One Million DollarsThe following is a list of important questions related to your current investment in molds and tooling:

  • How much are you spending on molds/tooling each year?
  • Are they lasting for as many production cycles as they were engineered for?
  • Does your company measure the number of production cycles your molds produce versus the projected number of cycles the tooling manufacturer made when you were evaluating the payback analysis?
  • What is the true cost per production/part cycle versus the real “life cycle” of the tooling?
  • How can we save you $1 million dollars in a year?

Companies that manufacture molded products that include “sticky” ingredients such as candy (basically any product with sugar), adhesive-backed printed labels, or the latest generations of high-performance aerospace composite resins (like those used to mold the fuselage spars and components for the Boeing 787…) ALL of these processes inevitably lead to sticky production issues, quality control problems, and lost profits when production is halted due to molds sticking to the molded parts as the original mold release/non-stick coatings wears off.

The tooling manufacturer isn’t necessarily at fault if the manufacturer doesn’t properly maintain the non-stick coating on the tooling. After all, metal is stronger than any non-stick coating… so, when the coating wears off, wear and tear accelerates.

Improving the Efficiency of Tooling

ECS works with a broad range of clients who recognize the value of keeping their tooling working efficiently by having their molds recoated with non-stick coatings ranging from PTFE-based fluoropolymers to Sol-Gel technologies. Some of these clients cycle their tools out frequently, sometimes several times a month to be recoated. The problem this can create however, is when the worn coating is blasted off to prep for a new application, the blasting process is slowly eroding the metal below it also.

Over time, the erosion is enough to render the tooling dimensionally obsolete and the tooling scrapped. To overcome this, we utilize walnut blast media to remove the original coating instead of blast media. Because the walnut media is harder than the coating, but softer than the metal, there is no erosion.

While we charge slightly more for this process, the tooling’s operational life is extended significantly. In a recent case study, whereas our client had been replacing the tooling each year, they have extended it to two years… and counting. We saved them the equivalent of $1 million because they don’t have to buy replacement molds as often.

How much money can we save your company? Let’s talk.

Larissa Merkley

Larissa Merkley

ECS is pleased to announce the promotion of Larissa Merkley to our Accounting and Operations Manager.

In Larissa’s short 18 month tenure at ECS, she has been a quick study of our business. Our customers rely on us for quick turnaround times of 1-3 days with no quality issues so they can get their refurbished components back into production.

Larissa oversees the checks and balances in our operation that allow us to keep the promises we make to our customers. Larissa makes us a better company and we applaud her contributions at ECS!

Coatings, Cocktails and Cigars

Jason Terry and Larissa Merkley, recently promoted to be our Accounting & Operations Manager, the undisputed Bourbon “experts” of our group.

With all the challenges (everyone) is facing in this world, it’s important to make space for our teams to spend time together and blow off some steam. To talk about something besides work. It’s in these moments that deeper bonds are built and strengthened.

For this event, I turned to Jason Terry, the founder and owner of Blue Gurus, our social media advisor, trusted friend, and Bourbon Connoisseur. Jason volunteered to come by our place and conduct a Bourbon Tasting.

“I’ve been working with Jim and the ECS team for many years. Over the past couple of years, Bourbon has become a passionate hobby for me and I love sharing the experience with others.

I decided to bring an interesting selection of bottles. Some lower proof, some higher. Some easy to get at the local liquor store, some not so much. In the end, everyone had a couple of favorites and not everyone agreed on what was best. And that’s one of the best things about Bourbon. Every person will have their own preferences, and some of the fun is comparing notes as you try different bottles.”
Jason Terry, Blue Gurus

Coatings, Cocktails and Cigars

As you can see, Jason brought a great selection of Bourbons to compare and pick our personal favorites.
From Left to Right: Tin Cup 10 Year Whiskey, Peerless Single Barrel, Nulu Straight Single Barrel, Copper & Cask Missie’s Store Pick, Blanton’s 10 Year Single Barrel, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel

We also rounded out the tasting with some bourbon-infused cigars. Why the propane torch you ask? Well, none of us had a lighter and the matches we had were old, so we had to improvise.

Our next group gathering idea?

We are taking everyone to the shooting range at Frontier Justice so everyone can receive safety training on how to handle different types of pistols, and of course, blast some targets. There won’t be any Bourbon at this event…

As we come up on Memorial Day weekend, we hope all of you are finding time to not only smile, laugh, but also take the time to reflect and appreciate the sacrifices of all members of the U.S. military who died while serving and protecting the privileges we have as Americans. God Bless.

– The Extreme Coating Solutions Team

FDA LogoWhat does it mean to be Food-Grade?
Food grade means that the material is either it is okay to come into direct contact with food products or the substance is safe for human consumption.

What does Food Safe mean?
Food safe means that a Food-Grade material is also suitable for its intended use and will not create a food-safety hazard.

What are Food Contact Surfaces?
A food contact surface is any surface that may come into direct contact with food. Food contact surfaces are made of food-safe materials designed to withstand the environment where they will be used. This includes exposure to cleaning compounds, sanitizing agents and cleaning procedures.

What does GRAS stand for?
GRAS is a substance that is Generally Recognized as Safe. These are materials that can be safely used for articles and surfaces that come into direct contact with food under normal, Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP).

How do I know which type of standards my product needs?

One place to start when figuring out if you need a coating that is GRAS, Food-Grade, or Food-Safe coating for your product is to know which type of contact your product makes with the food you’re working with or around. When dealing with the world of food, the regulations can get specific as a safety precaution against potentially consuming something that may cause someone to get sick.

This is partly why there are Three Types of Food Contact.

Direct Contact substances are those that directly touch, or contact, food. This may lead to the creation of direct or indirect food additives.

Indirect contact Substances might come in contact with food, such as on the outside of food packaging; such as a sealed packaging or a carton.

Incidental contact substances are those that rarely contact food and the contact is not purposeful or continuous. For example, food that contacts an extraneous part of a food processing machine where contact is not expected is considered incidental.

If your product falls in the Direct Contact description you may have noticed that your product may or may not be considered a potential food “additive”. What do you mean I could be creating a food additive?

Thankfully there are only two types of food additives recognized by the FDA.

Generally, they define an additive as:any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result, directly or indirectly, in its becoming a component of, or otherwise affecting the characteristic of any food including any substance intended for use in… packing…or holding food…”

This just means that whether or not you mean to, your product or coating might get added to the food you are helping to produce or manufacture. The USDA and FDA make this part easy as they both manage different aspects of potential food-related contact. Think of them as two separate sides of the same coin.

  • The most common type of FDA-approved coatings are intended to come into direct or indirect contact with food substances.
  • USDA approved coatings will typically be wall and floor coatings. The latter type—especially floor coatings—is specifically formulated to handle the extreme cleaning conditions that are usually present in a food and beverage facility.

When it comes to direct contact with food or working in and around a food production facility a little bit of knowledge about your coating needs goes a long way. Whether your product requires a Food-Grade, Food-Safe, or even Generally Recognized as safe we’ve got you, and your product, covered.

Angela ConrowBy Angela Conrow, Controller at Extreme Coating Solutions

Since moving Extreme Coating Solutions into its current location in 2017, we have continued to make improvements to the building. Things like replacing the roof, new HVAC units, windows, as well as leasehold improvements for projects like our new coatings manufacturing capabilities which is part of a collaboration with another company; Dyna-Tek.

Our “Googie” Karma

Built in 1959, our building’s unique architectural style stands out among the other more conventional manufacturing buildings in our area. While struggling to describe our facility recently, I mentioned to our team that our building’s architecture was “reminiscent of the Googie Modern Architecture style from the mid-nineteenth century”.

What? Googie?!

My team decided to look that one up. Sure enough Google reported, “Googie architecture was considered futuristic architecture and was influence by the car culture, jets, the Space Age and the Atomic Age.” I not only gave a really good trivia question for future reference, but we all think it’s cool karma that in our 1959 Googie, jet-influenced architecture, we’re manufacturing coatings for the aerospace industry today!

Extreme Coating Solutions - Googie Architecture
Facility Upgrades

In a long-overdue move, we recently upgraded the facility security systems and added new receiving lobbies for both the office and shipping entrances. To guide us on this, we called on Kenton Brothers Systems for Security to recommend and install new exterior and interior access controls, video surveillance and a commercial grade intercom system. Kenton Brothers came through with flying colors and we have been very pleased with the results.

One area of improvement that has been really appreciated has been the video-intercom system.

In the past, incoming truck drivers had to go up to our exterior dock door, ring our buzzer and then wait for us to come and open the door. This wasn’t a good scenario, particularly when it was raining, snowing or just plain hot. With the new security measures, drivers come into the new shipping and receiving room and go to the AXIS video intercom which is tied to our IT/phones and enables someone from our office staff to greet and take care of them.

ECS Building Signage ECS Building Signage

Building Signage

We had never gotten around to adding building signage since moving into our current building back in 2017. Our CEO, Jim Stuelke, would jokingly say we didn’t need it… “just tell visitors to look for our building’s white arches… Just like “McDonalds” only white. You can’t miss us!”

I recently had my 1-year anniversary with ECS and moved ahead with adding building addresses… Next month we’ll be official when we put our name up on the side of the building after it gets a new coat of paint courtesy of our friends at Major Painting Co.

Unfortunately, the COVID impact hasn’t allowed us to have many visitors to share all of this with, but the ECS team has enjoyed the updates. As far as company culture, we’re always looking to improve. And we feel our facility should reflect that as well!

Dyna-Tek No Stick ZoneOne of Extreme Coating Solutions (ECS) clients inquired whether we could provide a semi-permanent coating that would allow them to discharge the remaining LDPE resin they used for laminating large animal feed bags.

The challenges were:

  • The resin temperature at the time of discharge is 550⁰ – 650⁰ F which is more than fluoropolymer coatings can sustain repeatedly.
  • The adhesive additive, LOTADER® made by ARKEMA does its job well and would stick to most surfaces. Meaning if our client used their metal collection bin, the resin would be virtually impossible to remove once it cooled down.

The ECS Solution:

ECS applied a 2-coat system using Dyna-Tek’s DT-480 heat dissipating base coat, and topcoat with DT-555 clear coat. BOTH coatings are designed to handle temperatures of over 1000⁰ F and have excellent hydrophobic and abrasion-resistant properties.

The durability of this coating system is has performed admirably as it just passed 1-year of service life since we coated it!

For information on how we can solve your coating challenges, visit or email us at or call Jim Stuelke at 816.381.9901.

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 or call him direct at 816.381.9901.

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

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 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?