Pennsylvania Finishing Company Innovates and Expands
Finishing Associates Inc. of Warminster, Pa., is currently transforming into FA Sinto, having been acquired by Sinto Surface Treatment (SST), a market division of Roberts Sinto Corp. And in the midst of this transformation, Sinto has acquired National Peening, a company with four locations in the Southeast, all while making significant strides in breaking barriers in surface treatments, especially with high-end racing components.
As a family-run business, FA Sinto President Mark Cantwell and his father began representing Sinto's equipment in the U.S. in 1986. Sintokogio, the Japanese parent company of Roberts Sinto, has long been a manufacturer of airless blast equipment in the Pacific Rim and South America, and is now introducing advanced designs and abrasive blast technology to the North American market through its acquisition of Finishing Associates, which also sells Sinto machinery.
Cantwell stresses that the company's goal is to enhance part performance through surface improvements, basically getting a metal surface to the point of bringing the coefficient of friction down. If such improvements are made on a racing car's bearing surface, for example, that car will run more efficiently. "If an engine or driveline component, such as a valve, camshaft, roller, or bearing, has an optimized surface, you're improving that vehicle's performance and you're improving gas mileage," Cantwell said.
Using both wet and dry centrifugal barrel technology, FA Sinto (www.finishingassociates.com) has worked to develop surfaces that are below 1 RA (roughness average) on racing valves and cam shafts. "It's all about getting that surface optimized, and it's tricky. You need to get smooth, but you also need to have small pockets, otherwise that oil (for lubrication) would just run off. So there's been this real push to optimizing surfaces in our industry, and we've developed some very high-end finishes," he said.
Recently the company has dealt with "diamond-like coatings" (DLC) on engine valves and engine components, in which finishing techniques have been developed that have improved overall performance for the vehicle by reducing the coefficient of friction and reducing oil retention on the surface. The DLC coating involves putting vapor deposits onto the surface of a very hard coating. "What we do is take that and if you look under a microscope, you'll see that surface is very scratchy and not as smooth as they would like. So we refine that surface, the smoothness, in high-energy equipment. And it is not a manual process, it's an especially-developed, high-energy centrifugal barrel process proprietary to us," Cantwell said.
Coming up with innovative finishing techniques is critical to the company's success, he said. "By innovating, we've actually put added value into the part by improving the surface and improving performance. We really have one of the biggest opportunities in surface to put added value into a customer's part. By having added value, their product becomes more valuable to their customers or to the market, and that innovation allows those companies to grow, allows us to grow and compete, and allows the U.S. to retain manufacturing," Cantwell said.
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