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Jessup Engineering meets 21st Century Challenges to the Surface Finishing Industry

Looking at the surface finishing industry in the first decade of the 21st century, there are plenty of challenges - economic, environmental, technological - many of which could not be imagined when the industry was in its infancy.

Much of the progress to meet the ever-growing number of challenges has been through improvement and development of processes. Such advances include plating on light metals, alloys, plastics and other difficult-to-plate substrates. Co-deposition of particles and pulse current waveforms enabled manufacturers to create rather formidable properties on some rather mundane substrates.

Historically, there has been plenty of emphasis on the process. Nonetheless, none of this could have been possible without the means to march the workpieces through whatever process gauntlet is required - the equipment. We’ve come a long way from the days when all you had to do was to “hang it on a wire and dip it!” Indeed, fifty years ago advanced machine technology involved electro-mechanical relays and driven by Tenor drums or mechanical cam controls. Programmable logic controllers and personal computers were a long way off.

Nonetheless, the creative engineers of the day did wonderful things in the area of designing and building plating equipment. Among them was a transfer mechanism at the Ternstedt Division (GM) plant in Flint, Michigan, where racks of automobile door handles were shuttled from a huge copper-dual nickel plater to another huge dual chromium unit. Another concept was an experimental closed-cell conforming anode bumper plater called the “pants presser,” for Pontiac Motor Division. It never saw all-out mass production, but it might have done so with today’s controls technology and materials.

The equipment available today is the result of many long years of experience and technological evolution. One company that exemplifies application of this progress is Jessup Engineering, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Recognizing the importance of process flexibility, Dick Jessup began his business in 1971 to develop and manufacture programmed hoist systems. The first machine was built for a plating company in Detroit, Michigan.


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