We Are Open!!

AFI is still up and running through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continually decreasing lead times while holding to our tight quality standards. We are taking all necessary precautions to keep our employees and customers safe through new social distancing practices, increased cleaning, and updating our sick policies.

Contact us right for any new or existing projects you would like to have quoted!

New RollSeal Door

 

The latest update to the Litchfield equipment is a RollSeal door that has been installed on the large batch oven.  We replaced the old metal double-door with this “garage” type RollSeal door and have been impressed with the improvements.

This is a unique improvement that AFI hasn’t tried in the past, but has a few advantages. The first advantage is that this door seals the oven much better than the conventional doors. The pliable fabric of the RollSeal is pushed against the oven door frame by the pressure inside of the oven. This covers all of the small cracks in the frame creating a better seal.  The improved seal not only saves us money on the gas bill, but also helps keep the temperature more even throughout the oven.  This allows us to feel confident that especially long parts are being baked evenly. The second big advantage is that the door can be opened and closed remotely, just like a garage door.  This advantage allows the operator to stay on the fork lift and moving the load around while the door is opening.  It also reduces the amount of time that the door is open letting heat escape because the operator isn’t spending time jumping on and off the forklift.

We will continue to look for opportunities in the future, big or small, to improve our process and equipment!

 

Improving Our Reliability

EOS—Entrepreneurial Operating System— is a business managerial system that gives a company the framework to create a clear vision, simplify processes, increase accountability and uncover issues. AFI was first introduced this system in early 2018 and started to implement it’s principles through-out the rest of that year. Implementer Joe Paulsen, led us through the first full year of the program and guided us through streamlining our departments and processes. He challenged us to set new types of goals and to fight the temptation to go back to our “norm”. The ground level of the system is based on weekly “perfect” meetings in which there is no time allotted to tangents or story-time. The meeting is focused on finding issues in the company, solving them, and holding someone accountable to the solution.

 

The result has been a contagious culture of improvement. 2019 was the first calendar year for AFI to use the system to drive towards our goals. While we didn’t hit all of our goals, we can see that the collection of new data, putting people in the right seats, and continually improving the company culture will drive us into an improved future. EOS has pushed us to spread responsibility throughout the company and take on challenges that face each department with more focus. That focus will improve the product that AFI puts out on a daily basis and increase our reliability to our customers.

 

Spring Cleaning

The AFI- Mallard plant received a much needed facelift this spring! Complete with new siding and lighting, the improvements have really brightened up the appearance. AFI has had a history of expansion, especially to the building. The original production space of the main building was about half of the current production space. The latest facelift brought a sharp uniformity to the building that was needed. The building was also fitted with some new windows to help keep us warm during the next Polar Vortex!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litchfield Facility Update

The AFI Litchfield facility has officially been open for two years now. 2018 has again brought new additions to the team and especially the equipment in the facility. Efficiency is the name of the game in Litchfield and 2018 has brought many improvements to racking and floor space. We have also added a 140’ x 40’ pad of concrete in our loading area outside of the building to help our process run smoothly.

Over the past year, the Litchfield facility has seen some major growth in business. We have had to match that growth with staffing and equipment. One of the major equipment additions to the facility is the third blast room that is being installed in December. This blast room is thirty feet long and will shoot steel grit media. This investment is addressing our biggest bottleneck in Litchfield over the past year and it will be up and running by mid-December.

Focusing on plant efficiency has been a major undertaking this year. There have been improvements to rack design for a few different projects that have cut our handling time down dramatically. Many times, it is the large projects that make sense to design new racking, but everything we design has thoughts about how to reuse it on a variety of projects. We have also gained floor space by reorganizing and using the new concrete pad outside to store unused racks.

The addition of the expanded concrete loading area has been a very good investment thus far. It has about doubled our usable space to turn around, unload trucks, and store racks. It is especially helpful in the spring when the old loading area would get very soft from the thaw of the frost

Clearing Ground

Preparations are being made at the AFI– Mankato facility for an expansion. PEM, AFI’s sister company, will be building a new facility on the lot to showcase their paint pretreatment equipment. The new building will have a state-of-the-art training center for all-things pretreatment. PEM currently uses some space within the AFI building as well as another building on the property. This project will allow AFI to move into these spaces gaining critical room to expand operations.

The new building will start going up in the spring and is planned to be completed by the end of 2019!

 

Litchfield Grand Opening!

On December 8th, AFI had a Grand Opening for customers, community members, and family to see the new facility. It was a great night filled with music, food, and celebrating a lot of hard work. Thank you to the Mayor of Litchfield- Keith Johnson, Paul Pagel (MNTAP), and Sam Ziegler (Director; GreenSeam) for the congratulations and welcoming us to Litchfield. We even had a few guest musicians for the night: Keith Johnson, Paul Pagel, and Merle Felling (Founder; Felling Trailers) who played with the Blue Ox Jazz Babies.

 

New Town, Great Facility, More Capabilities

Associated Finishing, Inc. is opening a third facility in Litchfield, MN to expand our capabilities and add capacity. The Litchfield facility will be operational in early December 2016 and has 27,000 sq feet of production space that will be used in a variety of ways. The large batch system includes a spray bay, abrasive blast room, powder/liquid paint booth, and oven that can accommodate a 40′ part. Once the large batch system is up-and-running, we will be adding a conveyor line that can handle a 20′ part. This will increase our efficiency and lower prices on parts that will fit on the line. There is also plans for a second conveyor line in the future. AFI is excited about how this new expansion will have a positive effect on our current customers and we are looking forward to the new relationships it will bring!

Expanding the Fleet

AFI has done it again! We have added another truck to our fleet making a total of four trucks for our customers’ convenience. We now run a fleet of three straight trucks and one tractor/trailer. These trucks make daily runs to the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area and other routes around Minnesota for customer pick-up and delivery. AFI feels that this free trucking service is essential to connect with our customers and the value of this service takes care of many of the headaches involved with logistics. It’s simple: contact our shipping department: shipping@associatedfinishing.com and they will do the rest.

 

AFI opted for another straight truck because of its driver flexibility. This gives AFI the ability to change with our customers’ needs. The truck also has new and improved graphics on it. The AFI cartoon characters are still alive and well, but we rearranged a few other items to better reflect our business. Although this new truck might not go to the Twin Cities everyday, it will create more space on the trucks that do make those trips. That means a better chance that your parts can be picked up and delivered on the day that you requested.

 

Recognition for a Young Leader

(left: Becca Kent-MDHA Chapter Coordinator, middle: Tyler Niss, right: Denis Quarberg– MDHA State President)

 

Congratulations to Tyler Niss for receiving the Youth Leadership Award at the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association banquet. Tyler was recognized for going above and beyond for his local chapter. Tyler is a regular volunteer at his chapter events such as Fall Banquet and raffle sales. Tyler is a junior at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School and works part-time at Associated Finishing. He is also the son of estimator Scott Niss.