EXEL North America

Thanks to its expertise in finishing and dispensing systems, EXEL North America has been helping make manufacturers more competitive for more than 80 years. It is through the company’s flowing powder or fluid product solutions – as well as a tradition for innovation and reliability – that EXEL North America continues to grow and evolve.

“We provide dispensing and finishing solutions in the automotive sector, finishing in the general industry sector, and we sell products through our distribution network,” says Regan Murray, executive vice president and COO. “We employ about 131 people, manufacturing solutions in North America and bringing products in from parent company factories in Europe. We have sales groups, a product development group and a systems execution group. Manufacturing is done through subcontractors, but we bring products into our shop and do final assembly and shipment.”

Leading Edge

EXEL North America’s flowing powder or fluid product solutions include the precise applications of liquids, powders, sealants, adhesives, mold release agents, oils, paints, sealers, primers and waxes. It is the manufacturer of Kremlin Rexson, SAMES and Johnstone brand products. The company has grown through some acquisitions, such as merging its Chicago Kremlin Rexson site with the SAMES site in Michigan in 2006.

In 2007, the company became an organization focused on three markets: distribution, general industry and automotive. In 2009, EXEL North America acquired the dispensing company Johnstone.

“Our company came together with the amalgamation of Kremlin Rexson and SAMES, which came together a few years ago,” Vice President of General Industrial Sales and Marketing John Gulbronson says. “Our major markets are the auto industry on the SAMES side and general industry on the Kremlin Rexson side. We also purchased the Johnstone brand a few years ago, and they have traditional focused on sealers.”

The company is renowned for its Kremlin Rexson Airmix spray guns, SAMES Technologies Electrostatic Rotary Atomizing Bells and Johnstone and Kremlin Rexson pumping and proportioning systems. It offers automatic and/or manual paint spray guns, rotary electrostatic bell atomizers, fluid dispense and mixing systems, turnkey automotive robotic systems and turnkey general industrial systems. Beyond its product offerings, the company’s systems team has more than 30 years of experience in the types of solutions the company provides.

“The Airmix spray guns are untouchable when it comes to manual and automatic applications,” says S.T. Rajan, EXEL North America’s vice president of sales in Canada. “Our system capabilities are significant as well, and they help make our customer interactions very profitable ventures for us and our customers.”

Staying Connected

EXEL North America has two ways of going to market. The company has a direct selling force, and in the auto industry it primarily sells direct. In general industry, it has direct selling and a distribution network. The company can sell and install complete systems in the general industry sector of its business.

Another aspect of the company’s business is the large distribution network it has assembled that handles day-to-day products. These distributors call on end-users regularly, and selling EXEL North America’s finishing equipment and products is part of their portfolio. They are specialized distributors that focus on the finishing process.

“Working with our distributors helps us keep up with trends, as does having regular conversations with coating companies and other suppliers,” Gulbronson says. “We keep a good pulse on the industries we serve through selling direct and distribution, as it helps keep us aware of what is going on in the market.”

“We have great networking relationships with paint companies, as well as with system houses and integrators,” Rajan added. “We interact with them all the time, and we’re doing trials and testing of new products.”

All of this helps the company keep on top of cycles in the industries. A few years ago when the automotive industry was really struggling, EXEL North America realized general industry business remained strong. Then when the housing market crashed, things changed as it related to EXEL North America’s wood customers. Housing remains a little slow, but a trend in the wood sector is that homeowners are remodeling more often, so items like kitchen cabinets need to have finishes applied.

“Because we serve so many industries, we need to know what is going on in all of the subsets,” Gulbronson says. “We keep up on that by talking to customers.”

Although some of its markets remain tentative, others are strong, which helps EXEL North America’s business continue to grow. The company intends to keep its eyes open so it can continue to understand where the markets are going.

Because EXEL invests in R&D on a worldwide basis, EXEL North America is well positioned to meet the needs of its clients today and tomorrow. The company will continue to attempt to cater its products to fit what customers want while also fitting adaptations that are developed by coating companies. Overall, EXEL North America’s leaders think that it is moving in the right direction because of its service and expertise.

“We’ve made significant investments into our three labs, which have helped us be a player in the systems business, helping us to demonstrate our products and show that we can produce solutions,” Murray says. “We need to continue to get our name out there, increasing our brand awareness and making sure that people know our capabilities.”