PPG Commercial Coatings and the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM) have named Load Trail, a Sumner, Texas-based manufacturer of custom-built trailers, as the 2015 Green Manufacturing Award winner.
The Green Manufacturing Award recognizes the NATM member with the year’s best solution or innovation that positively affects the environment. Award contenders are judged on case studies that demonstrate improved, ecologically conscious performance in their operations. Companies must provide documentation of the green initiatives or improvements they have implemented. Load Trail made its case for the award in the area of pretreatment chemistry.
Established in 1996 in a 38,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, Load Trail has grown to encompass more than 420,000 square feet, with manufacturing facilities that include 14 mechanized production lines and a fully equipped fabrication shop. The company’s vision is to become the premier trailer manufacturer in North America. Recognizing the environmental responsibility such an objective requires, Load Trail evaluated options in pretreatment chemistry prior to powder coating that would achieve
- Overall environmentally friendly chemistry
- Enhanced adhesion and corrosion protection
- Reduction in chemical heat requirements
- Reduction in water consumption
- Reduction in chemical concentration requirements
After extensive testing with its powder supplier, the company changed its pretreatment chemistry from iron phosphate to an advanced, nonregulated zirconium pretreatment specifically formulated for Load Trail and named “Load Trail Green Z.” The modification resulted in:
- A safer work environment for pretreatment employees;
- A chemistry health rating of one (improved from two);
- Increased corrosion protection;
- Reduction of chemical concentration from ~3-4% to 0.5%;
- Reduced water requirements—zirconium pretreatment at the use concentration of 0.5% requires no post-rinse;
- Marked reduction in propane use, with chemical heat requirement reduced from 150f to 80-90f.