Contract targets local manufacturing

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership has awarded a coveted $50,000 contract to a local business that could help bring more economic development to the region.

That contract, to develop a certified anodizing line in the Grand Valley, went to Precision Metal Finishing, 850 South Ave.

If all works as planned, having a company in the valley that can anodize metal parts could lure other high-end manufacturers to the region, said Kelly Flenniken, GJEP executive director.

Anodizing is a process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts, which improves resistance to corrosion and wear and helps paint adhere to it better. It’s a process used on everything from mountain bikes to satellites orbiting the Earth.

Although a few businesses in the valley, including Precision Metal, already provide anodizing services, none is certified by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program.

Because the certification is needed on certain parts, particularly for the airline industry and defense contractors, local companies are forced to outsource that service to companies as far away as Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Having the service in the valley, however, not only will help save local companies time and transportation costs in shipping parts so far away, but also in luring other manufacturers to locate in the region, Flenniken said.

“We definitely know that there’s going to be a benefit in the short term to our local manufacturers who ship parts out,” she said. “The long-term benefit is much harder to measure. We certainly hope that we’ll be able to use it to recruit new businesses to come into the community. There’s a lot of ways that we feel they’ll be positive growth, it’s just a little harder to predict and to measure right now.”

Precision Metal was one of three companies to vie for the contract to gain that certification, which the GJEP board decided to spend to spur business development here and help diversify the local economy.

Precision Metal owner Vic Brizzolara, too, said he can’t yet tell how much it will help the region’s economy, but it certainly will boost business for his shop.

Brizzolara opened his shop in 1999, and started to do aviation anodizing in 2004. Though not NADCAP certified now, he has been able to do some anodizing work.

Brizzolara said his company is authorized to do some anodizing processes on aerospace parts, but anything new requires the certification.

“That’s what made me tree off and start my own place,” he said. “Working in-plating, a lot of people don’t want to make that move to do the certified work, but I wanted to step outside and do the government and aerospace work.”

For his part, Brizzolara will make the investment to upgrade his anodizing line to qualify for NADCAP certification, and expand it to support a wider range of products to help local businesses that use the process, too.

For its part, GJEP will market Precision Metal’s new capability to the aviation and defense contracting industries in an effort to bring new jobs to the valley.

The contract also requires Brizzolara to expand his practices to help lower costs for local companies that anodize parts, but don’t require the more technical NADCAP certification, such as intensive cleaning of parts and laser etching.

Brizzolara said it could take a year to 18 months to get the certification.

“We’re not going to be able to hit a huge market, say with one customer, but we’ll probably be able to pick up a lot of smaller customers,” Brizzolara said. “With the research we’ve done, we feel it’s worth getting the certification.”


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