Category Archives: metal finishing

Continuing the Legacy — Extreme Custom Powder Coating

Extreme Custom Powder Coating has been servicing the industry since December 2000. Located in Blooming Prairie, MN, the original owner, Greg Peterson (and wife Linda Peterson), had a vision to serve southern Minnesota with quality affordable and dependable coatings. Greg, being a national go-kart racing champion, had enthusiasm and drive for everything he did. In the mid ‘80s Greg traveled to California to purchase a new kart motor. During that trip, he was introduced to powder coating firsthand. Greg thought the concept and durability of the coating was extraordinary. It was something that stuck with him and later developed into his entrepreneurial dream.

For many years Greg worked factory positions and although he was fulfilled, he desired to do more. It was then that he and childhood best friend and kart racing companion Jim, designed a business plan for Greg to achieve his powder coating dream. Greg’s plan was to primarily service the dirt track racing community and area fabricators. The dream soon took off, like high octane racing fuel. He was coating for Shryock Racing Components out of Joice, IA. His relationships paved a foundation to network and promote the capabilities of his ever-growing business. Greg owned a dirt modified car, driven by the legend and best friend Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie. Soon after, he got into Elko Speedway, owning a thunder car for champion Conrad Jorgenson.

All the while he was mixing business with pleasure at the racetrack and area fabrication companies were taking notice as well. With spending more time in the office, he found himself running much more than race car chassis. His mother, Barbara Peterson, stepped in as his secretary which became an integral role in the business. With all this activity, Greg was quickly outgrowing his small beginner shop. This led him to building a new facility on the north end of town in 2007.

With stable ground to stand on industrially, Greg was drawn into custom coatings and building hot rods. He had a vision, the shop, and resources to promote powder coating to high-end consumer in the street rod world. Greg was a part of the Minnesota Street Rod Association, Gopher State Timing Association, and Goodguy’s Rod and Custom Association. His builds were featured in Hot Rod Magazine, Car Craft Magazine, Super Rod Magazine, Street Trucks Magazine and Gauge Magazine. His work and creativity were recognized and awarded Builder’s Choice through Goodguy’s and he eventually became a judge at their events. Greg was right where he wanted to be personally and professionally.

It was early summer 2013 when Greg was suddenly diagnosed with Leukemia. He pressed on determined to beat the disease. Ultimately, Greg passed away 6 months and many treatments later. He had been in remission from Leukemia, but side effects of the treatment caused trouble. Greg left behind his family, friends, and his business.

The Peterson family had no choice but to step up and carry on Greg’s legacy. They knew they still had a great staff to employ, and many customers to service. With immeasurable strength, Barbara, Greg’s mother took control of the finances. Tiffany, Greg’s daughter, was dedicated and had worked side by side with her dad for six years prior to his passing. She learned quoting techniques bed side in LaCrosse where Greg was treated for cancer. Greg’s wife Linda stepped in as President and CEO supporting Greg’s vision. The staff of 8, were incredible, and forged ahead without their leader.

Eight years as well as a 20-year anniversary milestone had passed and the team decided it was time for change. Linda and Barbara desired retirement and Tiffany desired more for the company, but after eight years, did not want to pursue that alone. At this time, Tiffany met Ted and John at AFI through mutual contacts. After many meetings and keeping in touch with Ted, the Peterson family felt that the culture of AFI really matched the core values of Extreme’s. Extreme wanted their employees to be in good hands and to continue to grow through AFI’s support and resources. It was a sign from heaven, on October 1st, Greg’s Birthday, that the owner of Extreme Custom Powder Coating Inc. and Associated Finishing Inc. came together to close on the sale of the business. The Peterson family celebrated looking forward to retirement and a fresh start on career opportunities for the whole team.

Extreme Powder Coating is situated in a 16,000 square foot facility. They host a manual trolley system that glides parts through a two-stage iron phosphate wash system. With an IonTech spray booth and batch oven up to 42’ in length, they can handle a wide variety of products. The site also offers a 35’ self-reclaiming blast system installed in 2016. Extreme handles large jobs, custom high end jobs, and small projects for anyone off the street.

AFI and Extreme Powder Coating plan to keep Greg’s legacy alive and well for many years to come!

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!


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: 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.


Drop Shipping- Is it right for you?

Here at AFI, we strive to be flexible for our customers to give them the best experience possible. That flexibility has gotten us into drop shipping to a final destination. This saves valuable time and money for our customers. Of course, our customers need to have faith in the quality of the parts that we send out since they will never see them. Our quality has spoken for itself as we have continued to increase the amount of drop shipping out of our location. We have a lot of experience in drop shipping to John Deere, Case-New Holland and more. Call today to find out if drop shipping is right for you!

Salesman on the Blitz

AFI’s salesman, Matt Miller (pictured on left), seconds as an assistant football coach for his alma mater Cleveland High School. He works with the offensive and defensive line for the small 9-man school just north-east of Mankato. Matt comments, “Coaching and developing players is always something I have really enjoyed. It’s also fun to give back to the community where I grew up. I am lucky to work for a company who not only lets me, but supports my participation in something I love to do. I’ve had co-workers and their families at our games cheering us on!”


This year the Clippers had their best year in many as they went 10-2 overall, while winning their district and section. It was only the second time in school history that Cleveland has made it to the State Tournament. The Clippers eventually lost in the State Quarterfinals to the back-to-back-to back state champion Grand Meadow. Congratulations to Matt and Cleveland on a great year!


1st Stage Washer Upgrade

In our quest to have the most up-to-date equipment, AFI has replaced the first stage of our washer on the automatic line at the Rock Street facility. The first stage of our 6-stage cleaning system is where the cleaning detergent and pressurized hot water is sprayed onto the part to wash off oils or any other contaminants. Heat and detergent concentration are the name of the game in getting parts clean and AFI is now able to get even hotter temperatures in our cleaning solution. We have also added a brand new filtration system that will allow our baths to remain consistently clean for longer periods of time. The filters are also easier to clean, meaning less down time on the line and ultimately quicker turn times on your parts!

AFI Summer Picnic!

Every summer, AFI has an annual company picnic for all of our employees and their families. Its a time to get away from the powder coat lines and liquid painting booths. The picnic was held at Bray Park this year in Madison Lake, MN (just outside of Mankato). We enjoyed the fun in the sun, including: swimming, a bean bag tournament, bingo, a treasure hunt, and face painting. AFI also gave out many prizes; anything from cash to boat anchors! The real purpose of the picnic to show appreciation for all our hard-working employees and to bring our families together to relax and have a little fun.

AFI Welcomes Mick Rykhus!

Associated Finishing is proud to announce the addition of Mick Rykhus to our team!

Mick is originally from Eagle Lake, MN and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato. He graduated from MSU with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Mick went to work for CAT as a Manufacturing Engineer in the fabrication department for Caterpillar Work Tools in Wamego, Kansas.

We are excited to bring Mick back to the Mankato area. His title is Facilities Manager, but we will be using him in many different ways. AFI will count on his design and fabrication skills to improve our processes and create an ideal facility to best suit our customers. AFI is always on the road of continual improvement and adding Mick to the team is definitely moving us in the right direction. Welcome Mick!

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