July 2, 2019

Midwest Plating Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been around since 1946 and, like many businesses in the world of surface finishing, it is proudly family owned and operated. The Wortman family purchased the business from their father in the early 90’s and they work together today to maintain the commitment to deliver the same level of quality and customer service upon which their father built the business. The company specializes in zinc plating and zinc phosphating. Having started out with 12.5-foot-wide tanks, Midwest captured a niche market from the very beginning by being able to plate longer lengths. They do quite a bit of automotive work and offer both rack and barrel plating, capable of processing more than 100,000 pounds of barrel parts per day. They process large and small orders and pride themselves on fast turnaround, a deep commitment to customer satisfaction and continual pursuit of the newest technology in functional coatings.

Doug Wortman has been in charge of the chemical purchasing for Midwest for the last 15 years and sat down with Columbia Chemical to share a recent success. Midwest was using a proprietary silver-black chromate that had been working well for years, but Wortman reported many customers wanted to make the move away from the hex black product amid increasing industry regulations and growing concerns about worker exposure. Midwest’s longstanding commitment to customer service and cutting-edge finish technology led them to look for an answer. And they found that answer in Columbia Chemical’s COLDIP Midnight 1500 black trivalent passivate. They had tried Columbia’s 1400 process, which Wortman said offered benefits but no easy way to control the variance in color. Midwest qualified as part of the initial round of plating shops to participate in the trial phase of Midnight 1500 and they have never looked back.

The simple three-part system delivers on its promises: easy to use, maximum color and cost control and delivers a consistent black appearance. Thanks to Columbia, Midwest Plating’s customers are “extremely satisfied with the color and corrosion protection of Midnight 1500 and they are more than happy to have made the transition away from hexavalent black.” A visiting salesman even noticed the Midnight part sitting around and commented that it was the best trivalent black he had ever seen. Wortman added “the process continues to become even simpler to operate as we move forward. Based on the configuration of the part, we can adjust the dip time. The salt spray is phenomenal, even without a sealer.”

Midwest and Columbia Chemical have been partners for more than 10 years. Over the years, Wortman said he has bought sealers, cleaners, passivates, Pickle Pal, and more and they have always been satisfied. When asked to describe his overall experience with Columbia Chemical, he thought for a moment and said “Trouble free. If we have a problem, it frankly surprises me – to the point that I look first at mechanical or possible human error before I actually look at the chemistry.” He added “the communication with the Columbia team is always good and the technical support and service is outstanding.”

Midwest is pleased to be able to provide a deep dark, black passivate to its customers that doesn’t come with any of the hexavalent issues like worker exposure, air emissions or expensive wastewater issues. It is easy to control, cost effective and complies with ELV, RoHS and REACH. This longstanding business partnership helps Midwest continue their commitment to customer satisfaction and providing cutting-edge coating technology. Satisfied customers all the way around!