NASF Industry News

A roundup of happenings in the world of finishing.

From business news to technology updates and coming events.

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Business / Markets

Business Conditions Report: November 2010
According to the November 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) (Cleveland, Ohio) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate virtually unchanged business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 137 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The November report shows that 20% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (the same percentage reported in October), 57% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 54% last month) and 23% report that activity will decline (down from 26% in October). 
Metalforming companies also expect little change in incoming orders for the next three months. Twenty-five percent of participants predict an increase in orders (the same percentage as October), 50% anticipate no change (compared to 45% last month) and 25% forecast a decrease in orders (down from 30% in October).
However, average daily shipping levels dipped somewhat in November. Only 27% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 32% in October), 45% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 49% in October), and 28% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 19% in October). 
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 15% in November from 17% in October. This number is at its lowest level since January 2008 when only 14% of companies had workers on short time or layoff.
“Metalforming companies have generally experienced a solid recovery in orders and shipments during the past 15 months, beginning in July 2009,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “A seasonal dip in shipments is expected in December through the holidays, and then the slow but steady recovery is expected to continue. Based on PMA’s Monthly Orders and Shipments survey, new orders through the third quarter are up 48% from the same period in 2009 and shipments are up 41%. Orders and shipments both experienced a seasonal decline in July and the data in this month’s Business Conditions survey indicate there is likely to be another seasonal dip in December. However, 75% of our members expect incoming orders to hold steady or improve as we enter January 2011.”
The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979. Full report results are available at PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America.
Dow Electronic Materials to construct new manufacturing site in eastern China
Additional capacity serves PCB, electronic and industrial finishing and photovoltaic markets
Dow Electronic Materials, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, Mich.) will construct a new manufacturing facility in Eastern China to meet the growing material demand to serve printed circuit board (PCB), electronic and industrial finishing and photovoltaic (PV) markets in Asia. The new manufacturing facility will be located at the company’s Zhangjiagang site in the province of Jiangsu, approximately 98 km from Shanghai.  Construction is expected to begin in late 2010, with production anticipated to beginning in late 2011.
“The expanding demand for computer, communications and consumer electronic products and the focus on renewable energy has resulted in growth in PCB, electronic and industrial finishing and PV materials markets, especially in Asia,” said Helen Zhang, global general manager, Interconnect Technologies for Dow Electronic Materials.  “As a market leader, Dow Electronic Materials is devoted to collaborating with customers to deliver innovative solutions.  The new manufacturing facility will enhance our service and technical expertise for customers, as well as our ability to continue to augment our portfolio with high performance products that meet future needs for both electronic and solar cell markets.”
“The PCB, electronic and industrial finishing, and PV markets continue to expand in many parts of Asia, with especially strong growth in China,” said J.R. Chen, Asia General Manager, Interconnect Technologies for Dow Electronic Materials.  “We are committed to supporting local customers efficiently and quickly in product production, delivery and technical service.  Our existing plant in Dongguan in Guangdong province is well-positioned to serve our customers in Southern and Western China, and this new Zhangjiagang manufacturing facility will enhance our supply chain to serve our customers in Eastern and Northern China.”
Dow Electronic Materials is the leading supplier of metallization technologies to the PCB, electronic and industrial finishing, and solar cell markets.
OSHA targets high-hazard worksites for inspection
OSHA issued its annual inspection plan under the Site-Specific Targeting 2010 (SST-10) program in August to help the agency direct enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.
The SST program is OSHA’s main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 40 or more workers. This inspection plan is based on work-related injury and illness data collected from a 2009 OSHA Data Initiative survey from 80,000 larger establishments in selected high-hazard industries. Establishments are randomly selected for inspection from an initial list of 4,100 manufacturing, non-manufacturing and nursing and personal care facilities. The plan focuses on several variables such as the number of injury and illness cases and number of days a worker has to stay away from work, or the number of workers who received job transfers or work restrictions due to injury or illness.
“Our goal is to prevent worker injuries and illnesses and save lives,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. “The Site Specific Targeting program helps OSHA focus its enforcement resources to high-risk employers who are endangering their workers’ health and safety.”
In addition to SST, OSHA implements both national and local emphasis inspection programs to target high-risk hazards and industries. OSHA currently has 13 National Emphasis Programs that intensify the focus on topics including amputations, lead, crystalline silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations, petroleum refinery process safety management, process safety management covered chemical facilities, hexavalent chromium, diacetyl, recordkeeping, combustible dust, federal agency targeting inspection and FAA air traffic control tower monitoring.
Columbia Chemical initiates list of approved resources
Columbia Chemical (Brunswick, Ohio) has implemented an audit system designating applicators as Columbia Approved Resources (C.A.R.). Applicators’ names will be placed on a list made available to all OEMs and Tier 1s once approval has been achieved.
Tom Alderson, Sales Manager/North America, spearheaded the program, “Quality standards have become extremely important in recent years. The automotive industry has become much more aware of the importance of maintaining a high level of quality within the tiers. Columbia Chemical has designed an audit that incorporates this level of quality for all OEMs and their standards.” He adds, “The C.A.R. audit system was designed to align with the existing high standards and expectations of certifications already required by the major automobile producers.”
Jagemann Plating is the first company to complete this stringent quality system and was recently placed on the Columbia Approved Resource list. The Manitowoc, WI supplier of rack and barrel electroplated zinc and decorative nickel finishes achieved General Motors approval for GMW 3044 code N and X with Columbia Chemical’s COLDIP TRI-V 121 and ZINC-Chro-Shield.
Columbia Chemical Corporation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of zinc plating additives. For more information, Phone: (330) 225-3200; Website:
September manufacturing technology consumption up 66.1%
September U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $399.76 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was up 66.1% from August and up 156.8% when compared with the total of $155.69 million reported for September 2009. With a year-to-date total of $2,090.27 million, 2010 is up 74.1% compared with 2009.
These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program. “September 2010 was a watershed in the recovery from the recession of 2008-9. The 1,992 units sold this month is the highest number since September of 2008 and demonstrates the resilience and staying power of the U.S. manufacturing base,” said Peter Borden, AMTDA President. “More remarkably, this was done while many factories are running below the capacity levels that require capital goods purchases, despite the tight credit, and in spite of questions about government debt and potential tax increases. The catalysts of the successful IMTS, the weaker dollar, and the passage of bonus depreciation paid surprising and long awaited dividends.”
The United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption (USMTC) report, jointly compiled by the two trade associations representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. consumption data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of manufacturing technology consumption provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.
U.S. manufacturing technology consumption is also reported on a regional basis for five geographic breakdowns of the United States.
Northeast Region: Manufacturing technology consumption in the Northeast Region in September stood at $64.44 million, 66.3% higher than August’s $38.76 million and 77.3% above the September 2009 total. The year-to-date total of $362.73 million was 53.4% more than the comparable figure for 2009.
Southern Region: September manufacturing technology consumption in the Southern Region totaled $66.85 million, up 119.9% when compared with the $30.40 million total for August and up 389.4% when compared with September a year ago. The $308.65 million 2010 year-to-date total was 86.4% higher than the total for the same period last year.
Midwest Region: At $121.80 million, September manufacturing technology consumption in the Midwest Region was 49.0% more than August’s $81.75 million, and up 157.6% when compared with last September. The $629.19 million 2010 year-to-date total was 84.4% above the 2009 total at the same time.
Central Region: Manufacturing technology consumption in the Central Region in September stood at $114.99 million, 77.0% more than the August total of $64.95 million and 238.3% higher than the total for September 2009. With a year-to-date total of $561.03 million, 2010 was up 94.0% when compared with 2009 at the same time.
Western Region: With a total of $31.68 million, September Western Region manufacturing technology consumption was up 27.5% when compared with August’s $24.84 million and up 29.8% when compared with September a year ago. At $228.66 million, 2010 year-to-date was 36.0% higher than the comparable figure a year ago.
Third quarter 2010 workholding shipments up 7.1% from second quarter 2010
At $58.3 million for third quarter 2010, shipments of workholding equipment were up 47.1% from the 3rd quarter 2009 according to the Advanced Workholding Technology (AWT) Group of AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology (McLean, Va.). Workholding equipment shipments within the United States by the 38 companies participating in the AWT statistical report totaled $48.6 million while exports amounted to $9.7 million.
The report from the AWT shows that domestic workholding equipment shipments increased 5.2% and U.S. exports increased 16.8% from the 2nd quarter 2010. The Midwest increased 0.4% from the 2nd quarter 2010 and remained the largest domestic destination with 40.9% of total domestic shipments. Growth in the Central region was 0.4%, remaining the second largest share of domestic shipments, with 18.8% domestic share. Shipments to the Northeast fell by 0.4%, remaining the third largest domestic market with 16.0% of domestic shipments in the 3rd quarter. The South had 14.0% of 3rd quarter 2010 domestic shipments, an increase of 0.2% from the previous quarter. The West remained the smallest domestic market again and decreased by 0.6% from the 2nd quarter, leaving it with a 10.4% share. Additionally, 3rd quarter 2010 employment levels were up 1.6% from the previous quarter and increased by 4.7% when compared to the 3rd quarter of 2009.
The Advanced Workholding Technology Group is comprised of AMT members who produce chucks, jaws, collets, vises, fixtures and other workholding equipment. The AWT operates as a forum to serve the interests of U.S. manufacturers of workholding equipment.

Products / Technology

COMPLEASE™ Chemical leasing solution for metal degreasing allows more effective, sustainable and responsible use of Dow solvents for metal degreasing
SAFECHEM™ North America LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, Mich.), introduced the COMPLEASE™ Cleaning Process Solution to the metal fabricating and manufacturing industry in North America during the FABTECH 2010 Exhibition, November 2-4, 2010 in Atlanta, Ga. FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, welding and finishing event.
For a fixed monthly fee, the COMPLEASE Complete Process Leasing Solution from SAFECHEM offers its North American customers the ability to lease state-of-the-art sealed solvent degreasing equipment combined with customized chemical services. SAFECHEM’s services include the delivery of solvents (chlorinated and modified alcohols manufactured by Dow) in the SAFECARE™ closed-loop delivery system, plus direct comprehensive support services that include waste management, technical support/training and the use of the highest quality stabilizers, additives, test-kits, all in a single package.
COMPLEASE solutions from SAFECHEM offer the most economical, safe and environmentally responsible system to facilitate the sustainable use of chlorinated solvents in precision metal degreasing applications. Customers can expect to lower solvent consumption by as much as 90% when compared to other traditional methods of metal degreasing. Chlorinated solvents are well known for their effective cleaning and degreasing capabilities. “This is a new and unique business model for companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics or medical industry, where the need for precision solvent based cleaning is often critical” said Ali Shah, PhD, Business Development Leader for SAFECHEM in North America. “The COMPLEASE solution is solidifying our leadership position in promoting best practices around the use of chlorinated solvents. We have taken the power of the human element to provide our customers options that can enable worry-free use of the best degreasing solvents in the industry.”
SAFECHEM has successfully implemented the COMPLEASE Complete Process Leasing Solutions for its customers in Europe.  It is now also being offered for the first time in North America.
The advantages of the COMPLEASE solution include:
·      Leasing options for state-of-the-art sealed vapor degreasing equipment
·      SAFECARE, an advanced, closed-loop solvent delivery system,
·      Use of the highest quality solvents manufactured by Dow,
·      The combined experience and expertise of Dow, SAFECHEM, Equipment OEMs and waste management partners.
“COMPLEASE is a total cleaning solution that will help customers manage the potential  environmental and health risks often associated with the use of chlorinated solvents, eliminate the need to purchase expensive degreasing equipment, while still achieving the best cleaning results, all in one bundled offering” Shah concluded.  “We are certainly pleased to be bringing such an innovative offering to the North American market.”
Precious metal clad products combine best properties of multiple materials
� Custom engineered, multi-layer precious metal clad products that combine the characteristics of different materials to perform in extreme environments are available from Anomet Products, Inc. (Shrewsbury, Mass.). Anomet Precious Metal Clad Products are metallurgically bonded in up to three layers to combine properties such as high conductivity with corrosion resistance or high strength with corrosion resistance and lighter weight. Functionally equivalent to solid products, these clad products feature a smooth, consistent surface finish, with greater ductility and formability than electroplated products, claims the firm.
Available as wire and rod from 0.002” to 0.125” OD and as ribbon to 1” wide with 2% or more cladding thickness, Anomet Precious Metal Clad Products can include platinum, gold, palladium or silver clad to core materials such as stainless steel, copper, Kovar®, niobium, nickel-iron, molybdenum, tantalum and titanium. Applications include battery technology, fuel cell sensors, aerospace, electronic and medical devices and connectors.
Anomet Precious Metal Clad Products are typically 10X less expensive than solid precious metal products. For more information, contact Daniel F. Lambert, Technical Marketing; Phone: (508) 842-3069; Fax: (508) 842-0847; E-mail:; Website:
Hot air knife systems blow heated air to dry metal parts
� Custom engineered heated air knife blow-off systems for drying machined metal, cast, or stamped parts faster than using compressed air only are being introduced by Malcom Company, Inc. (Tiverton, R.I.). Malcom Hot Air Knife Systems can be custom configured with one or more hot air blowers, specialty deflectors, air nozzles or tunnels, and various control options to blow up to 1,000°F heated air at pressure up to 4.5 psi. Suitable for drying machined metal, cast or stamped parts, the combination of hot air and pressure allows faster conveyor line speeds, claims the firm.
Available for new and retrofit applications, Malcom Hot Air Knife Systems can fully dry metallic surfaces to prevent corrosion and prepare them for subsequent processes. Providing adjustable heat from ambient up to 1,000°F, they incorporate self-contained heat guns, can be custom designed for simple and complex installations and are scalable. 
Malcom Hot Air Knife Systems are priced according to configuration and installation requirements. For more information contact Jon Bixby, Marketing Director: Phone: (800) 289-7505; Fax: (401) 624-3081; E-mail:; Website:
Materials scientists and conservators join forces to preserve silver artifacts and art
Where there's silver, there's tarnish. While getting the tarnish off your flatware might be an occasional inconvenience, to museum curators and conservators, it's a threat to irreplaceable works of art. To protect these objects for generations to come, scientists from the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, have teamed up with conservators from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Md., to develop and test a new, high-tech way to protect silver art objects and artifacts, using coatings that are mere nanometers thick.
The technique, called atomic layer deposition (ALD), will be used to create nanometer-thick, metal oxide films which, when applied to an artifact, are both transparent and optimized to reduce the rate of silver corrosion.  The films are created when an object is exposed to two or more gases that react with its surface.
"ALD gives us an exquisite level of control, literally at the atomic level," says Ray Phaneuf, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering working on the project.  "It's an effective, low-cost strategy to reduce corrosion that preserves artifact appearance and composition while complying with the rigorous standards of art conservation practice."
Eric Breitung, a scientist who runs E-squared Art Conservation Science, proposed the collaboration after conducting preliminary investigations into the use of ALD on silver at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I approached members of the Clark School faculty because of their expertise and the university's extensive ALD facilities at the Maryland NanoCenter," he says, adding that the faculty members' previous collaborations with museums made them a good match for the Walters and its silver collection.
Walters Art Museum Conservation Scientist Glenn Gates explains the goals the new coating has to achieve. "First, its appearance must be acceptable for display in a museum context.  It has to be tough enough to endure transport and handling, but not so tough that it can't be removed.  It needs to be completely removable so an object can be re-treated to meet future standards of conservation and aesthetics.  And finally, it should not cause any harm to a piece, even if it breaks down."
� Gates, who works with the Walters' world-class silver collection, is well acquainted with the battle against tarnish.  He points out the project's figurative mascot, Antoine Louis Barye's 1865 "Walking Lion" sculpture, as exactly the sort of piece that could one day benefit from the new treatment.  It has been cleaned and lacquered twice since 1949, but in both cases ultimately experienced deterioration problems with its coatings.  It is currently unlacquered but must be kept in a special exhibition case to ward off tarnish. "The 'Walking Lion' represents a complex shape that, being difficult to coat with traditional lacquer, might benefit from ALD protection," he says.
The team will test the new technique, first on small samples of fine and sterling silver, and then on objects from Gates' own collection, such as 19th century demitasse spoons and Morgan silver dollars.  While the Walters does not expect any pieces from its collection to receive the experimental treatment during the course of the study, once it has been proven effective and safe, the “Walking Lion” would be a prime candidate for this procedure.
The three-year project is one of the first to be funded by the National Science Foundation's Chemistry and Materials Research at the Interface between Science and Art (SCIART) grant program, which supports projects in the field of cultural heritage science through the funding of collaborations among conservation experts in museums and scientists in academia.  The SCIART program will be highlighted at the 2011 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, which has invited the team to present their work.
The project's other team members include the museum's Director of Conservation and Technical Research Terry Drayman-Weisser, a recognized metals expert, and, from the University of Maryland's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Gary Rubloff, Research Associate Laurent Henn-Lecordier, and Graduate Assistant Amy Marquardt, who brings to the project her previous experience working on bronze patinas with the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute.


Parts2clean: Great atmosphere at leading trade fair for cleaning in production and maintenance in Stuttgart, Germany
Companies are once again investing in cleaning technology. A large majority of the 220 exhibitors at the 8th parts2clean trade fair arrived at this conclusion. 4046 visitors from 36 countries came to the leading International Trade Fair for Cleaning in Production and Maintenance Processes at the Stuttgart Exhibition Center with concrete problems and buying plans. Due to the great demand for information which was substantiated by record breaking participation at the expert´s forum held in German, 1719 visitors took advantage of the opportunity to expand their knowledge covering all aspects of industrial cleaning.
� “Parts2clean 2010 went extremely well for us. The trade fair has revealed that projects which were being discussed two or three years ago and were filed away that time due to the economic crisis are now being seriously pursued again. Another positive aspect is that only visitors who are looking for solutions to concrete cleaning problems come to the event. But we were nevertheless surprised that we were able to sell a system to a company in Israel directly at the trade fair,” reports Willi Schneegaß, managing director of ipros Industrie-Produkte-Service-GmbH. Not only was ipros enthusiastic, but nearly all of the 220 participating companies from 15 countries. 16% came from outside of Germany, as opposed to 14% at the previous year’s event.
And the good atmosphere was not impaired by a 7% drop in visitor numbers compared with last year. Of the 4046 visitors who travelled to the trade fair from a total of 36 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia, 54.2% were attending parts2clean for the first time. 18.1% visited the leading trade fair with the intention of placing orders, and 25.3% wanted to prepare themselves for investment decisions. A total of 89.4% of all visitors are involved in company investment decisions.
Not only do the numbers revealed by the visitor survey substantiate the fact that parts2clean is visited by corporate decision makers, exhibitor statements confirm this as well. “We’re very satisfied with the number of leads as well as with their quality. The visitors come with targeted RFQs, which indicates that the trade fair organizers have done a good job,” concluded Patricia Silva from the marketing department at the KAM Industry & Automotive Aftermarket Division of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA. 
Markus Mitschele from process engineering at Höckh Metall-Reinigungsanlagen GmbH was also very pleased with his company’s trade fair participation: “We’re surprised at the large number of top quality leads. We were able to conduct concrete project negotiations too, which had been put on the back burner during the past two years. And there were lots of targeted new RFQs, many of which came from the automotive industry.” 
The booth team of a renowned sensor manufacturer was also pleasantly surprised, who was exhibiting at parts2clean for the first time: “As compared with other trade fairs the event is relatively quiet, but the discussions were very valuable and roughly 25% of our visitors came from outside of Germany. As a result of visits on the first two days we’ve already dispatched a number of quotations, and we believe that we’ll be able to generate good turnover with our trade fair presentation.”
Karina Mack, managing director at AdunaTEC GmbH, calls it a super trade fair: “One of the characteristics of parts2clean is that discussions here very quickly go into great depth with regard to problem solving and tasks at hand. Consequently, we’ve gotten so far with some negotiations at this year’s trade fair that we only need to get the signatures now.”
Various trends also became apparent due to requirements demanded by the visitors. For example, more attention was focused on the issue of residual contamination requirements, not only in the automotive industry, but in others such as machinery manufacturing, medical engineering and pharmaceuticals. There was also greater demand for automated solutions.
Temporary corrosion protection also played a more important role. 53.4% of all surveyed visitors indicated that they use temporary corrosion protection in the production process. Interest in solutions offered by exhibitors from the extended COROSAVE product range was correspondingly great. “Our solutions met with very lively interest. We’re satisfied with our participation at the trade fair, and will exhibit again at parts2clean 2011”, sums up Reinhold Deimer, product manager for air cushion systems at Flöter Verpackungs-Service GmbH.
The next parts2clean will take place at the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre October 25-27, 2011. For more information, visit

Editor Pick

The Systems View in Automotive Finishes: Essential, but Overlooked - The 38th William Blum Lecture

This article is a re-publication of the 38th William Blum Lecture, presented at the 84th AES Annual Convention in Detroit, Michigan on June 23, 1997.  This lecture reviews a number of works in automotive finishing R&D in which understanding of the overall system was absolutely essential to success, from classical nickel-chromium plating to work in vacuum/electroplated hybrids for plated plastics, electrogalvanized zinc and hard chromium in stamping dies.