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Coated Coil
Friday | 29 April, 2011 | 8:49 am

Flexibility and function

By Lauren Duensing

April 2011- Consumers and Centria Coating Services, Cambridge, Ohio, have taken tread plate to an entirely unique level by giving it the potential to be both a practical product and a stylish work of art that can be hung on the wall of any respectable man cave.

From truck trailers, cargo vans and architectural applications to decorative football paraphernalia, LumaTread, an embossed diamond-shaped tread plate design by Centria offers versatility and style, giving it the reputation of having limitless applications that come with a new, competitive look.

"It’s a unique pattern. There’s no one else that offers painted coil with short lead times and deliveries with this embossing pattern," says Jim Dockey, director of sales and marketing at Centria. "We invested a couple hundred thousand dollars in the rolls, others didn’t."

A better-looking product
Centria introduced LumaTread at the October 2010 MetalCon International trade show and conference and primarily is selling the product to the transportation industry for truck trailers and cargo vans. Centria, along with Midwest Metal Corp., Louisville, Ky., is also in the process of expanding into other markets like the signage industry for decorative applications, the canopy market for gas station canopies and car canopies, garage door markets for garage door liner panels, kick plates on entry doors and architectural accents.

Centria first entered the market with LumaTread in a partnership with Midwest Metal, which provides 100 percent recyclable aluminum and steel in various colors and in one-side bright bare needed to create the product. Centria provides embossing and painting services and Midwest Metal resells the embossed coils to various markets.

Centria then invested in the embossing pattern and trademarked the name. "We bought tread rolls and installed them into our embosser and then we began to stock various colors of painted coil to provide customers with painted coil," says Dockey.

A chrome roll goes into the embosser. The painted aluminum coils, which range in gauge from 024 up to 040, or steel coils, which range from 012 up to 015, are run through the embosser, which imprints the pattern into the aluminum or steel. From a technical standpoint, Centria develops the paint, aluminum and steel substrate to have enough formability characteristics to be able to take the forming of the embossed pattern without cracking. Doing this process makes the embossing pattern more defined without any cracking or crazing of the paint.

According to Dockey, this product is enhancing service to customers and is offering shorter lead times with a better- looking product.

Brent Becker, executive vice president of Mishawaka Sheet Metal, Elkhart, Ind., uses LumaTread for the cargo trailer industry and says the product "looks really good." It replaced his standard bright aluminum tread plate that he says has been out on the market for many years. "We’re always looking at new products to bring to the marketplace and be the front runners on that kind of product, so we’re always looking for something new, something different that maybe our competitors don’t have," he says. "I like the look; I like the design."

Because this product is designed for general use, the applications seem endless. Richard Peck, sales manager at Midwest Metal and metals supplier for Centria, says, "I’ve even had one guy, he sent me an e-mail and he took a piece of this LumaTread and he put a logo of the Indianapolis Colts on it and he framed it. And I sent that to some people, and they just loved it. One guy said, ‘I want one for Tennessee,’ and another guy said, ‘I want one for the University of Louisville.’ Now there’s a product that no one ever thought about. But all you have to do is take the LumaTread, get the color to match whatever sport team you have, then put the logo on top of it, and it really has a great look." He went on to note, "I think the potential applications for this product are limitless."

The competition
"Flexibility and functionality set LumaTread apart from the competition," says Dockey. And Centria’s Midwest location is what allows for short lead times and deliveries.

Although it can be compared to standard tread plate, LumaTread offers something different. "Tread plate is a heavy-gauge product produced on a coal mill," says Dockey. "Our product is lighter gauge, more economical, it has more square feet per pound and is a more flexible product with the same aesthetic appearance."

"If customers aren’t using LumaTread, they’re using standard tread plate," says Peck. "It’s more of a structural product, whereas LumaTread is a decorative trim product. With these applications, the customers don’t need to have the heavy structural product, but they want the diamond look. They are opting for the LumaTread versus the tread plate mostly because it’s more cost-effective and is available in a variety of painted colors."

Peck also notes customers are choosing LumaTread because it can be supplied in small quantities. LumaTread is available in a 3,500-pound coil, whereas other companies that offer tread plate may offer only a 10,000-pound coil as the smallest option.

Slitting complements coil coating
Along with its new embossed tread plate design, Centria also recently has launched a new slitter at its Cambridge, Ohio, plant. This new equipment, manufactured by ProEco Ltd., Raleigh, N.C., has been online and operational since June 2010.

"This equipment will provide new and existing customers with much improved slitting services to complement our coil coating operation," says Dockey. "The capability and efficiency of this new equipment will significantly improve the quality and service of Cambridge’s secondary processing and continues Centria’s capital commitment to our coil coating business."

A notable feature is the equipment’s corrective leveling, which allows for slitting and leveling on a broader gauge range on both painted steel and painted aluminum coils. In addition, the equipment can slit up to 62 inches wide and as small as 2 inches wide and includes a full packaging line to handle very narrow-mult slitting requirements.

Not only is the slitter and leveler allowing for more possibilities with LumaTread, but it also is expanding Centria’s entire coil coating operation. "Centria Coating Services continues to fortify our customer partnerships through additional investments into our business," says Dockey. "Our new slitting and leveling capability in Cambridge has significantly enhanced the service, flexibility and quality of our secondary processing of both painted and bare products. Additionally, the introduction of LumaTread is another innovative product that Centria will offer in multiple substrates to various industries and potentially many end uses. These enhancements at our Cambridge, Ohio, operation combined with the multimillion dollars of investments made at our Cambridge facility over the last five years has made Centria Coating Services the leader in the coil coating industry." MM

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