For 40 years now, Metalcolor has been engaged in aluminium coil coating at its Forel factory near Lausanne. From there the company has built its reputation through high quality, reliability and outstanding customer service, whilst focusing on sustainability and human values.
In 1980, the company Metal Graphica moved from Spain to Switzerland and set up operations as Metalcolor SA in Forel close to Lausanne. As of May 1981 and without awaiting an official inauguration, which came in 1982, the new company launched both its coil coating and its slitting lines.
Metalcolor specialises in the coil coating of steel and aluminium strips “this is the most efficient and environment-friendly way of applying high-quality paint to metal surfaces”, says Denys Kaba, a chemical engineer and currently Co-General Manager of Metalcolor. Initially targeting the market for food, beverage and spray cans, Metalcolor was soon to concentrate on aluminium coil coating and would become a leading supplier to producers of external blinds in Switzerland. As of 1984, that status warranted numerous additions and enhancements to its production equipment, as well as a new storage facility.
The year 1987 saw the start of another expansion – into the European market, where the competition was fierce! “For the first time, Metalcolor then staked everything on its incomparable flexibility and its service, which is custom-tailored to suit the needs of clients,” explains Richard Haffter, the other Co-General Manager. That evolution was driven by a second coating line for narrower strips and which was adapted to the processing of small batches. Metalcolor quickly carved out its niche in the market for outside venetian blinds!
The year 1995 brought yet another leap forward in flexibility for paint and colours: Metalcolor became the first aluminium coil coater in Europe with its own paint-mixing unit. This meant shorter delivery times, which became even shorter in 1997 when a “quick change” coater was installed on the large coil-coating line, drastically reducing the time for changing colour batches. The small coating line was similarly equipped in 2003.
Improvements have kept pace with technological advances: widening coating lines, more efficient ovens, a regenerative solvent incinerator, a new 2700-m2 storage facility in 2019, and in 2020 a new slitting line. These investments have boosted our capacity significantly… “But production is not just a matter of machines, it is also about people,” says Richard Haffter. “Through lean management, our employees are involved in a participative management system. The task of every employee is to uncover waste at every level of the company, be it in the form of redundant tasks, machine ergonomics and work processes…”
These investments and adjustments enabled Metalcolor to expand production from 4500 to over 60,000 m2/day over a 40-year period. “Thanks to our made-to-measure products and short delivery times, Metalcolor became the leading supplier of strips for outside venetian blinds in Europe,” says Richard Haffter proudly. At the same time, the company has cut its CO2 emissions substantially and halved the amount of gas consumed for each kilogramme of product, thanks to ever more efficient process heat recovery.
Metalcolor is certified to the following ISO standards: ISO 9001 (quality management system), ISO 45001 (occupational health & safety), ISO 14001 (environmental management system) and ISO 50001 (energy management). Our coatings conform to REACH requirements and regulations. Metalcolor participates voluntarily in the Energy Agency Swiss Private Sector (EnAW) programme. Its objectives are ambitious and demanding. In formal agreements with the Swiss authorities, we have undertaken to reduce our CO2 emissions and energy consumption.
In this year of our 40th anniversary, we will be adding a second induction section to the large coil-coating line including a quick-change coater for double sided coatings, an oven and a cooling unit. A single run will suffice to produce our new 2-layer coatings. “And thanks to other investments, Metalcolor will further expand its capacity by 15% over the next three years to keep pace with the growth of its clients while improving its service level”, Richard Haffter concludes.
Metalcolor continues to focus on lean management. A future-oriented vision that optimally combines customer service, quality, interpersonal relationships and sustainable production.
Denys Kaba & Richard Haffter
General Management de Metalcolor