GJEP funding to help firm earn anodizing certification

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A Grand Junction metal finishing company plans to earn certification that will enable the firm to expand its services to aerospace and aviation manufacturers.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership will help fund the effort as part of a broader economic development initiative to assist existing manufacturers as well as attract new manufacturers to the area.

Precision Metal Finishing was selected over two other companies to receive GJEP funding to develop an anodizing line that’s certified under the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP). The certification is required in anodizing parts used in the aerospace and aviation industries.

Vic Brizzolara, general manager of Precision Metal Finishing, said he hopes to  earn the certification within a year.

Most of the GJEP funding will be used to purchase new equipment required to meet certification, Brizzolara said. Some funding also will be used to meet  additional administrative requirements involving documentation and testing.

Anodizing hardens the surfaces of metal parts to make them more resistant to wear and corrosion, Brizzolara said. It’s a process used to improve the performance of a wide variety of manufactured parts.

When those parts are used in aerospace or aviation applications, however, NADCAP certification is required. Since there are currently no certified anodizing lines in the Grand Valley, local manufacturers must ship their parts elsewhere for anodizing — adding to the cost of production.

Kelly Flenniken

Kelly Flenniken, executive director of GJEP, said developing a certified anodizing line will solve a problem that’s persisted for years in the Grand Valley. “It is really exciting,” she said. “I’m fired up about it.”

In addition to assisting existing manufacturers, Flenniken expects the certification also will help in recruiting new aerospace and aviation manufacturers — a target industry for GJEP. “It gives us a little more leverage with those businesses, she said.

That’s not to mention the potential for creating or relocating what are usually high-paying jobs.

So there’s short-term as well as a long-term benefits to the incentive, Flenniken said.

Precision Metal Finishing was selected, Flenniken said, because the firm offers the most experience in anodizing and Brizzolara submitted the most compelling plan to achieve and maintain certification.

The firm also offers the flexibility to handle different sizes and shapes of parts to better accommodate manufacturers.

Precision Metal Finishing opened in 1999 and offers a range of anodizing, plating and metal treatment services.

Brizzolara said the company is close to meeting NADCAP certification with its existing anodizing line, but needs some new equipment and additional administrative procedures to meet the requirements.

With the help of GJEP in earning certification and then promoting that fact, Brizzolara hopes to expand the operation to meet the needs of small manufacturers in the Grand Valley as well as those outside the area. “It should be great.”

Precision Metal Finishing currently employs six, but Brizzolara said he expects to increase staffing as a certified anodizing line is developed.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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