CDPHE LogoCase Study


Wood Products & Furniture:
Switch to Waterborne Topcoat Lacquers

Company Shafer Commercial Seating
4101 East 48th Avenue
Denver, CO 80216-3298
Person to Contact Irwin Suson, Plant Manager
Telephone: (303) 322-7792
Product or Service Chairs and other furniture for hotels and restaurants
Number of Employees 168
Waste Stream Targeted Paint-related Waste
Original System Solvent-based Topcoat Lacquers are used in finishing wood furniture. Typical solvent-based lacquers contain 60% to 80% volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which are also listed as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
New System
(with P2 Modifications)
Waterborne Topcoat Lacquers. In waterborne coatings, water, in conjunction with an organic solvent (2 to 30 percent), acts as the carrying medium. Use of waterborne topcoat lacquers significantly reduces the use of VOCs and HAPs. Since waterborne lacquers dry more slowly, infrared (IR) drying ovens were added. (Waterborne coatings can also be air-dried, but this will slow down production.) With the addition of the drying ovens, production capacity will actually increase significanly.
Cost Savings
Initial Equipment Costs (4) IR ovens were purchased and installed for ~200,000. A new conveyor system was added for ~$100,000. Stainless steel equipment modifications (new pumps, lines, guns, to prevent rust problems) cost $30,000.
Operating Cost Savings The new system will allow them to nearly double their production rate (and sales).
Material Cost Savings Solvent-based topcoat lacquers cost $10.50/gallon. Waterborne topcoat lacquers cost $16.00/gallon. For each coating, 12 chairs can be coated/gallon using solvent-based lacquer. 16-18 chairs can be coated/gallon using waterborne lacquer. Therefore, the cost per chair is nearly the same: $.87/chair for solvent-based and $.94/chair for waterborne. However, water-based topcoat lacquers eliminate the use of solvent-based lacquer thinners as a thinning agent/cleaner which will also be a substantial cost savings (not yet quantified).
Payback Period Because of the increased production rates allowed by the new system, the overall payback period will be about 3 years.
Major Benefits Reduced VOC emissions from 80 tons/year to 1 ton/year(HAPs reduction was not quantified).
Reduced fire hazard.
Improved worker health and safety, liability reduction.
Positive business image.
Obstacles Conventional application processes can be used. However, employee training and adjustment is required.
Equipment needs to be corrosion resistant i.e., plastic or stainless steel.
Equipment may need to be cleaned immediately after use.
Wood grain raising can be a problem. Shafer has resolved this problem by sanding the wood surface after applying the first coating followed by application of a second coating.
Increased drying times, or significant capital expenditures for drying ovents. (In this case, IR ovens reduced drying times and increased production capacity).
Humidity must be controlled (33-35%).
Waterborne coatings can be more difficult to repair.
Time Since Implementation 1 month. (1/23/96)
Source/Supplier Colorado Paint Company
4747 N. Holly, Denver, CO
Telephone: (303) 388-9265

Diamond Vogel
4500 E. 48th Avenue, Denver, CO
Telephone: (303) 333-4499

Main Reason Implemented Reduce VOC and HAPs emissions and associated regulatory burdens and liability.
Improve employee health and safety.
Key to Success in Making this P2 Modification Management support/commitment to Pollution Prevention.
Employee involvement, training in P2 modifications.

Created by Lighthouse Communications Group, LLC.
Edited for use on this site by Ronald Lee Still and posted with permission of CDPHE.