Farm Talk

September 17, 2013

New painting facility first of its kind for North American ag

Danielle Beard

Parsons, Kansas — Two years and $40 million dollars later, the ribbon was cut on AGCO’s manufacturing facility with the latest finishing and paint technologies in Hesston, Kansas.

Producers, equipment dealers and members of the press were invited to join Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Robert Crain, senior vice president and general manger of AGCO North America, Hans-Bernd Veltmaat, senior vice president, chief supply chain officer of AGCO and Robert Ciecko, vice president of manufacturing operations Hesston in the ribbon cutting and tour of the new facility.

“Kansas is in the middle of two great revivals, manufacturing and in agriculture” Brownback said. “We’re  getting manufacturing jobs and growing. Agriculture is busting at the seams with an incredibly important function to feed a hungry world, that just keeps getting bigger and hungrier. Yet I don’t know any industry in the world that is going to be called upon to do more — than the agriculture industry is — with less.”

“We’re going to have a feed a billion more people in the next 10 to 20 years adding to the world population. We’re going to have to do it with less energy, less impact on the enviroment, with fewer imputs and resources and probably less man power,” he continued. “As the industry continues to mechanize further and futher and engage technology more and more into the process. It’s an amazing calling, yet I don’t know of an industry in America or the world that is better up to doing this.”

With the future of agriculture in mind, becoming more enviormentally friendly, leaving less of a carbon foot print and bringing the first advanced agriculture painting facility in North America was the main of objective said Crain.

“It is an advancement we are proud of,” he added. “The electrocoat (E-coat) and powder paint processes adopted are equivalent to those in the automobile industry and provide a consistent, durable finish on each part, enhancing the overall quality and longevity on the equipment.

The new 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art dip and powder coat paint facility consolidates AGCO Hesston Operations’ paint stations from two operations into one streamlined efficient building.

Parts for all products manufactured in Hesston will be painted and finished there before being assembled into final products. Nearly 75 percent of parts will go through the 17-step E-coat process which involves dipping parts in a series of solutions that remove all rust, scale and laser oxides, then applies a high performance corrosion- and weather resistant finsih comparable to that used in the automobile industry. The E-coat primer is applied using a high voltage and high amperage charge for 180 seconds, ensuring thorough coverage. After curing in one of ten, 375°F ovens, parts receive a powder top coat with one of five colors, then another final oven cure.

The remaining 25 percent of parts, including gearboxes and drives; components that cannot withstand heat; and parts that are best painted after they are assembled, will be painted using a liquid coating system.

According to AGCO, parts are placed on load bars and transported to the paint line by un-manned  automated guided vehicles (AGVs) which are programmed to follow a series of magnets in the florr as the move parts into the paint facility. The benefits of using AGV’s include, increases in productivity, improvements in part flow through the paint center and back to the assembly line and most importantly, reduces employee exposure to the paint process.

The E-Coat and powder paint processes also offer efficiency and enviromental benefits as more than 95 percent of powder paint is transferred to the parts and the remainder is is fully captured in the paint process.

Crain explained, aspects such as less material waste and high-efficiency lighting reduce the enviromental footprint of the operation.

The system will be utilized towards large square and round balers, small square balers, combines, grain headers, pull-type and self propelled mower conditioners, windrower tractors and planters manufactured in Hesston. £