B.L. Downey Co.

From metal (steel and aluminum) parts the size of a dime to fabricated structures and metal components more than 100 feet long and as heavy as 10,000 pounds, if an item needs coating, B.L. Downey Co. can do it.

“We are one of the largest coating companies in the world under one roof,” says David Wasz, president of the company, which operates a 325,000-square-foot facility in Broadview, Ill. “A lot of companies have plants located all over the world and try to transfer their best practices and technologies between multiple locations. We have all our practices and technologies under one roof and are always applying our best practices to new and old customers.”

The company, founded in 1956, serves more than 300 customers annually in markets including agriculture, architecture and construction, automotive, electronics, fencing and manufacturing. Parts, equipment and components are shipped to B.L. Downey Co. from around the world to be coated and then shipped either back to the customer or forwarded to the end-user.

The Broadview facility, located 10 miles west of Chicago, features six electrodeposition – also known as E-coat – lines as well as 12 powder coating lines. “This gives us tremendous capacity and flexibility in our processes to consistently deliver quality parts to our customers and even expedite orders to keep our customer’s production lines running,” Wasz adds.

As a leading provider of E-coating services, B.L. Downey Co. preps the metal (steel or aluminum) prior to beginning the E-coat process through either shot blasting or chemical cleaning. Once loaded onto the E-coat line, the parts are indexed through up to 18 tanks containing various VOC-free cleaning chemicals, RO/DI water, rinses and seals, to prepare the metal for the electrodeposition (E-coat) process. As the parts are immersed in the epoxy E-coat bath, anodes send an electrical charge into the bath while the part is grounded, causing the epoxy E-coat to uniformly bond to the entire part surface including nooks, crannies and edges giving the ultimate corrosion protection in the coating industry.

The E-coat process is used to achieve excellent corrosion protection, with a coating transfer efficiency of 99 percent, creating a low-cost,  high-quality solution to corrosion protection for metal parts.

At B.L. Downey Co., the E-coat process is often combined with a decorative/UV protective powder coating placed on parts that have already been E-coated. Wasz and other company representatives will discuss the benefits of the powder and E-coat processes to prospective customers during the North American Industrial Coating Show Oct. 9-11 in St. Louis.

“Our intention is to talk to potential customers about our capabilities and the added benefits their customers can get from not just powder coating their parts, but E-coating, as well,” Wasz says.

In addition to E-coat and powder coating, B.L. Downey Co. is also skilled in applying chemical agent-resistant coating (CARC) and E-coat for the military. CARC is able to resist corrosion and chemical agents and is required on almost all combat, combat support and combat service support equipment.

B.L. Downey Co. is considered a “Custom Coater” and specializes in providing coating solutions to meet customers’ applications and requirements. B.L. Downey Co. also fabricates and powder coats round, square and steel light poles for several customers throughout North America.

B.L. Downey Co. is ISO 9001 certified and recognized as an applicator of certified epoxy for steel installed in concrete by the Concrete Steel Reinforcing Institute (CRSI). B.L. Downey Co. epoxy coats reinforcing steel in the United States and is certified in 26 states and two Canadian provinces.

Group Efforts

Parts received by B.L. Downey Co. go through an extensive incoming inspection process that includes checking each part for rust, damage oxides and other non-conformities to customers’ specifications. Inspections are executed at every step in the process: incoming, blasting, E-Coat, powder and packaging. “The technology we have added in the past few years along with the experts we have working for us has allowed us to identify and contain parts before they leave our facility and ensure our customers receive what they have required each and every order,” Wasz says.

“We make pre- and post-process inspection a critical step in each of our coating operations, allowing us to spot potential problems before they jeopardize our customer’s schedule. This is just one facet of our overall quality control strategy at B.L. Downey Co.,” he adds. “At B.L. Downey Co. our motto is ‘safety, quality, and then production.’ By focusing on these priorities, in that order, we will achieve the desired results that our customers and our company expects.”

Wasz credits B.L. Downey Co.’s exceptional team of dedicated and experienced employees with its ability to ensure quality and safety throughout the organization each and every day. The company has recently had 18 employees complete OSHA’s 10-hour training program, and conducts weekly “hot topic” safety meetings and monthly safety committee meetings to maintain employee safety as the No. 1 priority at B.L. Downey Co.

The company also highly values its partnership with many of its customers and suppliers. “We have suppliers’ representatives in here every week,” Wasz says.

“They’re doing an amazing job for us and are able to help us maintain and improve our systems.”