Medium-Density Fiberboard Makes Spectacular Architectural Doors Possible
By Leah Wheeler
Years ago, when Michael Halverson was talking to a loan officer about innovative ideas for better professional painting and finishing processes, the banker told him: “If it’s not already out there, there’s no need for it.”
Halverson, who has been a painting contractor for more than 20 years, ignored the banker’s silly advice and went on to design a novel finishing, drying and racking system, which he has now brought to market.
“It was an evolutionary process,” said Halverson, founder of Fast Rack Equipment in Appleton, Wis. “I’ve been tinkering with ways to re-engineer the finishing and racking process for roughly eight years. We finally launched the business in August of 2014, and already we have had sales throughout the U.S. as far away as Alaska and in Canada, Australia and England.”
The Fast Rack line includes an adjustable drying rack, transfer cart, cabinet stacker, door handle, trim arm, cross support and a specially designed sawhorse.
Fast Rack modular components are versatile, ergonomic and adjustable, allowing a user to create a custom workstation. Each piece has multiple uses, and all of the pieces are designed to work together as a system.
The equipment fits through most doors and can be disassembled in a just a few minutes and moved from shop to job site.
Fast Rack’s racking and spraying carts have a left side, a right side and telescopic tubing that can be assembled quickly with connecting pins. The drying racks and carts feature specially designed locking pins that allow a user to adjust the rack’s length.
Fast Rack sawhorses can be adjusted for installation and transport, and they are open-ended so carts and racks can be wheeled under them, and users – or even a single user – can transfer doors safely and easily.
“The racks are designed so you can spray flat, which allows you to get thicker mills with no rungs or sags,” Halverson said. “I always crosshatch the sealer coat and the topcoat or, in the case of paint, coats of primer, paint and topcoat from vertical to horizontal to achieve a consistently smooth, even coating.
“Fast Rack equipment rotates and simplifies this procedure tremendously,” he said. “One person can spray a door in about 3-1/2 minutes; two people can spray two doors in under four minutes.”
The system allows a single user to rotate and finish both sides of full-sized doors, window sills, stair end caps, plywood sheeting and cabinet doors simultaneously. Even when a door is wet, a single user can easily and safely transfer doors from the spray transfer cart to the drying rack.
“The single-user capability means that production doesn’t come to a standstill due to a staffing shortage or equipment failure,” Halverson said. “You don’t have guys standing around waiting for paint to dry so that they can move on to the next step.”
This is a big-dollar issue in the industry, said Stacey Mischker, Fast Rack’s operations manager.
“The system’s single-user capability means that you don’t need someone standing by to help you flip doors. You can get the job done by yourself, and this means you don’t have to keep guys on the clock and possibly pay them overtime to meet a deadline. It’s a huge savings.”
Halverson noted, too, that the Fast Rack Equipment system has enabled him to reduce his finishing operation footprint from 5,000 square feet to about 2,000 square feet, thereby freeing up some 3,000 square feet for shipping, receiving and growing his business.
Over the years, the finishing industry has seen significant advancements in the quality of products, such as stains, paints, primersWith the Fast Rack Equipment system, the finishing operational process is now also taking a leap forward.
“We are really excited to get the word out about Fast Rack Equipment for there is nothing else like it out on the market,” Mischker said. “This is a revolutionary new system that makes finishing more effective, efficient and ergonomic whether you’re a single user or part of a production