Reprinted from Appliance magazine, July 1997

Pretty in Powder

MSC continues to make in-roads with its recently developed powder coated coil. Among the more impressive Design Showcase bids was the Easi Dock computer docking station, produced by D and D Manufacturing, Inc., based in Romeoville, IL. The entry won a Design Finalist Award in the competition. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the application is that it represents a conversion from post-powder coating to powder coated prepainted coil.

The Easi Dock unit is designed to offer a flexible means of enabling and disabling the connection of printer, modem, LAN and communications ports for laptop computer users. D and D currently supplies the device to top business appliance OEMs, including IBM, Compaq, and Toshiba.

The unit was originally designed to be produced using blanking and forming metalworking processes followed by a complete post-powder finishing operation. The company has since changed the specifications of the base material to a prepainted powder coated steel (SAE 1010 CRS/metal substrate) supplied by MSC-AT.

D and D Vice President Larry Diedrick cites a host of advantages resulting from the conversion. The company has been able to significantly reduce costs by eliminating the finishing process. "The incremental cost to procure pre-powder coated material is much more cost effective than the former postpowder process," he says. "Additionally, quality assurance procedures need only be performed once (after producing the parts via the precision tooling) as opposed to the further quality checks required in a post-powder scenario. Needless to say," he adds, "lead time on this product has also been significantly enhanced."

MSC's Powderbond (tm) 1000 powder coated coil, which drove this conversion, offers an improved finish uniformity and is capable of withstanding D and D's forming and blanking operations, according to Mr. Diedrick. The company is actively proposing increased use of the material in future stamping operations where the properties fit the application. "We are currently engineering products for both a computer and radio chassis where this pre-powder coated alternative should serve as a substantial competitive advantage," Mr. Diedrick says.