The Lubrication division designs and sells equipment for use in vehicle servicing. We supply pumps, hose reels, meters, valves and accessories for use by fast oil change facilities, service garages, fleet service centers, automobile dealerships, auto parts stores, truck builders and heavy equipment service centers.
We also offer systems, components and accessories for the automatic lubrication of bearings, gears and generators in industrial and commercial equipment, compressors, turbines and on- and off-road vehicles. Automatic lubrication systems reduce maintenance need and down time and extend the life of the equipment. Industries served include gas transmission, petrochemical, pulp and paper, mining, construction, agricultural equipment, food and beverage, material handling, metal manufacturing, wind energy and oil and natural gas.
The Contractor segment represented approximately 33 percent of our total sales in 2016. Through this segment, we offer sprayers that apply paint to walls and other structures, with a range of product models that can be used by do-it-yourself homeowners to professional painting contractors. Contractor equipment also includes sprayers that apply texture to walls and ceilings, highly viscous coatings to roofs, and markings on roads, parking lots, athletic fields and floors.
This segment’s end users are primarily professional painters in the construction and maintenance industries, tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers. Contractor products are marketed and sold in all major geographic areas. We continue to add distributors throughout the world that specialize in the sale of Contractor products. Globally, we are pursuing a broad strategy of converting contractors accustomed to manually applying paint and other coatings by brush-and-roller to spray technology.
Our Contractor products are distributed primarily though distributor outlets whose main products are paint and other coatings. Certain sprayers and accessories are distributed globally through the home center channel. Contractor products are also sold through general equipment distributors outside of North America.
The primary materials and components in our products are steel of various alloys, sizes and hardness; specialty stainless steel and aluminum bar stock, tubing and castings; tungsten carbide; electric and gas motors; injection molded plastics; sheet metal; forgings; powdered metal; hoses; electronic components and high performance plastics, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The materials and components that we use are generally adequately available through multiple sources of supply. To manage cost, we source significant amounts of materials and components from outside the United States, primarily in the Asia Pacific region.
In 2016, our raw material and purchased component availability was strong, and our costs were relatively flat compared to the prior year. We did see some cost pressure toward the end of 2016, particularly in aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel bar stock, plastics and copper, which we expect will continue into 2017.
We endeavor to address fluctuations in the price and availability of various materials and components through adjustable surcharges and credits, close management of current suppliers, price negotiations and an intensive search for new suppliers. We have performed risk assessments of our key suppliers, and we factor the risks identified into our commodity plans.
We own a number of patents across our segments and have patent applications pending in the United States and other countries. We also license our patents to others and are a licensee of patents owned by others. In our opinion, our business is not materially dependent upon any one or more of these patents or licenses. Our Company also owns a number of trademarks in the United States and foreign countries, including registered trademarks for “GRACO,” “Gema,” several forms of a capital “G,” and various product trademarks that are material to our business, inasmuch as they identify Graco and our products to our customers.
Sales to Major Customers
Worldwide sales in the Contractor and Industrial segments to The Sherwin-Williams Company represented 10 percent of the Company’s consolidated sales in both 2016 and 2015.