Ionbond’s Greensboro plant - center of excellence in serving customers
The Ionbond plant in Greensboro, USA, is a center of excellence in servicing customers, with a very diverse product portfolio. Read on to learn about their unique aerospace certification and coating capabilities.
Ionbond has coating facilities in 15 countries, each with their own mix of core products to serve the local markets. Today, we take a peek at our plant in Greensboro, North Carolina (USA), which specializes in coatings for various components.
It is also the only Airbus-certified coating facility in the country, giving it an exclusive right to process components of all Airbus aircraft. The plant, with a team of 35 people, runs a 24/7 operation and strives to be the center of excellence in serving their customers in a range of sectors.
The place to be for your application – no matter the sector
Ghulam Husnain, Plant Manager, is proud of the work they do in Greensboro: “We have a very diverse portfolio of products, such as industrial components for the aerospace, wind power generation and locomotives sector. In addition, we work for customers in the automotive sector, as well as for deco/sports, which includes firearms.”
The plant of course has the necessary certifications for these challenging sectors. Along with the general ISO 9001-2015 certification, the plant also has an aerospace-specific AS9100D and automotive TS16949 certifications. It is also compliant with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which cover working with of components for firearms and defense equipment.
“New customers benefit from us regularly working with such a diverse customer base,” says Jamey Ewing, Senior Process Engineer. “It allows us to bring new products in easily. Our team is experienced in a range of industries, so we can quickly determine the right fixturing and coatings for a new application.”
High-tech equipment focused on quality and throughput
The Greensboro facility is equipped with state-of-the-art coating and cleaning systems. Their coating machines are all made by Ionbond’s sister company Hauzer, known for their reliability and top-of-the-line technology: four Hauzer sputter machines and a large arc evaporation technology machine for the decorative applications. Because the machines are all different sizes, the most efficient machine can be chosen for each job. An important plus to the Greensboro lineup is the capacity for large components: up to 60 inches in height and 24 inches in width.
A sample of the coating portfolio:
- Various types of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings from the Tribobond™ family
- TiN, CrN, CrCN, ZrN and ZrCN coatings
- Decorative Decobond™ coatings, produced as a standard in gold, silver, gray, black, and customized colors on request
In addition, there are three cleaning systems to facilitate flexibility and throughput. The plant also has full decoating capabilities for DLC, titanium- and zirconium-based coatings. Quality control is done by the in-house lab. “We can do most testing ourselves,” says Jamey. “For instance, adhesion testing, thickness testing, color measurements, surface roughness testing, shock testing – basically all you need for full autonomy in quality assurance. For in-depth analysis, such as nano-hardness evaluation or SEM analytics, we engage our central lab in Michigan. When needed, we involve our competence centers for particular products, such as the Ionbond plant in Lyon (FR) for aerospace or Venlo (NL) for automotive or decorative products.”
With this equipment, the Greensboro plant has plenty of capacity to provide quick turnaround times. Ghulam: “The normal turnaround time is 10 working days or 2 weeks, but we are also happy to make other agreements depending on a customer’s requirement.”
Looking ahead to the future
The team in Greensboro is making several investments this year, including a new Hauzer machine. Also, a brand-new cleaning line will replace one of the current older systems. “We’re focusing on high-volume deco/sports customers,” says Ghulam, “plus more high-throughput work for automotive. We’re also getting more and more requests for coating large parts, which we are well-equipped to handle with our large coating chambers.” On the operations side, the team focuses on automation and efficiency improvements, for example by implementing automated blasting machines.
Of course, none of the Greensboro growth goals will be possible without the team. “Because, in the end,” says Ghulam, “the best thing we can do for our customers and our employees is to create a place where people are happy to work.”
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