hourly rates. In turn, they become self-confident, tax-paying citizens and less apt to resort to crime to make enough money to provide for themselves and their families.

For more information on BIBR – www.BrothersInBlueReentry.org

Extreme Coating Solutions, LLC is the new name for our established company formerly known as “LPF High Performance Coatings”. The name change was triggered when we spun off (sold) the powder coating division (and the LPF name was sold with it) at the beginning of 2017.

New name, means new logo too!

Extreme Coating Solutions

To do this, we enlisted www.LogoMyWay.com to help us with that. Logo My Way is a crowd sourced, online business model where they enlist freelance designers from all over the world via prize money if they win. Once we decided what we wanted the logo to represent, the colors to use, and other details to help the designers get started, we launched the contest. One week later, we had over 200 designs to pick from and with that; our new logo from “Alan” who lives in the Philippines.

What’s the tie between Extreme Coatings and the Genie Lantern?

Simple… we grant wishes! The reality of what we do is provide solutions for our clients who are looking for coatings to protect and enhance their products in challenging environments.

So, like the genie in the bottle… What is your wish?