Top Shops: New Plating Lines Spur BFG Manufacturing Services

Company’s dedication to updating finishing technology leads to production of 300 million coated parts a year.


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Every day seems like Groundhog Day to BFG Manufacturing Services, which opened in 1947 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a town known for a famous rodent named Phil.

For President Jeff Grube and his team of 135 employees, it’s the pursuit for perfection—day after day—that has made them one of the top finishing operations in North America, producing more than 300 million coated parts a year and more than 7,200 different types of parts.

BFG applied an ecoat epoxy primer and a black satin urethane paint finish on the arch at the entrance to Gobblers Knob, the site of the annual prognostication by Punxsutawney Phil.

BFG, which provides electroplating, painting, sealants and resin impregnation on customer-owned products on a contractual basis, earned recognition in the Finishing Technologies category in this year’s Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey.

The shop’s capabilities for new process start-up and production line installation in coating areas has resulted in 21 new processing lines since 1998, most centered on customer-specific needs.

The most recent was a zinc nickel capacity expansion that began production last fall and features added capabilities for plating on castings and powdered metal. This expansion features high nickel alloy (10 to 15 percent) and either chloride or alkaline chemistries.

Grube says the line is built with a range of post-plating treatment and sealer options to meet all industry standards, including delivering an excess of 1,000 hours of salt spray resistance.

The result has been a 99.4 percent on-time delivery rate, with a 99.1 percent first-pass quality yield, and a scrap/rework rate of 0.001 percent. That is exceptional work, considering BFG has almost 400 customers and a 98.7 percent retention rate on work from 2014 to 2015.

BFG began a transition to focusing on automated zinc plating in 1980 and was early in the adoption of the more environmentally friendly methods for plating that are in wide use today. The early focus on automation helped the company provide high-quality, reliable service and growth at a much faster rate than the industry. It also led to opportunities to provide other finishes that customers needed.

In 1998, BFG began an 8-year process of building new facilities to completely replace its original locations and equipment.  These changes led to efficiencies in all aspects of the company’s processes, from personnel and chemical productivity to low energy use, yielding a stable, long-term solution to customers’ needs for coating.

These improvements have also provided the most environmentally friendly coating service possible and a compliance record that has brought pride to BFG’s management and employees.

For more information, visit zincplating.com.


Originally published in the April 2016 issue.