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Justification for an e-coat line? Cost?

Q. We are a metal stamper in the south Texas region. Currently we have many problems with our current supplier on delivery and subsequently we have decided to keep excess inventories of product on the shelves. I would like to know, approximately how much e-coat business (in dollars) would you need to justify a line? Also, the lines of today are automatic lines with people at each end loading and unloading parts. Where is the bulk of your costs? I wouldn't think it would be in direct labor. For example in a metal stamping job that is a $10,000.00 job. There is approx. $7000.00 in raw material cost and approx. $600.00 in direct labor cost. leaving about $2400.00 in (what we call) contribution to overhead. Is this similar to the cost distribution of a typical e-coat job? I would appreciate any feedback .

Thank you,

Michael Tofte
ITD Precision - Houston, Texas

"Electrocoating: a Guidebook for Finishers"
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"Handbook of Electropainting Technology"
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A. There are a number of sources for more information on electrocoating, including the Electrocoat Association and PF Online (Electrocoating Zone). PPG, the leading supplier of coatings for this process, has a file you can directly download from their website: Other suppliers include BASF and Valspar.

Toby Padfield
- Michigan

Ed. note August 2016: That PPG file is presently located at

A. Being in India I cannot tell what is the true picture in USA. But here in India the major hurdle used to be the investment in E-coating equipment. But we start our systems from a size as small as 500 liters which can process 1.4 square meters every three minutes. We plan that an efficiently run system can process 600 square meters per 24 hours working. The system could be manual, semi automatic or fully automatic. The selection depends upon the customers need and investment limit.

If you need more details, please feel free to get in touch with us. Hope this helps.

Gurvin Singh
Mohali, Punjab, India

A. Well here in the USA the capitol costs are quite high as well. You would need fairly large volumes on a consistent basis to justify a line. It does depend a great deal on the size of the parts you are racking as well. Our labor costs are about 20-30% on a line that runs a variety of sizes of parts. The line is energy and chemically consumptive as well.

Mike Wells
- Jamestown, New York

A. I operated a very large line with large capacity, it demands $2.5 million in annual sales.

Angelo Pernasilici
- Chatham, Ontario, Canada
June 24, 2009

thumbs up signThanks all!

I have seen large lines like Mike and Angelo describe, but I suspect that it is also possible to build substantially more affordable small automatic e-coating lines like Gurvin describes if the parts are all small. I doubt that manual or semi-automatic lines will fly in America though due to stringent safety concerns regarding high voltage electricity.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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