Technical Plating, located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, specializes in tinning, electroless nickel plating and passivation, and has been named one of Finishing of products ”s 2021 Top Shops in the electroplating and anodizing category. We recently caught up with Tyler Thomas, vice president and general manager of Technical Plating – and a member of PF‘s 40-Under-40 Class of 2019 – to talk shop.
PF: Can you give a brief overview of the installation of Technical Plating and the processes it uses?
In recent years, we have increased our capacity by adding more lines. We have a total of seventeen lines. And we also have a new line underway, which will occupy the last real estate element of the building when it comes to processes.
The Technical Plating facility is capable of coil-to-coil plating, bright nickel plating, brass and copper etching, and bright dipping. Photo credit: technical plating
PF: What industries do you serve and what types of parts do you usually use?
TT: The biggest industries we serve are aerospace, defense, telecommunications, batteries, and medical.
We do a variety of different things, from solderless connectors and military parts to surgical catheters and staples. It’s sort of a whole range of things that we do.
PF: How many Technical Plating parts does it produce annually?
TT: 7 to 10 billion pieces. We have over 55 new customers this year alone. Our client list counts over 300 clients and continues to grow.
PF: Technical Plating has a test laboratory for its parts. What can you tell us about the lab?
TT: As a NADCAP accredited store, we have to keep incredibly strict parameters on all of our baths and tanks. In our laboratory, we perform passivation tests, which consist of water, immersion, humidity and copper sulfate. We also perform solder tests for tin and nickel, and are constantly on the lookout for new, better quality tests that we can bring in-house. We also have a NADCAP accredited furnace according to AMS 2750, in which we can perform the hardening and pretreatment of parts before and after plating.
Overall, we can perform most of the tests required by our specifications, with the exception of the salt spray, which we outsource. I think most stores have testing capabilities, but I’m not sure they have it up to what we’re doing. Our clients know they are getting certified from us; they know it’s all done right, documented and done right the first time.
The shop’s NADCAP accredited testing lab has the capacity to perform almost any test required by shop specifications. The only one he subcontracts is the salt spray. Photo credit: technical plating
PF: Environmental initiatives seem to be at the heart of Technical Plating’s approach job.
TT: Absolutely – being in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, we don’t want to pollute. We have a state-of-the-art waste treatment system. We run a lot of water every day, but we can send a lot of it back to our pipes, and the rest we squeeze into a metal hydroxide slurry to recycle. We are just trying to make sure that we apply the most efficient waste treatment possible because it is something you have to do right. We have our ISO 14001 certification to show our customers that we are trying to go beyond our environmental footprint.
PF: Technical Plating was recently named one of the PF Top Shops, and you are a member of our 40-Under-40. What do these achievements mean for the company?
TT: It’s an honor to be on these lists. We are working very hard here to be the best that we can be. We have had difficult years in the past, but by investing in our quality systems and having a mindset of continuous improvement, we find ourselves in an excellent strategic position. If we keep our footing on the gas and continue to put quality and communication at the forefront, we can continue to grow. Word of mouth travels quickly and these accolades help us get our name known more and more.
PF: What does Technical Plating’s relationship look like with its customers?
TT: We like to build a fairly close relationship with our customers. Many of our clients come to us with issues that others cannot fix, whether it’s something we can fix, something we can provide an alternative for, or something they just need to be. confirmed or rechecked. We take on projects that some stores can’t, won’t do, or just struggle with, and often can provide a solution. We like to be very communicative and dedicate the time and effort to help where and how we can.
Installation of Technical Plating in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Photo credit: Technical Plating
PF: What is the team dynamic at the store?
TT: Our management team has a few staff meetings a week, but even outside of that, we still communicate in the field and work together. We all wear several hats. We favor open and frequent communication, both within the store and within the management team. Creating an environment that allows for such open communication, while having clearly defined roles, leads to responsibility and ownership for what you do. This means that people feel confident and secure in communicating information or new ideas with each other and with management. We understand how important it is to seek opportunities to learn and improve in all possible situations. We’re running a well-oiled machine right now, and it’s a good feeling when things are going well.