Approximately eight years ago, the finishing industry in North America noted that it needed statistical information to know where it stands and to guide its future course. To accomplish this, the Surface Finishing Marketing Research Board (SFMRB) was established. The Board is managed by the Surface Finishing Industry Council, which in turn is funded by the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers (AESF), the Metal Finishing Suppliers' Association (MFSA) and the National Association of Metal Finishers (NAMF).
The first two reports from the SFMRB were complete in 1993 and 1995 and focused mainly on the status of the electroplating sector of the product finishing industry. The third and fourth reports, complete in 1997 and 1998, also reported industry status, but also included data on ten areas of interest to sponsoring members.
This year's survey explored several new areas that included purchasing practices, technology trends and sludge disposal practices.
Some of the important findings of this report include:
- Captive and job shop finishers consider quality more important than price when selecting a vendor.
- Excluding price and quality, the most important criterion in supplier selection is technical service.
- A majority of shops uses proprietary chemicals for process solutions in preference to "home brews."
- Electroless copper and electroless nickel plating are expected to show the highest growth in job shops during the next two years.
- Tin-lead plating is expected to show the highest growth in captive shops over the next two years.
- Carbon steel and stainless steel substrates are the most widely handled, followed by aluminum and aluminum alloys.
- An average finishing shop disposes of 23.2 tons per year of F006 characteristic waste sludge.
- Approximately 40% of finishing shops send the F006 sludge for recycling.
For more information—AESF 407-281-6441; MFSA 703-709-5729; NAMF 703-709-8299