Volume 11 | Issue 2 | Year 2008

Forrest Paint Company was established in 1973, and now offers a variety of liquid and powder coatings, with the ability to provide products formulated to meet end users’ needs. The customer base includes distributors, contractors, and original equipment manufacturers regionally, nationally, and internationally. The company currently distributes its products on five continents through 12 warehouses worldwide. It also sells to contractors and consumers locally with its line of house paints and a variety of architectural coatings, tools, and accessories.

Forrest Paint Company is named for founder and CEO Scott Forrest, a chemical engineer by training who became one of the leading coatings experts in the Pacific Northwest. He built the enduring coatings company from a handful of employees in the beginning to 130 today including 10 research chemists. Many employees have been with the company two decades or more, lending a long-term expertise that contributes to the firm and the industry.

“Most of our products are developed for a specific end customer to meet their needs,” said Mark Forrest, vice president of the company and the founder’s son. “We go out and find customers using coatings or who have a specific need that they are not able to get addressed by a larger company. We can develop custom formulated products that offer them some advantage, such as performance, cost-savings or environmental improvement.”

Forrest Paint Company is a leader in high performance coatings for use on wood, metal, plastics, and other substrates. Industrial coatings include enamels, polyurethanes, epoxies, primers and others. Specialties include custom batch runs with quick turnaround time in drums, totes, bladders, or tankers. Company engineers are experts in R&D for powder, water base, solvent base, and UV cure chemistries for wood coatings. The company also makes primers and flat line finishes for the wood industry regionally. In addition to general industrial and UV coatings, heat-resistant coating technologies are a particular forte including new and unique high temperature powder coatings that resist rust and thermal shock, designed for use on muffler systems or a variety of automotive machinery.

“Stove Bright® is our own label of high-temperature paint. To go along with it we make various other products like glass cleaner, metal prep cleaner, and gelled fire starter. We also do custom packaging and private labeling of products for a number of companies in aerosol cans, everything from paints to novelty products,” Forrest reported.

The Stove Bright® hearth products line is a global leader in the category and encompasses a wide variety of standard and custom formulations of temperature-resistant liquid and powder coatings for surfaces that require heat resistance such as appliances and fireplaces. Stove Bright can withstand environments exceeding 1200°F. The selection includes products to meet, low VOC, low HAPS, MACT specs, in fast-dry dip or spray.

Forrest Paint Company is a pro-active, ecologically responsible, manufacturing company. “It’s partly because of our geographic location. Oregon is a very green state and Eugene in particular is a very green community,” Forrest said. “We’ve made an extra effort to develop more environmentally friendly coatings. That in part led us into making powder coatings, which are one of the most environmentally friendly technologies.”

Unlike traditional paint, powder coating application allows for minimal waste and pollution, as well as minimal energy consumption.

“Powder coating is a technology of the future. It has a relatively small market share in the coatings industry now. But it’s been growing rapidly because it’s non-hazardous and you can recycle your waste. In some cases customers can reuse the overspray to utilize 95 percent of material, whereas with standard paint a lot of the spray misses the part and goes off into the [factory’s air] filters.”

Powder coatings are used on everything from farm equipment to appliances and consumer products. Forrest also produces high-temperature coatings used for exhaust equipment, boilers and other industrial applications. The coatings save energy and costs because they are applied in a more efficient production process. “When you run powder through a baking oven, it generally cures within 10 to 20 minutes. You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry. As soon as it comes out of the oven it’s cross-linked, hard and durable. The kind of finish you get out of a powder coating is equivalent to a very high-end liquid paint in terms of durability but it is much lower cost,” Forrest explained.

In addition to providing for a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly application process for end users, the actual manufacturing of powder coatings at Forrest Paint Company is also better for the planet since it contains no solvents.

Forrest has also been a pioneer in solvent emission reductions from its liquid factory. “We were one of, if not the first, paint manufacturer to install a biological air scrubber, which is an alternative to an after burner. Ordinarily a big carburetor sits on top of the factory, which costs up to a million dollars and burns $20,000 a month or more worth of natural gas,” he said. “We installed a biological filter that was substantially less expensive to install and operate.” The technology uses a plastic media on which “good” bacteria grow in columns. The bacteria scrub the air by “eating” the solvents, removing up to 80 percent of air emissions without gobbling energy.

“It’s sort of like maintaining a big fish tank filter. It’s touchy to operate but we’re in the process of proving a new technology that will be beneficial in the future. A lot of large factories end up burning millions of dollars in natural gas to incinerate their emissions, which is not only costly but just spews more carbon into the atmosphere. So the air scrubber has been a big plus for our green mission.”

Custom formulations of environmentally safe products further help the company’s customers meet their own factory air quality requirements, allowing clients to expand manufacturing yet stay within air permit allowances.

As an innovator in specialty coatings, Forrest Paint Company is backed by tremendous technical support. The laboratory consists of departments in metal, wood, and powder coatings. The lab staff is comprised of chemists and technicians, who provide quality control and dynamic research and development. Liquid products include: UV cured, water reducible, low VOC, low HAPS, epoxies, urethanes, high temperature coatings, primers and alkyd enamel systems, along with many other products engineered for specific applications. In addition to high temperature, the powder coatings line includes polyesters, epoxies, hybrids, and polyurethanes in standard and fast cure formulations.

The company itself is a resilient mid-sized manufacturer able to endure the current housing slump, which has had a negative effect on the coatings industry. Bucking another trend, Forrest Paint Company distributes its products worldwide, but maintains manufacturing in the U.S. while others have been consolidated or focused their new investment overseas.

“The niche we fill is created because the bigger companies aren’t able to provide the kind of formulation and extra service to medium-to-small OEMs that we do. With some of the larger companies, if the customer doesn’t buy a million dollars a year worth of paint, they receive a minimal level of service. For accounts from $50,000 to $1 million, we are able to provide a lot more service, custom formulation and focus than a larger company,” Forrest said.

“Our job is problem solving. We don’t just provide a product. There are a lot of layers to coatings application, especially if you are pushed with environmental regulations or need to keep changing your coatings to lower cost, reduce emissions, and improve your product. By maintaining a company culture that keeps good people here over the long term, we provide better solutions.”

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