“All of GFS’ stuff is just stout, very well-built”

When Fox Valley Sandblasting & Powder Coating expanded to a 37,000-square-foot facility in 2020, Mike Schwebke and family wanted equipment that could handle any products that came to their door. A 40-foot-long Batch Powder Oven from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) has been big enough to outsize their competition and help boost their bottom line.

Please introduce your business and tell us your story.

“We are an in-house abrasive blasting and powder coating contractor that was founded by my father, Jim, in 1987. We have always targeted quality, customer satisfaction and expediency. We are big believers that variety is the spice of life. We do a ton of retail work — patio furniture, car parts, motorcycle parts. We also do large-scale production pieces — pump work, large weldments, ornamental iron pieces, structural steel, agricultural equipment. We have manufacturers that send us products as far away as Tennessee, Texas and Colorado. However, most of our work comes from within a 100-mile radius of our shop.”

How did you decide on GFS equipment?

“We have been a customer of Dietz Supply (GFS distributor) for a long time. A lot of our painting equipment we have purchased from them, for almost 30 years. We like that GFS is regional to us, and they have American-made products. All of GFS’ component parts are also more readily available than some of the competition.”

What do you like most about your GFS equipment?

“Compared to a lot of the other equipment we have seen over the years and equipment at our colleagues’ facilities, all of GFS’ stuff is just stout, very well-built. The substructure in both the oven and the booths is significant. A lot of other manufacturers rely too much on sheet metal for strength. Having structural beams, our two Powder Recovery Booths and Open Face Paint Booth are strong on their own.”

How has your GFS equipment benefited your business?

“Our 40-foot-long GFS oven is the second- or third-largest oven in Illinois that is owned by a job shop. We take advantage of the volume of the oven to have things in pre-process or even baked before sandblasting from time to time, while we’re still running other products in the front half of the oven. The temperature and convection inside the oven are also very efficient and consistent.”

What is the plan for the future of your business?

“We haven’t maximized what we can do here yet. When we do, I’m sure we will be looking at more equipment and more space, perhaps satellite locations. We’ve got a little more room to grow. We might put in another oven or another paint booth in this facility before we get to that point. For now, we’re going to try to get as many happy customers in and out of here as possible.”

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