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ll electroplating, anodizing and electrocoating baths require maintenance. One of the most frequent needs is replenishing depleted materials. There are several techniques to accomplish that… It has been and continues to be common in the finishing industry to manually add brighteners, plating solution, acid, caustic, pigment, resin and other materials based on existing conditions, educated

guesses or test-andadd methods. This can vary from measured amounts at prescribed times to a five-gal bucket-full whenever someone thinks of it. Some of the obvious disadvantages include the following: • Forgetting to add the materials; • Adding the wrong amounts; • Adding the wrong materials; • Peaks and valleys in bath chemistry because of inconsistent additions;

Inside This Issue: (page 6) From the

Finishing Spotlight:

• Adding too much material, resulting in scrap, rework and wasted material; • Adding too little material, resulting in scrap, rework and loss of business; • Inability to certify the process; • Difficulty in tracking process costs; and • Process control limits exceeding the specification limits. Reducing Variation Depleting bath chemicals occurs as a function of time, temperaContinued on page 4

(page 15)

NASF’s Sur-Fin 2009


Non-insulated Anodes

(page 9)

Metal finishing and the fourth grade

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INDUSTRY EVENTS 2009 February 8-12, 2009

March 2 – 3, 2009

March 22-26, 2009

NASF Management Conference


American Chemical Society 2009

Palm Beach, Aruba

Las Vegas, NV

National Meeting & Expo

Salt Lake City, UT

February 15-18, 2009

March 4-5, 2009

PACE 2009

SFA Powder Coating Course

New Orleans, LA

Philadelphia, PA

February 17-18, 2009

March 4-5, 2009

RadTech UV/EB West

21st Century Cleaning Tech.

Los Angeles, CA

Philadelphia, PA

February 24–26, 2009

March 17-19, 2009


Middle East Coatings Show 2009

Houston, TX

Cairo, Egypt

March 30–April 2, 2009 WESTEC 2009 Exposition Los Angeles, CA March 31– April 2, 2009 European Coatings Show Nuremburg, Germany For more calendar events, please visit:

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V O L U M E 21 , I S S U E 28

NEWS & NOTES Little Rock, AR Caterpillar Inc. announced it will open a road grader plant in North Little Rock, where it will invest $140 million in its factory and hire 600 workers. Equipment and training at the plant will be state-of-the-art. Work will move from a plant in Illinois, which also makes mining equipment and needs to make room for extra production in that line. Caterpillar announced in June that it would spend $1 billion to upgrade five U.S. plants, money it was able to spend because of demand from other nations. Beijing, China Aviation Industry Corp. of China is building a $1.2 billion helicopter factory in Tianjin, east of Beijing, and should produce its first helicopter this year. Last week, AVIC obtained a 176 billion Yuan ($26 billion) line of credit from a group of 10 governmentowned banks to finance product development and other ventures. Washington, DC The EPA is finalizing changes and clarifications to air quality permitting rules to encourage greater use of flexible air permits. EPA’s assessment of flexible air permits demonstrated that they can enable significant environmental and economic benefits, while reducing administrative workload for permitting authorities and facilities. This final action affects both EPA’s operating permits and New Source Review programs. A facility with a flexible permit would explain its anticipated operational and construction changes for the duration of the permit term. The state, local or tribal air quality permitting authority would include permit conditions to ensure protection of public health and the environment for all of those changes. These flexible permits do not provide approval for changes not within the scope of conditions considered at the time of the permit application. Facilities must still meet their requirements under the Clean Air Act. Mississauga, Ontario Aerospace parts maker Cyclone Manufacturing is bucking the job-shedding trend. The company says it will create 133 jobs by investing in new technology with the help of a $7.7-million grant from the Ontario government. Overall, the company plans to spend $50 million during the next five years to develop parts that are lighter. Company president Andrew

Sochaj says the provincial support will allow Cyclone to speed up its growth plans and offer customers a broader range of products and services. The company's customers have included Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer Slidell. LA Northrop Grumman broke ground Wednesday on a new facility. Northrop in October 2008 bought 3001, a provider of geospatial data production and analysis, including airborne imaging, surveying, mapping and geographic information systems. The new office combines the existing Slidell 3001 office with the one at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The new 20,000 square-foot facility brings 85 jobs, including 50 new positions to St. Tammany Parish. San Antonio, TX - The San Antonio Manufacturers Association (SAMA) awarded MetoKote Corporation, San Antonio, Texas the Environmental Excellence Award in Industrial Pretreatment at the 2008 Environmental Seminar. This award is given annually to Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) that have met the general criteria established by the Division. This criteria includes: not having any reporting violations from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008 to indicate current compliance; the company has been permitted for at least two years; and the company has not been listed as Significantly Non-Compliant (SNC) in the past three years. In addition, award recipients must display environmental stewardship by recognizing best management practices, water conservation practices, pollution prevention and initiatives that are educational, innovative, cooperative, responsive, voluntary and effective. MetoKote had top honors this year and was one of only three companies selected. Detroit, MI Ford Motor Co. began manufacturing the Fiesta subcompact car in China on January 16th as it aims to introduce the car around the world through 2010. The Fiesta will be built at the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The car will go on sale late in the first quarter. Ford has been touting the Fiesta as its first "global car" since a version of the vehicle - with very little changes - will be available in almost every car market where Ford has a pres

ence. The Fiesta, which made its debut at the North American International Auto Show in 2007 under the name, "The Verve," will go on sale in the U.S. sometime in 2010. Charlotte, NC Goodrich and RollsRoyce announced today that they’ve formed a joint venture company to develop and supply engine controls for Rolls-Royce aero engines. The joint venture company, Rolls-Royce Goodrich Engine Control Systems Limited, operates as Aero Engine Controls. Each of the contributing companies owns 50 per cent of Aero Engine Controls. Goodrich will retain the aftermarket products and services business associated with the joint venture's products. Washington, DC The Powder Coating Institute (PCI) has announced that Rodger Talbert will join the PCI team as Technical Director. This newly created role is aligned with PCI's goals to offer additional benefits to members by providing technical expertise and support to the entire industrial coatings market place. As Technical Director, Rodger will act as the technical liaison between PCI and the market place, focusing on training and education. With Rodger's extensive experience and background in the coatings industry, PCI will now be able to offer technical guidance, market research, speaking and training, coating evaluation and testing, and much more Stennis Space Center, MS 27 high school teams from MS, LA, and FL gathered at Stennis Space Center’s StenniSphere for the regional kickoff of the 18th annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competition. It’s the first step towards the national and international competition. Teams will participate in the Bayou Regional, March 19-21 at the University of New Orleans, to qualify for a place in April at the FIRST Championship in Atlanta. Conklin, NY Impress USA, a global leader in the consumer metal packaging industry, will build a new manufacturing plant in Coklin, NY. The project will initially bring 75 new, full-time employees to the location during the first phase of construction and initial operations.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1‌‌BETTER BATH MAINTENANCE BY: CRAIG HENRY, JP TECH ture and the number of items moving through the bath. As you can see in Figure 1, if additions are made every 8 hr, the concentration of the bath varies significantly during the day. This illustration is based on the premise that the amounts

added are correct. If the additions are made less frequently, then the effect is even more pronounced. Compare the previous variation to Figure 2 where additions are made once per hour. It is obvious that the variation within the

bath is much less. This variation can be improved even more with more frequent additions. Measuring the correct parameter (time, amp-hr, conductivity, pH) that correlates with the rate of depletion and replenishing the bath at the corresponding rate will minimize process variation. This manifests itself in optimizing both costs and quality because expensive chemicals are not wasted, scrap and rework are reduced, and process predictability is enhanced. Amp-Hr Basis for Additions Using amp-hr to add materials is based on a direct correlation between the depletion rate and the amount of product going through the bath. This is true whether you are an electroplater, anodizer or electrocoater. The amp-hr measurement combines both time and current used and accommodates variances in load size as well as the time spent in the bath. The amp-hr meter constantly samples the amount of current used by the rectifier and generates an amphr measurement. The controller then sends a signal to the pumping system to add the required amount of material to the bath to replace the amount consumed. The length of time to pump and the frequency of additions can be adjusted to provide the precise amount needed. After these adjustments, an operator should find that the bath does not require testing as often Continued on next page

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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 because the chemistry remains more consistent throughout the day, week and month. • The meter will have several inputs and outputs: • Power (110 or 220 VAC); • Millivolts from the rectifier amp meter or shunt; • Pump outputs from relays in the meter; • Alarm outputs from the meter; and • Level inputs from the additive container. Basic meters will show cumulative amp-hr totals. Optional features will make the meter a more valuable tool as well as making the operation less labor intensive and reliable. Options can include the following:

• Resettable amp-hr totals for load, shift, day or weekly tracking. This feature will allow you to track and trend productivity and compare different operators, shifts, bath chemistries or other factors. • Non-resettable amp-hr totals. This feature is necessary to meet environmental compliance laws and regulations. • Multiple pump operation. This feature allows you add two or more components to a bath at different rates based on the same rectifier and bath outputs. • Multiple rectifier summing. This allows you to sum the amp-hr totals from one bath with multiple rectifiers so the additions can be based on the aggregate total. • The capacity to add up pump cycles and pump run time. This

allows you to track the amount of material added to the bath, use this data for performance trends and generate precise cost data as a function of amp-hr, run time or product. • Permanent memory retention without the use of batteries. This feature is essential to maintain the integrity of data. • Material level alarms. This provides warning before the reservoir is empty so that bath chemistries remain in tolerance. • Fused pump outputs. These protect the meter in the event that a pump motor fails. • PC network capability. This feature allows the user to access all of the data in the meter from a personal computer or PLC, Continued on page 10

Continued on page 8...

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FROM THE FORUM: NON ISULATED ANODES parts? I think if you can do this there are many

Posted in January 2009

here who could help you more. This month we’re taking a look at an issue that eduardot00 in Venezuela is currently experiencing with


his cyanide zinc bath. He is has questions about insu-

The anode bar is attached to the tank, the cathode

lating his anode bars and is having some trouble with burning.

Forum members Dustin Gebhardt, and

Paul Fisher have pitched in to give their two cents

is insulated from the tank and have a round end where the rack stands an get the current, we have

on the problem. Feel free to add your thoughts to

four zinc anodes for each side of the rack, the av-

their ongoing discussion by visiting the forums at

erage bath comp. is: cyanide: 70 g/l, caustic: 48 g/ and choosing the

l, zinc metal: 26 g/l. The pieces whit problem are

Zinc Plating Forum.

of mayor area like in the picture, the small area

For more “From the Forum” discussions, check out

pieces are ok. Thanks!!!

our live internet television show, Finishing Talk Live, where hosts Paul Fisher and Paul Skelton bring our bulletin boards to life on the only IPTV Channel dedicated to the Metal Finishing Industry. www.Finishing.TV

eduardot00 Hello, I’m running a cyanide zinc plating line in Venezuela.

We plate planar steel pieces of


4”x0.7mm average dimensions in a rack of 30pz each, our baths dimensions are: 1x2x1meters, the question is: The anode lead of the rectifier is at-

Dustin Gebhardt

tached to the steel tank, and the zinc anodes are

A burned deposit can be caused by many things.

hanging in a bar welded to the tank, yes they

The parts may be too close to the anode (or the

aren’t insulated!! And I don’t now why because all

tank walls in this case). The current may be too

the theory says the opposite.

We are unsatisfied

high. The zinc metal may be too low. The caustic

with the finishing quality, too many stained or

may be too high (giving too much conductivity and

burned pieces. I would like to know if a reason ex-

therefore too much current).

ists in order that my installation is like that..

Also the bath agitation may be poor.

thanks!! Paul Fisher Hello Edwardo, Can you post some pics of your tank configuration and of the stained and burned

I noticed

that you do not have any sort of mechanical agitation or solution movement. Do you have a filter to help move the solution?

How about eductors?

You don't want to use air for agitation as this will generate excess carbonates.

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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 eduardot00

of the parts by using a robber or shield. It looks

Hello Dustin, we have no agitation at all, but we filter the bath every two months. How can I now the correct anode to cathode distance??? The current density is:

± 4 A/dm2 , the bath comp is:

cyanide: 70 g/l, caustic: 48 g/l, zinc metal: 26 g/l. What do you think about the tank configuration??? None of the zinc cyanide palter in my city use agitation so I don’t think that could be the problem. Looks like chemistry or contamination.


ing?.....mmmmm if it is due to high CD... parts too close to anode....mmmm...or bath chemistry not ok.


Try to construct a cage of wire near the

edges of the part. It may take some time, but it can help on a trial basis. eduardot00 About the carbonates, our chemical supplier also does the weekly analysis of our baths, but he didn’t give me this value... so I don’t control this thing at all.... how can you know if carbonates are giving problems???

I presume for the things you said,

maybe we have too many carbonates... we plate every day 24 hours…

Dustin Gebhardt

Dustin Gebhardt

I agree that many cyanide platers do not use bath agitation, but I have seen remarkable improvements in plating speed (via using higher current densities) and bath brightness (for bright copper cyanide baths). It stands to reason that agitation will help flush away the "spent" solution near the surface of the part and reduce burning in the HCD areas. You can increase the zinc metal slightly to see if that helps. Also, where are your carbonates? 1425g/L is pretty common and at least 7-10 is required for proper bath performance. If this is an established bath, I would suspect that you have enough carbonates.

like you are using copper wire for racking the

Excessive carbonates cause

reduced bath efficiency, which may indirectly cause you to increase current too high, which would burn your parts. Regarding the spacing of the parts to the anodes, try to make the "flat" of the part facing the anode. Try to keep the edges away from the anodes. Edges naturally draw more current and are more easily burned. You can also try to mask the edges

Here is the analysis I use for determining carbonates. It is CRITICAL to rinse many times with step #4. I usually rinse the filter paper 4 or 5 times. Continued on page 8

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Sodium Carbonate Analysis

Dustin Gebhardt

1) Pipette a 5 ml sample of the plating bath into a


250 ml beaker.

carbonate formation.

2) Add 50 ml of DI water to the beaker.

Finishing Market

3) Set the beaker on a hot plate and heat to a

The sodium carbonate is formed by the adsorption

boil. Add 20 ml of 10% Barium Chloride while stir-

of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by the so-

ring the sample. Allow the sample to settle. After

dium hydroxide in the plating solution. If your solu-

the sample has settled add several more drops of

tion is air agitated this will increase the rate of ad-

Barium Chloride and observe if any more precipi-

sorption. Similarly, excessive turbulence from a fil-

tate is formed.

tration system will, over a period of time increase

If so, then add 10 mls more of

10% Barium chloride. 4) Filter the solution through a #2 Whatman filter paper washing the flask and the precipitate with hot DI water. 5) Remove the filter paper with the precipitate in tact and place in a 250 ml flask. Add 100 ml DI water to the flask and place on a hot plate and bring the sample to a boil. 6)When the sample comes to a boil add 3 - 5 drops of Modified Methyl Orange Indicator to the flask and titrate the solution with 0.94N Sulfuric Acid to a permanent purple endpoint.

Note: Re-boil sample if the color fades to green then continue titrating with 0.94N sulfuric Acid. Calculation:

mls of 0.94N Sulfuric Acid X 1.32 =

oz/gal; Sodium Carbonate oz/gal Sodium Carbonate X 7.5 = grams/liter Sodium Carbonate eduardot00 Thanks Dustin, very helpful, I’m going to do this analysis... We prep the weekly additions using air agitation before adding to the bath‌.. maybe this method increase the sodium carbonate concentration???

that is correct - air agitation can increase

the concentration.

We've sold Carbonate Removal

Systems on our website in the past. These systems allow for either continuous and/or batch treatment for the removal of sodium carbonate in plating baths.

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he “ Bluegrass State” will roll out the “red” carpet for metal finishers, suppliers, end users, and OEMs on June 16–17, 2009. That’s when the participants of SUR/FIN 2009—the North American surface finishing industry’s premier trade show and technical conference—are expected to descend on the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville to network, preview new products, and share best business and operational practices.

“Louisville is looking forward to hosting SUR/FIN 2009,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson. “Were a city on the move—our downtown is abuzz with activity, and we are a hub of manufacturing jobs. There’s a reason we call ourselves ‘ Possibility City,’ because in Louisville, anything is possible.” The National Association for Surface Finishing—the show’s organizer and chief sponsor—hopes industry members will “explore the possibilities” when next summer rolls around. And with all that Louisville has to offer, the case to come to Kentucky is very compelling. “The venue just fits SUR/ FIN,” said Eric Olander, vice chairman of the SUR/FIN 2009 Steering Committee. “ Louisville is a good convention town, has great ac-

commodations and area attractions, and it’s easy to move around in. Plus, it’s a quick trip from the airport.” More importantly, the state of Kentucky in general is very “industry-friendly,” which is critical for manufacturing sectors such as metal finishing. In fact, Louisville was recently anointed as the “Southeast’s leader in manufacturing” by Manufacturers’ News magazine. Louisville’s auto manufacturing sector is particularly appealing to finishers. “It’s the gateway to the automotive south,” said Olander, citing Ford, Toyota, and Corvette plants operating in the state. Louisville is also strategically located near some of the world’s largest OEMs and applicators, he added. The importance of Louisville’s role in the auto manufacturing sector was recently demonstrated when Ford Motor Company unveiled a $200 million investment plan to expand operations in the city. Specifically, Ford plans an additional $100 million investment at its Kentucky Truck Plant—on top of the $200 million in retooling over the past two years—to allow the plant to produce the Navigator and Expedition models starting in spring 2009. Ford also plans to invest at least $100 million in the Louisville Assembly Plant to provide the manufacturing flexibility to produce a new, fuel-efficient car for the U.S. market by 2011. The allure of Louisville goes well beyond its industrial attributes. Dubbed America’s “ Most Liveable Large City” by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Louisville offers worldclass performing arts venues, sports and entertainment com-

plexes, fine dining establishments, and a bustling downtown area. Among the main attractions: the famed 4th Street Live District, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby Museum, Waterfront Park, Muhammad Ali Center, Speed Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Zoo, Louisville Science Center, and Six Flags/Kentucky Kingdom, among others. According to the Mayor’s office, more than $2.5 billion in investment and development is currently under way for downtown Louisville. Recent highlights include the multi-purpose arena, $150 million in new development surrounding Louisville Slugger Field, the proposed Iron Quarter Development, and nearly a half-billion dollar proposed expansion of the Fourth Street entertainment district. “The Center City District will be an epicenter of electricity that connects the high-energy areas of our downtown—from the waterfront and throughout the heart of the city,” Mayor Abramson said. “It’s a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar investment that takes our downtown to a new level—from a project-byproject approach to a system of strategically connected districts that serve as economic magnets to draw millions of people, and dollars, to Louisville.” For more information about SUR/ FIN, log on to or visit

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download the data directly and integrate into spreadsheets and reports. It also allows the user to change meter settings and prevent tampering with the meter. • Hand-held computer infrared data access. This is a different method of downloading data directly from the meter or changing parameters with the use of a hand-held computer. • Integral pumps and controllers. This type of unit is very popular since it contains all of the components necessary to "plug and play." They come with one or two pumps and simplify the maintenance and installation of a system. Not all meters will have these features or options. Should you need any or all of them, they may save you a considerable amount of time, money and effort compared to a less versatile product. Time Basis for Additions Some processes, such as cleaning or electroless processes, deplete materials proportionate to the length of time an item spends in the bath. In this situation, an operator would benefit from a time-based controller. These units can replenish either with fixed additions every time a rack enters the bath or as a function of the total number of minutes that accumulate while parts are in the bath. When a rack is placed in the bath, it trips a limit switch, activating these units.


Most of the same features and benefits described for amp-hr based additions pertain to timebased additions.

Benefits of Automated Control

Conductivity or pH Basis for Additions This approach affects not only the direct processes involved in plating, anodizing or electrocoating, but also ancillary processes such as off-line generation or waste treatment, since many of these have portions of the process that are controlled by or sensitive to either pH or conductivity.

• Reduced costs;

In these applications the process in question can either be 1) Monitored with alarm outputs for out-of-tolerance conditions; or 2) Controlled with pump outputs. In the latter case, the meter will constantly track the process parameter selected and when either a high or low level is reached, activate a pump to add the necessary material to bring the process back within tolerance. The more sophisticated meters will track the rate of change and add material at a variable rate to achieve process limits. As before, the benefits of automated control and the meter features will be very similar. Additional considerations include temperature compensation to maintain measurement accuracy and the ability of the meter to accommodate the range that you need to measure.

• Consistent bath chemistry; • Reduced scrap and rework; • Increased productivity; • Accurate process costs; • Process control; • Process certification; and • Ability to sell to more demanding customers; Many of these benefits provide significant tangible rewards in the form of increased profits as well as the intangible benefits of increased peace of mind knowing that these critical process parameters are under control. As with any piece of equipment, periodic checks to ascertain that reservoirs are full, tubes are clear and power is still available. Additional Meter Options Ripple Meters. These units measure the rectifier output and express their readings as a percentage AC of DC voltage. This is significant for a number of reasons: • Process susceptibility. This is important if you are operating a process that is vulnerable to high ripple such as electrocoat, bright chrome or nickel. Rectifier components may fail or degrade while the rectifier is still capable of providing output. Consequently your process may produce unsatisfactory parts without warning and without an imContinued on next page

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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2 mediately visible cause. • Rectifier failure. Your rectifier may experience partial failure or component degradation that will ultimate lead to complete rectifier failure. The ability to sense this before a catastrophic failure occurs can reduce repair costs, unscheduled downtime and loss of production.

• Power consumption. A rectifier operating with a defective component creates high ripple that also means that the rectifier is operating inefficiently, so your power bills are higher to produce the same amount of work. Additional features to consider for this specific product include auto-ranging so that all voltages

can be measured and alarm outputs set at adjustable settings. Flow Meters. These units can both monitor and control the flow of material within the process. They can balance levels in baths, make additions based on the amount of material passing the measurement point and provide summary data and alarm outputs to assure process control. Current Density Meters. The ability to measure current density is an invaluable tool to determine if you are optimizing ion transfer within your bath. By measuring the current density over the entire surface of part racks, you can assess anode placement, anode to cathode ratios, bath efficiency and deposition rates. Meter Selection Determining which brand and model of meter fits your needs should be based on several factors, including but not limited to ease of use, reliability, visibility of display, 110 or 220 VAC input, resistance to harsh environments, size and convenience of mounting and value. Of course, another critical factor is in choosing a vendor who knows your process and can supply reliable products. This article was written by; Craig Henry of JP Tech, East Troy, MI and reprinted with permission from Products Finishing Magazine. The Resource For Product Finishing Professionals ÂŽ 2008 Gardner Publications, Inc .

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ncreasing the capacity of its system made Royston more efficient. But, that's not the only way to increase efficiency. Check out Profiting from Control—The (Up) Right Way to find out more. Stressful situations tend to exacerbate an individual's faults. Take a golfer, for example. When playing alone or on the driving range, most golfers tend to make more technically sound and efficient swings that lead to better shots. However, in the heat of competition, most golfers tighten up. The stressful situation causes the golfer to revert to old swing faults that result in poor shots. You can see this phenomenon virtually every week (at least when Tiger Woods is not playing) on the PGA Tour when a relatively inexperienced player gets near the lead. When finishing lines are pushed toward maximum capacity, they often operate like a golfer under stress. If the line is running at a given capacity, one that is not too taxing for the system's capabilities, you may not notice any faults. Perhaps you're coating at 3 mils instead of 2 mils, but at the given capacity the problem isn't that great. But, as the capacity increases and the finishing system is stressed, that 1 mil difference in coating thickness is multiplied. Instead of costing the company a few thousand dollars, the increased coating thickness is now costing the company tens of thousands of dollars. Good News, Bad News, Good News Royston LLC (Royston, GA) is a manufacturer of high-quality counters and merchandising systems, including shelves, brackets, grids, inserts, moldings and accessories, that are designed to make


convenience stores more convenient. Following the trend of the general economy, the demand for the company's merchandising systems increased dramatically during the 1990s. As demand increased because of a number of new customers, the number of colors that Royston needed to spray increased as well. For much of the decade, the company's powder coating system served it quite well. But, as the system was asked to handle an everincreasing workload, the company realized that its aging powder coating system would no longer be able to keep up with all the new orders. The roll-on, roll-off system The roll-on, roll-off system enables Royston to change colors six or more times per day. Jerry Hall, manufacturing engineering manager at Royston, explained that the existing powder coating system was simply too old and too inefficient to meet the increased demand and added colors. "We were definitely experiencing the strains of growth," stated Mr. Hall. "Most of the strain was coming from our powder coating operation. Inconsistent powder coating coverage required excessive manual touchups, and slow color changes caused slow-downs and bottlenecks. Powder losses caused by poor recovery and contamination exceeded 100 lb/day." The good news of the company's increased business was counteracted by the bad news of its inadequate powder coating system. However, in July 1999, after 2 years of evaluation that included four facility tours and lab tests, Royston received more good news. It came in the form of an automatic powder coating system specially engineered for fast, efficient, contamination-

free reclaim in multiple color finishing applications. "We wanted to install the best system possible," said Mr. Hall. "One that would allow us to become more diversified with regard to part sizes and color options and remain flexible into the foreseeable future. We chose our supplier for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the performance of its powder spray systems. We were also comfortable with the company based on our past experience and the knowledge that they would provide the high level of customer service and technical support we were likely to need before and after the sale." Simply installing a new powder coating booth and some automated spray guns would not have completely removed the stress on the company's existing powder coating system. Therefore, Royston also made the commitment to replace all related systems, including the overhead conveyor and racking system, five-stage cleaning system and bake ovens. "Our supplier worked closely with us and our other equipment and material vendors to design and install the optimal system and to train our personnel to operate the new technology. As a result, we were able to deploy a staged conversion, replacing one system at a time without shutting down and with virtually no loss in productivity," proclaimed Mr. Hall. Meeting the Demands Two Cyclo-Kinetic® roll-on/roll-off powder coating spray booths are the central piece of the new powder coating system. Each booth is equipped with 14 opposing VersaSpray® II automatic guns and two Sure Coat® guns for penetration into Faraday cage areas. Continued on page 14

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he Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) will be offering aluminum extrusion personnel a chance to network and learn from one another at the 2009 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference scheduled for Thursday, March 26 through Saturday, March 28 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers, Florida. This popular industry event will provide practical information as well as industry insights. The 2009 Annual Meeting begins a year long celebration leading up to AEC’s 60th Anniversary. In coordination with the 60th Anniversary kick-off, AEC is inviting past Council leaders to the Annual Meeting. “Inviting these industry veterans will provide members with an opportunity to discuss current issues with the people who have helped build the aluminum extrusion industry and who have faced many of the challenges now faced by current industry leaders,” noted AEC President Rand Baldwin, CAE. The Conference begins on Thursday with the Outdoor Registration Event featuring refreshments and camaraderie beginning in the afternoon. Scheduled afterwards is the Welcome Reception where delegates can connect with friends and colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere. Friday’s preliminary program features two timely General Session presentations. Financial expert Terry Savage will present The Savage Truth on Money. Also

scheduled during Friday’s program is David Weinberger. Weinberger offers numerous years of experience as a philosophy professor, a comedy writer and humor columnist, a strategic marketing consultant, and an early dot-com entrepreneur. His presentations cover how the internet has changed the marketing communication model forever and how to include every piece of information about a product to let the consumer decide what information to utilize. Saturday’s program includes a presentation and a workshop which will feature Don Blohowiak. Blohowiak’s presentation Reorganized? Restructured? Reengineered? Here's How to Get the Work Done! will cover numerous tactics for enabling staff members to produce more high-value/high-impact work amid change. Following the General Session, Blohowiak will conduct the Leadership Workshop. This interactive workshop focuses on how to make the best choice when hiring a candidate in order to create a resilient organization. Delegates can learn new techniques and tactics on how to conduct better interviews, which yield better new employees. In addition to the exceptional presentations, on Friday attendees have the option to take part a golf tournament. This year the tournament will be held at the Shell Point Golf Club. This

setting provides an 18-hole championship course right on the doorstep of Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. The Annual Meeting concludes on Saturday night with the traditional and popular Chairman’s Ball. Here, delegates can enjoy the Chairman's Reception followed by the Ball during which AEC will honor and acknowledge dedicated individuals for their service at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. This event provides an additional opportunity for business development and networking. A brochure containing program information and registration details will be mailed to members in December. Brochures will be available for viewing on the Council’s website section solely devoted to upcoming events, For more information on the Annual Meeting contact AEC at or call 847.526.2010. The Aluminum Extruders Council is the association of the world’s leading manufacturers of extruded aluminum profiles -- The Shapemakers. For more information, contact AEC at 1000 N. Rand Road, Suite 214, Wauconda, IL 60084. Telephone: 847.526.2010; fax: 847.526.3993; e-mail: Visit the Council’s website at

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AUTOMATIC POWDER COATING CONTINUED Depending on the size and shape of the parts, the new system can powder coat up to 1,200 parts per hour with a reject rate less than 1%. And a single shift of five workers can now handle three full shifts of manufacturing. Even though the new system runs at faster line speeds to accommodate the increase in demand, Royston has realized a more consistent film build that has significantly reduced powder use. "With the old system, mil thickness could range from 1-4 mils on a single part," stated Ted McCutchen, production supervisor at Royston. "The system gives us a controllable, consistent thickness of 1.5-2.0 mils from the top to the bottom of every part." Royston's merchandising systems Royston's merchandising systems, which are used in convenience stores, are known for their image-enhancing appearance, flexibility and durable construction. In addition to meeting the increased production levels, the new powder coating system has also enabled Royston to handle the increased number of colors needed to satisfy its customers' demands. The previous process typically required 4 hr of cleaning and preparation to change colors. Not only was the time to change colors too long, but Royston also estimated that it was losing 120 lb of powder to scrap on a daily basis, including 30-40 lb that were sprayed to waste. Average cost of $3/lb, powder loss alone was costing the company $75,000-100,000/yr. With the new spray booths, the company is able to change colors in the offline booth in an average of 1 hr and reclaim multiple colors with efficiencies as high as 98.5%. Spray-to-waste is eliminated, reducing Royston's overall powder-toscrap to less than 25% of previous levels.

The roll-on, roll-off system enables the company to change colors six or more times a day. Six of the seven portable hoppers are dedicated to its most common colors, while the seventh hopper is used for frequent color changes. "In addition, we maintain a small stationary booth in which we manually coat smaller batches," said Mr. McCutchen. The additional pressures created by the increased demand for the company's product and the additional colors have been alleviated, making the new powder coating system a model of efficiency. From rack to unload, parts now travel 2,220 ft in 2 hr prior to being assembled or packaged and shipped to customers for on-site assembly. According to Richard Edenfield, director of engineering at Royston, the new operation has exceeded the company's expectations. "The technology is more advanced and better supported than any other we have used," said Mr. Edenfield. "In less than a year, we've gone from running a ‘light' booth and a ‘dark' booth that severely restricted our ability to diversify, to an advanced system that enables us to produce as many parts in as many colors as we choose on any given day. That's the level of flexibility we were looking for. To produce a high quality product—which is what your reputation is about—you need high quality equipment and high quality service."

This article was written by Steven R. Kline, Jr. and reprinted with permission from Products Finishing Magazine. The Resource For Product Finishing Professionals ® 2008 Gardner Publications, Inc .

The American Society for Quality (ASQ), has learned that when it comes to kids’ dream jobs, engineering is not on the list. An overwhelming 85 percent of youth say they are not interested in a future engineering career, according to a recent survey of youth and adults conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of ASQ. According to the survey, the top three reasons why kids aren’t interested in engineering are Kids don’t know much about engineering (44 percent), kids prefer a more exciting career than engineering (30 percent) and they don’t feel confident enough in their math or science skills (21 percent) to be good at it. This is despite the fact that the largest number of kids ranked math (22 percent) and science (17 percent) as their favorite subjects. In an effort to raise awareness, as well as promote engineering as a career choice, ASQ is developing a webinar for young people and parents that will be made available on the ASQ Web site, manufacturing, during National Engineers Week, February 15-21.

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s the economy continues to contract, school systems across the country are having to tighten their belts a couple of notches. Our home state of North Carolina is no exception - we are expecting a 3 billion dollar deficit in our education budget. In Rutherford County, NC, the headquarters of Finishing Talk, County School Funding dropped 3 million dollars between 2007 and 2008. 2009 is expected to be even lower, and the fact that a huge percent of the funding is being spent on the construction of new schools only deepens the financial predicament. It has gotten to the point that staff cuts have taken the place of supply cuts - an all too familiar scenario for many businesses and organizations these past months. Because of this harsh reality, schools are aggressively seeking new sources of funding. This issue recently hit home with us when a charter school in our community approached our sister company, Finishing Market, seeking a local source for surplus lab equipment. During the subsequent meeting between Finishing Market and Thomas Jefferson Classical Grammar School (a quick and easy appointment to arrange down here in 'Small Town Friendly') we learned that the school was seeking the equipment for an Introduction to Chemistry curriculum they wanted to introduce to their fourth grade students shortly after the holiday break. But the elementary school's plans to introduce these young minds to the wonderful world of science was out of reach due to lack of funding for even the smallest of lab items, such as

litmus paper. It instantly dawned on us that this problem could be transformed into a wonderful opportunity; not only could we help out a school in need, but we could initiate an outreach project that utilized the educational branch of our metal finishing enterprise, the Surface Finishing Academy, in an effort to teach the students about our industry. In addition to providing them with all the equipment necessary to build a first class chemistry department to enhance their science lessons, we could initiate a collaboration - by this point, our readers know of our affinity to this word - with the purpose of developing mutual understanding between the metal finishing industry and the public education system. What benefit do we gain from this liaison? Well, to put it plainly - a stake in the future of our industry. According to the annual 'Fabricating Update' survey ( among the top concerns expressed by metal fabricators in 2008 was the shortage of skilled labor in their industry. Imagine what the labor force will be like ten years from now if something is not done to raise the next generation's awareness of metal finishing. For this very reason, it is increasingly important that we take action now by educating our youth. Our end of the bargain looks something like this: we agree to help provide the materials and equipment needed to assemble a top notch science program. What originally started with a few surplus beakers, test tubes, flasks, and pipettes has now developed


into a partnership where we've pledged our efforts to try and source as many of the supplies, equipment, and other educational materials as we can. These items run the gamut from a full on 'States of Matter' Delta Science Module Kit to UV sensitive paper, oil spill absorbing polymers, and even a tub full of geodes. In return for our support, the school has agreed to distribute the NASF brochure "What is Metal Finishing?" to each of the 4th grade students, schedule a day for us to give a presentation on metal finishing and metallurgy, and make sure that all of the students leave the fourth grade knowing the importance of Metal Finishing in their everyday life. As the project progresses, we will evaluate our time spent vs. our accomplishments and monitor the progression towards are goals. We will continue to document them here in our editorials over the course of the year. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates and posts about it on the Finishing Talk Bulletin Boards, as well as our quarterly IPTV show - Finishi n g T a l k L i v e ( It is our hope that you all will learn and benefit as much as we do from the data and experience we garner from launching this outreach project; who knows, maybe you'll have the opportunity to implement a similar strategy in your community one day, too.

PRST/STD US Postage Paid Rutherfordton, NC Permit # 154

PO Box 349 Rutherfordton, NC 28139

February 2009 Leah Greene, Editor Phone: (828)-245-2601

Please deliver this informative newsletter to the following valued Finishing Talk reader:

Finishing Talk - (February, 2009)  

Monthly publication serving the metal and surface finishing industry. Learn more at

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