It seems as if a lot of shops have made their shopping list for new or upgraded equipment for their electroplating and anodizing operations, which is a great indication of how strong the finishing industry truly is.

Of course, there are notably fewer operations in place than there were 10 and 20 years ago, so the work is going to far fewer facilities than ever before. Yes, a lot of work has gone south to Mexico and overseas to China and the Pacific Rim, but there is considerable work that is available here in the United States and Canada.

That is why we take a look at the often lengthy process of planning for upgrading a finishing operation — whether it be completely new lines or refurbishing existing ones — and all that work that goes into it.

In a survey we did at the beginning of 2023, we found that 58% of all shops said they expected to see sales increase by more than 10% this year compared to 2022. And almost 18% of all shops surveyed expected at least a 20% increase in business this year from 2022.

That means more throughout, more hours on the lines, and more efficient ways to coat parts. 

About 90% of all shops who took’s survey say they planned to spend money on new capital equipment purchases this year. The goal is to maintain their current equipment and add new equipment where they can fit it in.

Moreover, about 14% say they will spend in excess of $1 million on projects to improve their equipment in 2023. Nearly 60% say they have budgeted between $100,000 and $500,000 on the projects, and more than 16% report they will spend at least $75,000 on capital projects. Of course, if shops need more people to run these lines and equipment, they may be looking for quite a while, but that is why newer automation is driving these upgrades to decrease the reliance on labor to get parts finished.

Venkat Raja, President and Founder of Advint in Ontario, Canada, which advises surface finishing companies, says shops should have a clear plan on what they want to accomplish when they undertake thoughts of adding new lines or refurbishing what they have.

These projects are not only costly, but they can often shut down production for some time, and time is money.

“If you are designing a plating or conversion coating process line, you need to make the most of the opportunity,” Raja says.

Tim Pennington, Editor-in-chief

TPennington 3Tim Pennington is Editor-in-Chief of Finishing and Coating, and has covered the industry since 2010. He has traveled extensively throughout North America visiting shops and production facilities, and meeting those who work in the industry. Tim began his career in the newspaper industry, then wound itself between the sports field with the PGA Tour and marketing and communications firms, and finally back into the publishing world in the finishing and coating sector. If you want to reach Tim, just go here.

newsletter subscribe 300x75 1

findfinisher 300x50 1

supplier 300x50 1

advertise 300x50 1