If you’ve ever wondered where Citibike’s blue bicycles get their gleaming sheen or about the racks on which clothes hang during New York Fashion Week, or how the sets of Jimmy Fallon’s new talk show stand out – you’ll find your answers at a shop tucked away on Division Place in the eastern corner of industrial Greenpoint.
Since 2012, Pride Powder Coating has been providing the finishing touches to an array of metal-made products like lamps, binders, nuts and bolts, film and television production sets, and sculptures – everyday items that most take for granted, but with color that makes these products pop to the casual observer.
The process of powder coating is a mystery to most, but on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Jose Rodriguez, co-owner of Pride, and an expert with 30 years of experience in the business helped distill some of the intricate steps involved in the process.
In most cases, metal parts or objects arrive at the workshop. Occasionally the parts need to be disassembled to be coated, other times Jose works fully constructed metal objects sometimes as large as 20 feet tall and weighing 500 pounds. In some instances the objects need to be sandblasted before they can undergo the powder coating process.
The products are then coated with different colors of powder depending on the clients’ specifications. An electrostatic spray gun is used to apply the powder.
The powder itself is made by drying paint thereby ridding it of its toxic, flammable properties – walking around Rodriguez’ workshop it is quickly evident that employees are not required to wear protective masks as the element of poisonous fumes is entirely extinguished through the drying and crushing of the paint.
“It’s what you’d call the environmentally-friendly, modern version of painting,” said Candace Oshinsky, Pride’s other owner. “The powder is made almost entirely out of recyclable materials.”
Once the coating is complete the metal works pass through ovens, and depending on the objects they pass through conveyer ovens or stationary ones, and the amount of time they’re left in also varies according to the size of the products.
“The heat melts the powder into the metal and prevents it from rusting or catching dust as easily as products coated with paint,” said Rodriguez.
It then takes between 20 and 30 minutes to dry, after which it is ready to be shipped.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez was busy at work coating a large metallic flower sculpture with white powder. The sculptures will be installed in Manhattan along Park Avenue between 42nd and 51st Streets, once they’re complete.
Pride started in a space that was 4,500 square feet and has expanded to 9,000 square feet. The number of employees has also grown from three to 10, and as business picks in the coming weeks and months, Oshinsky said the company would consider buying a truck to pick and deliver products as well. She also envisions her company growing with the community.
“Apart from our ongoing projects, we want to provide services to local manufacturers,” Oshinsky said. “We started from nothing, so we want local businesses to grow, and we want to grow up along with them.”