TEC Edmonton Works with Innovator Cadillac Coatings on its Finishing Touches
Nobody said entrepreneurship would be easy.
But if Cadillac Coatings Corporate Administrator Cheryl Pidzarko had known…
Fifteen years ago, her husband Dennis Pidzarko, now President of Cadillac Coatings, owned a custom cabinet shop. He’d long been concerned about the quality and look of colour finishings on wood, until, one day, he came across an aluminum hand-rail that had been “powder-coated” as a finishing.
It looked great. Could this not, Dennis thought to himself and to Cheryl, be duplicated on wood?
Fast-forward to 2015. Cadillac Coatings has a 14,000 square foot, scrupulously clean facility in Edmonton’s east end, dominated by a massive, automated prototype, a proprietary coating production/machine system, in which all kinds of non-metallic building products – fibre cement, medium-density fibreboard, light concrete – can be powder-coated, baked and cured in one continuous operation to a glistening, perfect, non-combustible surface colour.
But no hardwoods. “The more Dennis got into the project,” Cheryl says, “the more we realized the market for powder-coating on hardwood wouldn’t be that big.”
And the bigger the project got, the bigger the commitment. In 2009, Dennis and Cheryl decided to make Cadillac Coatings their one and only business.
After years of investment, in new technologies, in perfecting its recipes, Cadillac Coatings is now established in the market, is 100% environmentally friendly and has attracted the attention of architects and building designers. Most important of all, Cadillac Coatings is starting to turn a profit.
Having won first place in the second-annual Canada-wide Innovation of the Year Competition at EcoBuild in London, England, Cadillac Coatings is moving into the international marketplace via the United Kingdom.
In the beginning, Dennis devised a primitive conveyor system at home, to move the materials through an IR (infrared) oven which heated and gelled the speciality powders, then was passed under UV (ultra-violet) rays for a special curing, making a painted product with such glistening colour, textures, sheens and durability that Cadillac Coatings could confidently offer a 10-year warranty.
The garage prototype grew and grew. On today’s automated system, workers feed the unfinished product into one end, and remove the finished product at the other. The process has the potential to be sold as a complete finishing system.
“It would be ideal,” Cheryl says, “to manufacture our own powders, giving us the opportunity to offer full customized finishing solutions including the powders, manufacturing equipment, maintenance and trouble-shooting. But the UV light-curable powder resins are expensive and are at present imported from Europe. We’ll leave the powder manufacturing to the experts.”
Cadillac Coatings has had a long and positive relationship with TEC Edmonton including patent research, market assessments and bringing business challenges to the TEC Source Business Panel, where business experts volunteer a few hours of their time to listen and offer advice, based on long experience, to entrepreneurs.
“We’re not quite there yet”, says Cheryl. But the light at the end of a long entrepreneurial tunnel is shining brighter and brighter for Cadillac Coatings.
“With TEC Edmonton’s help,” says Cheryl, “we are still learning what Cadillac Coatings is capable of.”