Tim Pennington

Tim Pennington is Editor of Products Finishing magazine, a position he has held since 2010. Prior to joining the magazine, Tim held reporting and editing positions at several major newspapers. He was a reporter and editor in the news and sports departments at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Post. He was also an NFL writer for USA Today covering the Cincinnati Bengals. Tim left the newspaper field and joined several marketing and public relations firms before joining the PGA Tour as the marketing director a Champions Tour event in Cincinnati. After serving as community relations director for a large Ohio city, Tim re-entered the publishing world when he became editor of Products Finishing, a publication which has served the finishing industry for more than 80 years.

Chicago Comb, Triton Metal Finishing Strike Gold

By: Tim Pennington 7. August 2013

Chicago Combs and Triton Industries manufacture this $40 comb.


One of the hottest items to hit the consumer market when it comes to men's grooming is centered around a metal finishing shop in Chicago, where Brent Wortell, owner of Triton Industries at 1020 N. Kolmar, is part of a boom manufacturing high-end men's combs.


Chicago Comb Co., a Chicago-based grooming accessory company, began selling last October its first product, Model No. 1, a $40 luxury men’s comb crafted from high performance stainless steel.  The product was the culmination of years of thinking about art, manufacturing, and sustainable production by its co-founders, John Litwinski and Tedd Strom, who met at O’Neill Junior High School in Downer's Grove many years ago.


Since that launch last year, the comb has garnered world-wode attention. Among its many attributes:


ABC News featured them in an article on Made in America Gift Ideas!


Neil Steinberg of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a full-length story about Chicago Comb

Details men's magazine gave it the 2013 DETAILS Grooming Awards

It was nominated to receive the 2013 Chicago Innovation Award.

The City of Chicago produced a video showing the making of a Chicago Comb, part of the City's series on "Made in Chicago" products.


The Fifty for including Chicago Comb in their list of the top American-made hair products.

Sweden's Cafe Magazine, the leading men's magazine in Sweden, similar to Esquire or GQ had an article about Chicago Comb


The Sun-Times articles relates the story of how Triton became involved. Litwinski and  Strom were promoting the combs at the 2011 Great Shave Event held by Merz Apothecary when one of the barbers at that event, Joe Wortell, began admiring the comb and heard the two owners say they were looking for a place to manufacture it in Chicago.


Joe told them that his parents own a metal finishing plant in Chicago, Triton Industries.


The rest -- someone, somewhere said -- is history, as Chicago Comb sold 200 in 2011 and plan to sell over 5,000 in 2013.


Here's the video from the City of Chicago:



Wagner Showcases New Liquid, Powder Equipment

By: Tim Pennington 31. July 2013


Wagner Industrial Solutions in Elgin, Illinois recently hosted a media day to show off their latest liquid paint and powder coating equipment to representatives from surface finishing, fabrication and woodworking trade publications.


Products Finishing magazine was on hand when Matthias Koehler, president and general manager, joined with operations manager Jeff Porters and business development sales manager Janet James to provide a plant tour and to showcase the liquid lab and the new powder lab.


Koehler introduced the SuperCube quick color change booth with the new ProfiTech M control system and the ColorSelect quick-change system in the powder coating product line.


The SuperCube quick color change booth with the new ProfiTech M control system unit fully automates the industrial coating plant, making it easier to work with and reducing the complexity of the machine.


The ColorSelect system is designed for quick color change with the least potential for cross-contamination and powder loss, Koehler said. The operator control panel includes a dial and quick-connect ports for up to 10 colors.


On the liquid paint side, Wagner demonstrated the double diaphragm Cobra pump and its AirCoat automatic guns, as well as its new plural component systems, the TwinControl and the FlexControl.


For more information on Wagner Industrial Solutions, please visit, or call 800-473-2524.


Below is a video of the events of the day:


Kirchner's "Scoreboard" Finds Its Way On Shop Walls

By: Tim Pennington 13. June 2013


Those of you who attended the Electrocoat 2012 show in Orlando may have heard Products Finishing columnist Matt Kirchner speak about efficiencies in finishing operations. Once finisher in the audience was so intrigued by Matt's know-how that he "borrowed" a piece of advice for his own plant.


Chuck Gault from Max Coatings recently opened a new electrocoating facility in Atlanta to assist his first plant in Birmingham. While Products Finishing was touring the Atlanta plant recently, Chuck showed us the sign he has in his "Scoreboard" area of the shop floor that is used to review efficiencies and operations with the staff each morning.


"I came back from hearing Matt and we decided to put these up in our plants," says Gault. "I really learn a lot from Matt's column each month."


The "scoresheet" tracks the employee performannces, including safety, part rejects, etc.


To read more from Matt Kirchner, please click HERE


NASF's AESF Foundation Awards Scholarship

By: Tim Pennington 15. February 2013


The NASF's education arm, the AESF Foundation, has awarded its annual graduate scholarship to Carnegie Mellon doctorate student Sudarshan Narayanan, who is a materials science and engineering student with an interest in surface technology.
Narayanan, who is currently focusing on transparent conductors for optoelectronic applications and is expecting to complete his doctorate in 2013, joined the department during the fall of 2009, after completing his bachelor degree in engineering physics from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, in 2009.
He then joined the research groups of Professor Lisa Porter and Professor Michael Bockstaller, where he intends to understand and investigate the carrier mobilities in polymer-based electronic devices, co-advised by the two faculty members. His academic interests broadly include semiconductors, processing and devices, multiferroics, compound semiconductors, optoelectronics and nanomaterials.
Besides academics, Narayanan is a 'sports-buff' of sorts and enjoys playing basketball. He represented his high school and college in various competitions. He follows the NBA very closely, and the Lakers are his favorite team. He is also a huge soccer fan with Manchester United and Argentina being his favorite club and country team, respectively.
Apart from sports, he is an avid quizzing enthusiast, and very passionate about music. He plays the violin (Indian classical carnatic), which he has been learning for the past 8-9 year. He also likes travelling a lot and enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities like trekking, hiking and cycling. His first trekking experience was on the Himalayas where he managed to scale the Sar Pass peak, an expedition organized by the Youth Hostel Association of India.
The AESF Scholarship Committee that reviewed the application and made the recommendation were Dr. Yinlun Huang, Wayne State University; Dr. Ling Hao, Lacks Enterprises; and Dr. Helen Lou, Lamar University.
"AESF Foundation remains committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying chemical engineering, material science or engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, environmental engineering or chemistry," said Bob Srinivasan of A Brite Company, president of the AESF Foundation.
Scholarships to college juniors, seniors and graduate students are offered in the amount of $1,500. Candidates must demonstrate academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities.



NASF, MFASC Award West Coast Bright Design Scholarships

By: Tim Pennington 12. February 2013

Three students from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., received $5,000 scholarships in December through the NASF’s West Coast Bright Design Challenge competition, which was co-sponsored by the Metal Finishing Association of Southern California (MFASC).
Students from the school’s product design, environmental design, fine art and graduate industrial design programs spent the fall term learning about surface finishing technologies and applications. They worked with several NASF member companies to enhance their understanding of processes, including Alan Olick’s Brite/General Plating shop in Los Angeles.
At the end of the class, students presented finished 3D prototypes to a panel of faculty and MFASC judges. The top concept as judged by the panel was a system designed by Wen Han that enables consumers to design and order jewelry online, choosing final finishes such as gold, silver or copper. Second place was awarded to Bruce Ocampo, and Bryce Johnson won third place. Victoria Lin received an honorable mention.

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