January 5, 2018

Manner Plating is a zinc plating company located outside of Rockford, Illinois. For over 40 years they have helped customers with their plating needs. Three years ago, the owner wanted to retire so Alan Milton purchased the business to run with his son-in-law Fernando Gonzalez and his two daughters. As new owners, their goal is to provide high quality plating services with swift turn-around times and reliable deliveries.  A mechanical engineer by profession, Alan had strong business and technical acumen but no direct knowledge of the plating industry.

Within a few weeks of buying the business, Alan recognized they were not profitable. He increased the minimums charged, which helped a bit, but it soon became evident the issues were far greater. It was a struggle to maintain the required plating quality. As a result, throughput was far below the recommended line capacity. The main problem was a lack of solid and consistent chemistry to the plating process. Chemical additions were essentially “grandfathered” information broken down into tasks: add one bag of this, three bags of that, etc. They had little support from their existing supplier. As a result, Manner struggled to identify the root cause. They knew they needed to get control of the situation, to work from a standpoint of higher technical knowledge and better chemistry.

In May of 2017, after a full line audit helped identify the issues, Manner Plating did a full conversion to Columbia Chemical’s line of chemistries with the help of their dedicated account specialist as well as their technical account manager Chad Murphy who provided valuable initial on-site support and maintained regular communication and continual site visits for the first few weeks of operation. Columbia Chemical’s Finisher’s Advantage program allows Manner Plating to have access to superior plating solutions, the highest level of technical expertise and continual account support to help solve their plating challenges, enhance plant efficiency and control costs. Thanks to Columbia, Manner staff have been trained in and now routinely perform titrations, analyze their plating baths to maintain consistent quality, run Hull cell panels and achieve salt spray results that meet customer specifications. Columbia Chemical instilled the science into the plating line, a key component many shops are missing, causing unnecessary revenue loss. Milton shared: “After making the decision to change to Columbia Chemical, we could not be happier. There has not been a single question Columbia Chemical could not answer and offer their technical expertise on. Our customers have noticed the change in our plating and they are very complimentary. We would not be in business if it were not for Columbia turning us around.” 

The technical expertise and dedicated support of Columbia Chemical has now helped Manner Plating more than double their production. Their adherence to the standards and expertise of Columbia Chemical has enhanced the quality of their work as well as the trust of their customers and has allowed them to meet the goal of providing reliable and rapid turn-around times and delivering high-quality plating products that exceed their customer’s expectations. As a result, they are seeing the return of previous customers and gaining interest from new customers each week. Through their automated barrel lines, they process machined parts and welded parts and fasteners. They can now bid on jobs they couldn’t before and they are seeking additional certifications to enhance and accelerate the growth within the existing product lines. As this success continues, they are looking to add an additional shift to meet production needs. Now Alan, Fernando, his daughters and the staff of Manner Plating rely on their newfound knowledge and the technical expertise of Columbia Chemical to exercise full control over the business and maintain the high quality and service their customers have come to expect.