September 2005

Michigan company expands paint-cleaning line program

Ferndale, MI— Gage Products, a supplier of paint-system maintenance and closed-loop recycling services, is expanding its product offerings for the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The Detroit-area company plans a 20 to 30 percent expansion of its patented paint- and sealant-line cleaning programs within the next year, according to Donald Dixon, Gage’s president.

Dixon notes that programs for cleaning paint lines, as well as lines for circulating sealant used in the assembly process, have the potential to save automakers millions of dollars in equipment, operating and warranty costs.

Gage currently has contracts with major car companies to provide paint- system line-cleaning services at 30 to 40 North American assembly plants on an average monthly basis. The company also contracts with a number of automotive fascia suppliers for paint-system line-cleaning.

Sealant lines require less frequent cleansing, usually in intervals of two- to three-years. The company regularly handles 10 to 15 sealant projects per year. In addition, Gage plans to extend its cost-saving service programs to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Over the past five years, Gage has developed a number of patented processes, solvents and acid-based cleansers used to clean paint and sealant delivery lines. The company further improved its paint-line cleaning process recently with a new “post-flush” material and also is developing a line of acid-based cleansers for special paint-system applications.

Dixon explains that line-cleaning jobs often require custom solutions, depending on the types of paint, sealers and lines in use. At the company’s Ferndale laboratories, chemists analyze the properties of the various materials involved before recommending a specific blend of cleansers for specific projects.

Automotive sealant lines present a special challenge. Rather than clean sealant lines, many automakers simply replace the lines after five- to eight- years of use. Dixon points out that line replacement often can be a costly and time-consuming operation compared to a regular cleansing program. A full line replacement can range in cost from $50,000 to more than $1,000,000. Regular maintenance can save an automaker up to up to $800,000 or more over an eight-year period.

He adds that a typical automotive-sealant system may handle up to 750 tons of sealant per year at average pressures from 1,500 up to 2,000 pounds per square inch. As old sealant deposits build up within the lines, the system becomes less and less efficient to operate.

In addition to providing regular maintenance service, Gage is working with automakers and paint-system contractors to prepare and clean new systems prior to production start-up. The company also recently developed an environmentally friendly cleaning solution for industrial head-exchange systems.

Gage’s R-300 cleanser for heat-exchange equipment is environmentally safer than traditional cleaning formulas that rely on hydrochloric, nitric or sulfuric acids.

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