Client Success Story: Overcoming Challenges through Quality and Dependability
Every project presents different challenges, but in the powder coating industry, there is no room for error if you want to keep the customer! Advanced Finishing (AFUSA) has been able to solve problems that others in the industry could not, and as a result, it has earned them continual business with a large commercial fan manufacturer.
A large commercial and residential fan manufacturer
The company has a very high-end product with very exacting quality requirements that is sold to customers at a steep price tag leaving no room for error—simply put, the product must be perfect. Five years ago, the client came to AFUSA after going to several other companies that had been unable to provide defect-free finishes and challenged us with figuring out how to do it. Due to the geometry of the parts AFUSA receives from the manufacturer, the process that AFUSA executed with the woodgrain dye-sublimation finish took ingenuity, and trial and error, as it was very difficult to achieve the required defect-free finish.
What AFUSA did is utilize their expertise in finishing, coupled with our knowledge of engineering mixed with our creative abilities to come up with solutions. AFUSA developed a process with tooling, fixturing, and materials that enabled them to provide the level of quality the client was looking for. Since then, they have expanded their relationship with AFUSA to include standard powder coating, solid colors, and a broader product line beyond just the woodgrain.
There were stumbling blocks AFUSA President, Greg Yahn shared, “The physics of the process made it very difficult. Without getting into the details, the woodgrains printed on a two-dimensional film, and you are trying to put a two-dimensional film over a three-dimensional product. And there is just no way of doing it without getting wrinkles, and wrinkles are defects. So that’s kind of where the rubber meets the road.”
Despite those challenges, AFUSA was able to deliver a defect-free solution when others could not, which has not only solidified the relationship with the client, but AFUSA has grown them as a client over the past five years. AFUSA continually gets perfect scores on their scorecards for quality, delivery, and zero defects which has helped them maintain their trust. “We’re very responsive, we’re very proactive. And that has helped keep the company happy with us and working with us to deliver on their pinnacle product.” Yahn says.
AFUSA is “Finishing” One Project at a Time
Advanced Finishing USA (AFUSA) offers full-service custom powder coating and finishing to customers all over the globe. We coordinate all aspects of production from cleaning, pre-treating, and finishing to assembly, packaging, and drop shipping. Our purpose-designed 80,000 sq. ft. plant is equipped to efficiently handle applications of almost any weight, size, configuration, or quantity.
Our customers rely on us to get their product finished and right the first time at a competitive price. From finishing rubber cones to finishing telephone wires, we can do it all.
Finishing is applying the final coating surface onto a product. Although there are more parts to finishing like adding components, adding a label sticker, or a barcode. Our base may be applying the finish, but other core functions include labeling, stenciling, assembling packaging, and shipping.
There are two types of finishes — functional and static finishes. Functional finishes improve performance and static improves the appearance of the product. While there are many subscripts, AFUSA communicates and works with what’s best for a customer’s product.
We work with our clients to communicate and better their product and make it more efficient. “At AFUSA, we see ourselves as an extension of someone’s business. We want to help businesses reach their maximum product potential” AFUSA President Greg Yahn shares.
Advanced Finishing USA Celebrates 50 Years in the Erie Community
50 years ago this month, family-owned Advanced Finishing USA (AFUSA) was founded by then Penn State Engineer and Erie native, Walter J. Yahn. Walter foresaw the growth of the powder coatings industry and its potential contribution to manufacturing in the region. He established Advanced Finishing U.S.A. to develop a full array of powder coating technologies and capabilities.
In 1970, AFUSA became an official business in the Erie community; originally as Plastic Coating and Molding- with just a used pizza oven and a used powder coating gun. From these humble beginnings, AFUSA started doing business for local companies, with a few friends and high school students as employees.
Walter was an early student of Deming and the other pioneers of the Total Quality Management movement. He understood immediately the importance of customer focus, quality, and service. With these principles firmly rooted, Walter built his company into a leading powder coating specialty business, creating a reputation for quick response, customer focus, and uncompromised attention to quality. Today, the family-owned 80,000 square foot facility has served customers such as General Electric, Alstom, Mitsubishi, Komatsu, Westinghouse, Kawasaki, Disney, Bombardier and the US Military to name a few.
Remaining a family-owned business (almost all of the Yahn family has worked at AFUSA over the decades, grandchildren included), today the company is a full-service custom powder coating and finishing company. They coordinate all aspects of production from cleaning, pre-treating, and finishing to assembly, packaging, and drop shipping. Their purpose-designed 80,000 sq. ft. plant located in Fairview, PA, is equipped to efficiently handle applications of almost any weight, size, configuration, or quantity.
Throughout their history, they have always put the community’s interests first. Walter’s son, Greg Yahn, the current President of Sales at Advanced Finishing USA, passionately states “You have to support your community. Places like Fairview High School, Penn State Behrend, Presque Isle State Park, the Erie Zoo, and Hamot Hospital are local jewels. These are the important places that make the community worthwhile to live in, and they deserve our support. We were supported by the Erie community from the start, and we return that support to the community today. We support them by writing checks, providing services, working with the schools and students in the community to provide a better future, and supporting the environment we live in. The company would not be what it is today without the support and dedication from our community, and it is an honor to give back to that community.”
Community and Family Make AFUSA Tick
Advanced Finishing USA (AFUSA) has been a part of the Erie community for 50 years. Started as a family business by Walter Yahn, almost all of the Yahn family has worked at AFUSA over the decades, grandchildren included. In 1970, AFUSA became an official business in the Erie community; originally as Plastic Coating and Molding- with just a used pizza oven and a used powder coating gun. From these humble beginnings, AFUSA started doing business for local companies, with a few friends and high school students as employees, and eventually developed into the large-scale, international company we are today.
Throughout our history, we have always put our community’s interests first. Walter’s son, Greg Yahn, President of Sales at Advanced Finishing USA, shares that “You have to support your community. Places like Fairview High School, Presque Isle State Park, the Erie Zoo and Hamot Hospital. These are the important places that make the community worthwhile to live in, and they deserve our support. We were supported by the Erie community from the start, and we return that support to the community today. We support them by writing checks, providing services, working with the schools in the community to better the future, and supporting the environment we live in. The company would not be what it is today without the support and dedication from our community and it is an honor to give back to it.”
AFUSA has employed families from the community for decades. Greg proudly boasts, “As you see in our value statement, our community is listed in importance ahead of the business owners because, without community, there is no business.” AFUSA employees are a collection of families and are treated as such. Greg shared that “We understand that this is your job, and your family is your family. You can always find a new job, but you can’t find a new family.” To be accommodating to the lives of the people in the community allows for the growth and blossoming of the community itself. We look forward to continuing to serve our employees as well as our community.
Understanding Antimicrobial Coatings
At Advanced Finishing USA (AFUSA), we have developed a finishing that creates safer, healthier and cleaner environments. Antimicrobial coatings are coatings that have zeolite containers dispersed evenly through the coating. These zeolite containers are filled with a small amount of silver nitrate, copper, or silver-copper. Microbes, as described in an interview with AFUSA President Greg Yahn, are, “living bacteria, and like all living organisms, they produce waste, and that waste is what makes us sick from bacteria.” When there is a high concentration of bacteria on a surface, there is a high concentration of waste produced by the bacteria which makes the surface dangerous and harmful when transferred from the surface to a person’s face or wound, allowing the harmful bacteria and waste to get into the body and begin overwhelming the immune system.
Yahn shared that, “Naturally, silver affects bacteria by penetrating their cell walls and interrupting metabolism and reproduction. If the bacteria are unable to metabolize, they are unable to produce the harmful waste, and the silver’s effect of reproduction denies the bacteria from increasing their population, further reducing the bacteria’s ability to spread and harm. Every time moisture is present, and friction is applied, the silver ions are released all around the container and any bacteria nearby will absorb those ions and will disrupt their metabolism and reproduction, eliminating their danger.”
“The idea is to keep the concentrations of bacteria down so that there are not enough bacteria on the surface to transfer enough bacteria into your body. Keeping lower levels of bacteria on surfaces touched in high traffic areas lowers the chance of spreading harmful amounts of bacteria from one person to another because once the bacteria are deposited on the surface, the silver ions begin to work on eliminating the bacteria.”
One example of an antimicrobial treated product from AFUSA are hospital bed lights mounted above pillows in hospital rooms to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria throughout the hospital to reduce risk to immuno-compromised patients and the spread of hospital-acquired infections. Additionally, AFUSA has coated door handles for a handful of customers. Yahn shared that sample testing by students at local universities concluded that the antimicrobial handles showed less cultural production of bacteria than other uncoated handles.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in the United States, places like school campuses and hospitals can use any support they can get when it comes to controlling the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. AFUSA’s commitment to quality and care for our customers and antimicrobial coating technology can help create a safer, cleaner, and healthier environment for the world now, in its current pandemic state, and for whatever the future may hold.
Opportunities in Sublimation-Disperse Dye Printing
A-Tex Featured in Recent Resource Paper from the SGIA
Transfer dye-sublimation (dye-sub) and direct disperse dye printing continue to grow both in market share and new application opportunities. Smithers’ 2018 report, “The Future of Dye-Sublimation Printing to 2023,” projected the worldwide market for dye-sublimation printing would grow from $7.83 billion in 2017 to $8.54 billion in 2018, and continue at a 10.2% compound annual growth rate to a market value of $13.9 billion in 2023. The report identified five dye-sub application categories for end-users with garments constituting the largest market category by far, followed by visual communications, household, rigids, and technical textiles.1 A-Tex is excited to be included as a licensee of the Decoral System.
“Another area where dye-sub is growing is heat transfer decoration of powder-coated metal surfaces for architectural building skins and trim, signs, public art, awards, and promotional product installations. Italy-based Decoral Systems developed and patented its system for transferring dye-sub to powder-coated surfaces. Its Quality Decoral Gold ink and transfer system have survived three-year outdoor/sun exposure testing in south Florida, thus expanding the durability of dye-sub. One of its licensees is Archi-Texture Finishing (A-Tex) of Fairview, Pa. ALTO of the SH Group produces dye-sub transfer-printed coated aluminum panels for colorful architectural installations. “
To read this article in its entirety, visit the SGIA website HERE.
To learn more about A-Tex Finishing, click HERE.