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With today’s thriving economy, the United States is experiencing a very tight labor market. This can be especially challenging for manufacturing as it is not always the first career of choice for young people entering the workforce. At Gateway Extrusions in Union, Missouri, outside St. Louis, the focus on getting “back to basics” has yielded very favorable results in terms of attracting and retaining qualified employees.

I’ve been in the extrusion business for over 30 years and with Gateway since 2006, and this is certainly one of the toughest labor markets I’ve seen. We are competing with many other businesses and manufacturers in the region for the best workers, and we’ve had to be very creative to be attractive as a workplace. For manufacturing in the aluminum extrusion, fabrication and finishing industry, that isn’t always easy.

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Here is your top news from the finishing world for the week of August 28:

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AGM Container Controls has acquired Duralar Technologies, maker of advanced ultrahard metal coatings and coating systems. Duralar will become a wholly owned subsidiary of AGM.

In 2018, Duralar introduced its Emperion system for high-throughput deposition of ultrahard coatings on metal parts. Using the company's proprietary DualArmor process, the equipment coats both interior and exterior surfaces of parts at the same time. The Emperion also features twin deposition chambers for virtually continuous coating and high throughput, allowing one chamber to be loaded while the other chamber is processing. The system can apply different plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition coatings, including diamond-like carbon and Duralar’s  ArmorLube, which combines  hardness with dry lubrication.

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Products Finishing will host a free webinar Oct. 2 that looks at the characteristics of trivalent chromium that impact corrosion resistance. Mark Schario, executive vice president for Columbia Chemical, will present information on evaluating test matrix variables and performance results of exterior corrosion testing between trivalent and hexavalent.

Topics will include the origin of test matrix and OEM-requested variables; performance evaluation of various trivalent chrome thicknesses; nickel plating STEP value influence on corrosion; an in-depth look at CASS and Russian mud testing results and comparison; and a summary of recent USCAR field test results.

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