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Switch to waterborne finish pays off big

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As water-based formulations have improved in recent years more large wood finishing operations are taking a second look at the technology and are asking if this is the right time to switch to water-based coatings. After a two-year evaluation process, Zeeland, MI, office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller switched its entire finishing system from traditional solvent-based finishes to new Zenith water-based coatings from Valspar. Engineering manager Rich Saddler who managed the change, believes moving to water-based finishes was the right step for Herman Miller. Process time was reduced from two hours to 30 minutes, and Herman Miller was able to recycle its finish, something it couldn't do with the solvent system. Herman Miller produces thousands of finished parts per week, ranging from flat stock such as desks, tables and overhead storage flipper-doors, to top-caps and trim rails. Water-based formulations have improved dramatically since they were first introduced 20 years ago.

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