The strength of
the Bluewater Wood Alliance cluster is that it brings into action many inputs
from our industry to help members innovate! Not only do manufacturing members
get to visit other plant operations and learn from best practices and help
brainstorm solutions to shared challenges, but the expertise of Associate
Supplier members is also brought to bear on a topic of shared concern for all!
To top it off, our educational stakeholders are also involved, and in this case
Conestoga College on the topic of water based finish conversion.
BWA plant tour focus groups are focused on Continuous Improvement where the
host presents a challenge to the group to help them solve. Associate members
are "cherry picked" by the host according to area of expertise to participate
in the exercise. These are facilitated so that the host is also able to share
their business model and best practices. Solutions to challenges are
brainstormed by the group creating a "Kaizen" style of interaction
that stimulates insight into visiting member's own operations back home.
Woodlawn Furniture Market / Ruffsawn / Woodhaven in Guelph is a unique BWA
member company with a main process focus on finishing supplied manufactured
product. Their new 32,000 square foot finishing facility and showroom is a site
to behold, and they are in the midst of assessing the benefits and steps
involved in converting to water based coatings. Some visiting BWA members have
already converted to water based, but most have not. BWA Associate members
attending that supply coatings included Richelieu, Performance Abrasives,
Katilac Coatings, Sherwin Williams, and CCI Finish Works. We now call them the
BWA finishing Dream Team! The tour and discussion lead to several themes for
consideration by members:
Avoid mixing water base coats with oil base, although combining water
base topcoat with oil stain has worked for some members. This allowed them
to claim that they used a water base finish for marketing. However,
associates believed there is a high risk of peeling.
An Associate suggested that if you’re thinking about changing over,
work it in gradually, buy a new spray system with new pump and allow employees
to work with the water base gradually because water based does feel
different when spraying.
If you would
like to attend a BWA Plant Tour Focus group, you will need to learn more about
membership by contacting BWA Executive Director Mike Baker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next event: April 5th hosted by Humber
College in Toronto! Stay tuned for details!