Northern Indiana Anodize Opens $8 Million Finishing Plant
NIA has 23 tanks that are 32 feet long to accommodate aluminum parts up to 28 feet in length, as well as 26 smaller tanks.
Northern Indiana Anodize (NIA) has opened a 47,000-square-foot, $8 million location in Fort Wayne where it hopes to employ 48 by the end of 2021 and eventually up to 150.
NIA has 23 tanks that are 32 feet long to accommodate aluminum parts up to 28 feet in length, as well as 26 smaller tanks. All the tanks can run sulfuric anodize Type II and III, Class 1 and 2 processes, while the large tanks can also handle 2-step electrolytic architectural anodizing and the small tanks can perform conversion coating and polytetrafluoroethylene processes. The plant also has vibratory finishing processes.
Andrew Smith is chief executive officer.
The executive team consists of Andrew Smith, chief executive officer; Jeff Smith, senior vice president of production; Bruce Fogler, chief financial officer; Michael Hildenbrand, plant manager; Brook Godfrey, quality control; Jennifer Bowers, accounts receivable and payable; Holly Nicodemus, purchasing; Jessica Hatfield, marketing manager; and Mathew Smith, team member.
“With the economy growing, we’re seeing companies changing from steel parts to aluminum for weight and performance purposes,” Fogler says. “We know there’s a high demand for anodizing providers and a shortage of large-tank anodizing facilities, so we’re starting this company to provide high-quality services in a growing industry.”
The path to fruition for NIA began in 1995, when Jeff Smith saw a need for aluminum anodizing in the Fort Wayne area and opened Smith Metal Finishing in nearby Hoagland. He started his line with 55-gallon drums and grew the operation, expanding in 2004 and gaining ISO certification two years later with 35 employees, including his son, Andrew.
Jeff Smith sold Smith Metal Finishing in 2010, and Andrew left to obtain an engineering degree. In 2016, Andrew Smith and a partner launched Advanced Metal Finishing with the opening of a small 4-foot anodizing line. When his partner left in 2017, Andrew Smith asked his father to come back and help him grow the business, and they eventually brought in more partners and changed the name to Northern Indiana Anodize.
Andrew Smith says the shop launched its lines with the assistance of Haviland and Reliant Aluminum Products for the chemistry, Price Walgren for the system engineering, rectifiers from American Plating Power, chillers from Train, ventilation from KCH Services, and wastewater from JMark Systems.
This important first step can help prepare the metal for subsequent surface finishing.
Benefits of anodizing include durability, color stability, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, cost of initial finish and the fact that it is a safe and healthy process. Maximizing these benefits to produce a high–performance aluminum finish can be accomplished by incorporating test procedures in the manufacturing process.
Types of anodizing, processes, equipment selection and tank construction.