Case. the rainbow in the powder
«We will paint the whole Ukraine!» -Kyiv entrepreneurs Vyacheslav and Olga Kovalchuk promise. More recently they have opened the production of powder coatings corresponding to the European quality standards first in the country. We have talked about features of this complex, but perspective business.
The factory of powder coating production TM LACOVER, owned by Lacover LLC, is located near Kyiv, in an industrial zone in the forest. The enterprise does not spoil ecology of environment: unlike the usual paints poisoning air and water with "chemistry" , the dry powder coating is absolutely non-toxic.
As the candidate of chemical sciences, the chief technologist of the enterprise Olga Kravchenko said: "In Europe, the struggle against volatile organic compounds, the main part of which is made up of solvents, is gaining momentum. They are the most toxic components of paints. Alternative are the aqueous paints which do not have solvents. But they have weaker protective properties. Therefore for the last 5 years the segment of powder coating is very actively growing and developing. In our coating there is no formaldehyde and similar substances, in fact, it can be called as environmentally neutral. " However, global environmental trends are less important for Ukrainian consumers than such indicators as quality, price, economy and a wide range of applications of this product. That is why active growth of the market of powder coating began the same 5-6 years ago. "Prior to the opening of the plant, we were one of the leaders in the import of powder coating to Ukraine. We are engaged in this activities for now on. We work with high-quality paints Element certified by Turkish manufacturers - says the company's founder Vyacheslav Kovalchuk. - Also we supply custom-made equipment for coating application. But in the last couple of years, due to the instability of the exchange rate, unpredictable changes in the economy, we had to ... develop further. Enterprises that work with metal structures bought and will buy paint. But the the question of its cost has become crucial, and the choice has shifted from quality goods to cheaper ones, for example, Chinese ones. On this background we have decided to create our own - Ukrainian products, which will be provided with high quality, but for reasonable price ".
The first powder coating production line was launched in January 2016 at the Lacover plant. As the the director of the company Olga Kovalchuk told: "We have established production and supplying chains less than for a quarter. Today, we have a line that can produce 300 kg of paint per hour. Up to 2.5t for a working shift. This is a scheduled download. But our line is already loaded, and we are in need of purchasing a second one. " The staff of the company is also growing, today there are 30 people working here - mainly production and sales department.
Quick organization of loading capacities and orders from existing client – the company make it happened. It was far from easy to build it: in such a specific b2b-sphere advertising, PR and usual promotion methods do not work. The most effective is the old and simple method. "Meetings with potential customers, work with cold calls, direct sales to the consumer. Our customers have been and remain manufacturers who are engaged in metalworking. From the very beginning and until now we have permanent business trips, trips around the cities, various industries. We work with the client individually, "Vyacheslav Kovalchuk shares his experience.
One of the problems of business, he said, is that customers are used to buying foreign goods. They do not believe that Ukraine can produce products that are comparable in quality to European analogues. In the short term, entrepreneurs scheduled presentations and meetings for the industry, so that potential customers could see efficiency on their own eyes. An equally convincing argument is "tasting" products - manufacturers can get a kilogram of paint for free on demand. For understanding: to paint one square meter of surface, you need about 200 grams of paint. A gift package is enough to paint, for example, a refrigerator.
The plant uses European certified components for the production of coatings. But the final quality of the product depends not only on the "ingredients" and equipment. "The coating is not so easy to make, as it seems," the main technologist Olga Kravchenko tells. - Because of the variety of components, even white color can turn out completely different. It depends on pigments and fillers. To create the necessary color is an art. And the professionalism of workers who should stick to the formula correctly. For paints there is a special "ral" - a catalog where a large palette of colors and shades is given, we recreate them experimentally. "
The coating consists of polymer, fillers, pigments and additives. All this is mixed in a mixer. Then under the influence of temperature melts and in the form of a dense homogeneous liquid flows down to the cooling belt. There it thickens, divided, grinded to the necessary size and packed up.
Entrepreneurs started working with white colors, because in Ukraine they are consumed the most. They are used for painting commercial equipment, household appliances, electrical panels, etc. Sales leaders - white glossy colors, white wrinkle (relief "orange peel"). The second most popular is the gray color. Now we work at wider range of colors for the portfolio: one color or shade is added every week. For today there are more than 200 kinds of RALS.
The complexity of working with paints is not only in colors and shades. "The color in the paint is not everything, as it is glossy or matte, it has the texture, the density of application, the specific application (external or internal). All this diversity is in demand in the market. One white paint in the catalog can have about 15 options, "- the main technologist of production shares secrets.
To output one specific color in accordance with the pallet, more than one hundred samples are created in the laboratory and in the production! As the director Olga Kovalchuk points, many manufacturers represented in the Ukrainian market have lots of inconsistencies in the products and Rals. The reason for this - unwillingness to spend a lot of time and money on the development stage of the industrial series. The team of the plant is proud of its standard quality and full compliance of the products with color standards. However, the development of paint can be performed not only in accordance with the catalog, but also according to the individual wishes of the customer. Unlike foreign manufacturers who need at least a month for such work and lot delivery, - it takes Lacover a week (maximum) for the whole cycle.
One of the advantages of our powder coating is wide application. Everything that is made of metal, from shovels to refrigerators, is painted with it. Vyacheslav Kovalchuk notes that the scope of their products is primarily commercial equipment. All that we see in supermarkets, on what products lie, what they lie in, is painted with powder coating. Such coatings are applied to ATMs, advertising, facade structures. Sports inventory - horizontal bars, swings. Domestic agrotechnics - seeders, plows, individual parts of tractors. Household appliances, electrical equipment, collectors, batteries, water heaters, lighting equipment, metal doors, car disks, bicycles ... The founder of the company is convinced - if you compare the products of his enterprise with the products of importers, it will be much better than that imported from Turkey, China: We focus on the European production experience. We go, we look, we introduce progressive solutions. Not so long ago, experts from Poland came to us to exchange experience. In July we are waiting for our colleague from France. We cooperate with suppliers of raw materials, and they are ready to share with us the progressive knowledge and skills, innovations in the industry. "
The segment of powder coating is the fastest growing in the world, for now. In Ukraine, this direction is represented mainly by import. There are producers on Ukrainian market except "Lacover" but they try to compete through a low price at the expense of quality, and the scale of production is incomparable. "In fact, our company is the largest in Ukraine full-fledged production of powder coating. We were not the only company on the market, but we become the first ones who put the work on a decent level. No other manufacturer in Ukraine has a laboratory for the study of powder coating. We have received all the necessary certificates of SES, ISO 9001:200, we are entering the technical committee of the Association of Paint and Varnish Manufacturers. We start developing NSU ( ДСТУ ) ", - emphasizes Vyacheslav Kovalchuk.
To make a product is half of the battle. Very important thing in holding the clients is the ability to promptly work out any consignment of goods and deliver it as quickly as possible. For this purpose, a considerable stock of finished products is stored in the warehouse, ensuring the uninterrupted supply of any volume of coating. The supply chain is simple and optimal. There are three cars for delivery in Kyiv and in the region. Also we use carriers services for regional delivery, like: Autolux, Mist-Express, Nova Posta and others. The client receives the goods in 1-2 days after manufacturing. Supplied lots - from 1 kg to dozens of tons.
«We are still very young enterprise, after we build all processes, we will loudly declare about ourselves. But only when we are assured that we can provide any order, any volume of coating. Our advertising is time. The more manufacturers try our products and become convinced of its quality, the more often the choice will be made in our favor», - Olga Kovalchuk is assured.
Young businessmen have enough ambitions: «We want to become leaders on the post-Soviet territory, no other options. We want to become factory number one in Ukraine and a well - known brand in Europe», - Vyacheslav Kovalchuk shared his dream.