Zero Toxic Waste: How We Reduced Our Carbon FootPrint

    As we continue to grow at SpaceGuard Finishing Solutions, we strive to find new ways to add value to our customers and give back to our community. Recently, we reduced our carbon footprint in the environment by removing toxic waste and heavy metals from a significant portion of how we do business.

    A year ago, SpaceGuard Finishing Solutions introduced a new powder booth system—a fully automated Wagner powder booth with 16 automated guns and two manual guns. This state-of-the-art powder coating line can handle several metal substrates with a silhouette of 24″ wide by 66″ high by 148″ long, including steel and aluminum.

    We also operate a batch powder booth that can accommodate 24′ long parts and a more extensive profile. (Learn more about the benefits of the batch powder booth in an upcoming blog.)

    When the metal arrives at our factory, it goes through a three-step prep or cleaning process to remove any additional debris before entering the powder booth. First, a wash. Next, a rinse, and then a final rinse.

    Like many of our competitors, our pretreatment wash process included iron phosphate. Phosphate is a heavy, toxic metal that is not good for our environment—drinking water, groundwater, or natural water.

    It can’t drain into the city sewer drain and needs to be captured, treated, and sent off for testing. This process is tedious, time-consuming, and costly. However, until now, we haven’t had a viable alternative.

    The Green Alternative

    A couple of times a year, we must drain, filter, and clean the harsh toxins from the water tank that holds the phosphate. Around October of last year, Jason Noel, our Manufacturing Equipment Manager, began researching alternatives. And he found a greener pretreatment using organic zirconium.

    “When it came time to drain and wash the tank, I wondered how we stop doing it, and going ‘green’ was the only option. So now we’re saving time, money, and the environment,” commented Jason Noel.

    Zirconium is not a hazardous material like phosphate. We don’t need to collect it or perform testing. And because it’s a natural mineral, it’s safe to drain directly into the city sewer/water system.

    Also, because zirconium doesn’t require high temperatures, we don’t have to use as much energy or gas to heat the water. The phosphate requires temperatures of 125-130 degrees to clean the metals. But zirconium only requires 70 degrees to heat. Since it’s not high, the water does not evaporate as fast, and we save on water and natural gas.

    Another benefit of organic zirconium is it prevents flash rust. Although we do not typically have a flash rusting problem, it’s still possible. When steel gets wet quickly, surface rust can develop.

    However, this pretreatment reduces the flash rust between the time it comes from the rinse cycle and into the dry-off oven. Rust can prevent the powder from adhering to the metal properly, which of course, we want to avoid.

    Product Testing

    The zirconium pretreatment etches the steel or metal as it cleans. This process opens the substrate so the powder can more readily adhere and produces a clean finish. To verify the powder adheres properly, Noel performs various tests ensuring our customers receive the best product on the market. These tests let him know if there were problems with the three-step pretreatment process or the curing process.

    The first test is called a cross-hatch test. It requires using a small multi-bladed knife to create a tic-tac-toe pattern cutting through the paint into the steel. Then a piece of heavy tape is pressed over the design and then pulled off. If paint comes with it, the test fails.

    The second test is the MEK test, which is a solvent like a paint thinner. The solvent is applied to a Q-tip and then swiped across the paint about 20 times. If the paint begins to fade away or peels off, the test fails.

    The third is a peel test, which means taking a knife and scoring the paint. If the paint circles like a pig’s tail, then the paint has a good cure. If it flakes or chips, the paint did not cure well. Once again, there was a problem either with the three-step pretreatment process or the curing process.

    And finally, there is an impact test where a 5lb weight is dropped about 10inches onto the metal. If the paint chips or cracks, then the test again fails.

    “Since installed, our powder booth has only failed a test one time,” said Jason, “I test randomly, several times a day. With the zirconium pretreatment, it would be doubtful for us to fail a test. But I will keep testing to make sure we are consistently producing the best product on the market every time!”


    With this new zirconium pretreatment, we help save the environment. Plus, by not using heavy metals like phosphate, we also save on natural gas and water. And we’re passing the savings onto you, our customers.

    With the product testing, you know you’re receiving the best wire mesh product on the market. The paint won’t flake, chip, or rust.

    Additionally, we offer powder coating services to customers in the fabricated metal products sector. Our powder booth can accommodate metal substrates up to 24″ wide by 66″ high by 148″ long.

    We also offer batch powder coating services for small volumes, large sizes, odd configurations, and a variety of other requirements. And, with our batch powder booth, we can accommodate products up to 24′ long.

    Contact a member of our sales team for more information or a quotation today.

    Download CaseStudy PDF

    SpaceGuard Finishing Solutions is a subsidy of SpaceGuard Products and provides powder coating services to customers in the fabricated metal products sector.

    MHEDA 2021 MVS Award

    MVS (Most Valuable Supplier) Award for 2021

    SpaceGuard Products has earned the prestigious MVS (Most Valuable Supplier) Award for achievements in 2020 for the 5th consecutive year. The MVS Award is granted by the industry’s trade association, MHEDA  to less than 10% of all member companies.  The MVS  industry Award recognizes companies who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to their dealer network, employees, and community.

    Qualifications for MVS Award

    To qualify for the MVS Award, SpaceGuard Products had to meet a series of criteria in several important areas. In addition, to confirming an on-going commitment to safety and employee training, award recipients must provide documentation of active participation in a program that “gives back.”

    MVS Award winners have demonstrated an overall commitment to business excellence in the following areas:

    1. Industry Advocacy
    2. Distributor Advocacy
    3. Business Networking
    4. Continuing Education
    5. Business Best Practices

    “It is an honor to be recognized with MHEDA’s Most Valuable Supplier award for our fifth consecutive year. SpaceGuard continues to challenge itself to become a more responsive and innovative partner to our distributor network. As always, we are honored by the recognition of  those efforts by our peers. Thank you!” –Eddie Murphy, President of SpaceGuard Products


    “Material Handling Equipment has been a dealer of SpaceGuard Products for over five years. We have had a great opportunity to work with them on many projects. It’s been our experience they excel in providing excellent products and service in a highly professional manner.” –Chris Chapman, Manager of Business Development, Materials Handling Equipment


    “Both of MHEDA’s Awards, the MVP and MVS, are difficult to achieve without a companywide commitment to excellence in education, networking, and community service.  The companies that earn this distinction from MHEDA are the premier materials handling providers in the industry,” said Mike Wall, 2020 MHEDA Chairman of the Board and President of CSI Materials Handling in Westmont, IL.

    About SpaceGuard Products

    SpaceGuard Products is a leading manufacturer of wire mesh partitions and area guarding products. These products include wire mesh storage lockers, rack safety panels, aisle guarding, and mezzanine rail guarding. With over 100-years of product experience, SpaceGuard Products is the most experienced wire company in the market today. All of SpaceGuard products/brands are proudly manufactured in Indiana along with all the raw materials purchased locally. We are committed to providing excellent products and service to our dealers and customers. For more information, visit

    About MHEDA

    MHEDAis the premier trade association dedicated to serving all segments of the material handling business community.  The Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association represents close 600 companies in the material handling equipment business. Located in suburban Chicago, the association provides services to companies seeking to improve their business through education, networking, benchmarking, and best practices. For more information, visit

    Download Press Release

    Since March, this Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business, and in many ways, the landscape of our country has become unrecognizable. Five months later, and many people are still unemployed, while small companies continue to struggle.

    Fortunately, SpaceGuard Products has been blessed. We have remained in business and, thankfully, have not laid off any employees.

    “And, to show our appreciation, we gifted four 3×5 plexiglass partitions on wheels to our friends at Special Dogs and More in Columbus, Indiana,” said Eddie Murphy, President of SpaceGuard Products. “We did this to help them increase their seating capacity, which has caused business to be turned away from this amazing restaurant.”

    These partitions offer adequate protection for social distancing, and customers are encouraged to draw on them as well with dry-erase markers. Children are in love with the idea!

    “The partitions are helping. We have had more people eat inside this past week than in weeks before. Customers are taking advantage of the dry erase markers and drawing some awesome pictures on the boards, which is pretty cool.”—Special Dogs Facebook Post

    Special Dogs and More opened in October 2017 with the mission to “employ and train those with mental, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.” Their goal is to help those who have been described as unemployable become employable, all while providing the best hotdogs, burgers, tenderloins, and corndogs around. And we believe they are accomplishing their mission!

    Recently, the restaurant had its bi-annual health inspection and was told by the health inspector they are doing everything right. They provide face shields for employees and offer the right amount of seating based on social distancing and the size of their restaurant. Oh, and by the way—the health inspector loved the plexiglass partitions!

    When you’re ready to dine in a restaurant again, keep Special Dogs and More in mind. They will be prepared to serve you with a smile, and don’t forget while you’re there to draw a picture for them on the plexiglass partitions. Also, they offer outside seating and take-out as well.

    Commando Lock

    SpaceGuard Products is excited to announce that we now offer the Military Grade Commando Lock which is used by the US Armed Forces worldwide. They are made in the USA and fit almost 95% of all applications.

    Commando Locks contain 10 security pins with the industry-leading anti-pick technology making them hard to pick. Also, they are constructed with steel alloy which means they are hard to cut.

    When compared to local hardware stores, Commando Locks are competitively priced and can be keyed at any hardware location.

    Make sure to ask for the Commando Lock on your next SpaceGuard Products cage or locker order! Contact us for a free quote.

    Download a Commando Lock Brochure

    SpaceGuard Products is a U.S. manufacturer of modular fencing products used for numerous area guarding and secure storage solutions. Offering both pre-engineered and custom products in a wide variety of woven, welded, and expanded metal meshes, SpaceGuard prides itself on creating value through superior customer service and a commitment to delivering the highest quality product on the market.

    Created By Industrial Sage News