FFJ 0317 face squareFace Time - The first G in GFG stands for Groseclose. The company’s former owner Richard Groseclose discusses his most memorable moments in the business.

August 2019 - The first G in GFG stands for Groseclose. The company’s former owner Richard Groseclose (pictured) discusses his most memorable moments in the business.

MM 0819 face leadQ: How did you get into the coil coating business?

A: I grew up in West Virginia and attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute. I spent five years in the U.S. Navy and served on one of the Navy’s first guided missile submarines. After the service, I settled in Milwaukee with my family and worked at Faustel Corp. as a staff engineer building, selling, and servicing coating and lamination equipment for the flexible packaging and metal fields. That company decided not to pursue the metals market, so in 1969, I started GFG Corp. with two silent partners, Evert Faulls and Gene Gaspardo (Groseclose/Faulls/Gaspardo). After one year, I bought their shares of the company.

Q: What were some of your most memorable moments in the industry?

A: There were many, beginning with buying out my partners, pursuing the European metal market—and receiving the first large metal coating machinery order from Europe—and purchasing two of my competitors and combining them into GFG. During my time as owner, we converted engineering from drafting boards to CAD design computers, engineered and perfected the metal laminating market, developed the three-roll in line and V coating heads, developed the load cell readout for the metal coaters, computerized the metal coaters, developed and perfected the wax coating machines, and developed the dual- and triple-head coating machines for quick color changes.

Q: How has GFG continued to adapt to market changes during its 50 years in business?

A: Finances were the biggest challenge starting out! My original business philosophy was to sell our equipment to the existing end user (replacement coater) or the prime contractor for new coil lines. That’s a very small market. In order to grow the business,  we expanded into electrostatic oilers and upgrading coil lines. At the start-up of GFG, there was a small depression in the U.S. economy, and it was difficult to find customers. To compensate, I built a small, working GFG laminator and visited a number of metal coaters in the European market. I sold two laminators and established GFG as a major supplier in their market. At one point, GFG supplied 85 percent of the coating equipment in the European market. To-date, GFG has supplied metal coating and laminator equipment to over 50 countries. We even began to design equipment so that it could fit into a shipping container for ease of transporting to the coil coaters located throughout the world.

Q: How did GFG’s innovations improve manufacturing processes?

A: One of the major items was the accuracy of the equipment. The design was selected for accuracy and for long life. We have equipment out in the field that has been operating for 40-plus years, running 24 hours a day. The design also incorporated modular concepts to meet customers’ expedited shutdown and installation schedules. Adding load cells and computers enhanced the accuracy and repeatability of the equipment and allowed the end user to produce a better product and have better control of paint usage. We also developed a universal-drive, quick-release coupling that enhanced and sped up coating roll changes.

Q: What are some coating technologies that have the potential to become major influences?

A: Customers are looking for faster color changes with less waste and ways to computerize their coating operation so the production run can be dialed in with accuracy. They are also more tuned in to the overall safety of the equipment and are looking for reliable automatic film thickness gauges that are tied into the coating equipment for quality control. This would allow the coil coater to dial in a selected job, and the coater’s computer and wet and dry film thickness gauge would adjust to satisfy the request.

Q: Are any of GFG’s innovations still playing a major role in the industry?

A: The multiple head coaters that allow for nearly instantaneous color changes are still a major development in the coil coating field. In addition, the GFG CHCS (coating head control system) with load cells and automatic servo motor adjustment can provide the end user with supreme automatic nip pressure control, and CHCS “recipes” allow for duplication runs in the future with minimal setup time. Finally, the GFG Peabody line of electrostatic oilers are the gold standard for applying lubricant and rust preventative coatings. Standard coil coaters without computers and/or load cells offer affordable solutions to developing countries or startup companies with limited funding. MM

Sources

GFG
Sussex, Wisconsin
262/372-4515