Titanium and aluminium anodizing can be devilishly tricky finishing processes, with pinch-tight tolerances and very little wiggle room for error or guesswork. But at Danco Anodizing, finishing is more than a complex array of processes—it’s a veritable art form.
This novel approach underscores the driving philosophy at Danco (“It isn’t finished until it’s finished”). Sounds a little redundant, but it’s an important mindset that is particularly evident in the company’s core customer market—medical devices, instruments, and implants—where pre-process, surface preparation, and final finishing are of the utmost importance. Since its beginnings in California in 1971, Danco has been dedicated and committed to providing the highest level of customer service throughout all its business endeavors.
“We spend a lot of time on concurrent engineering, and we work closely with customers to develop a finish that will fill their needs,” said Dean Zentz, Vice President of Operations at the company’s Warsaw, Ind., facility. “Pre-process is absolutely critical for both Danco and our customers.”
So important is the pre-process stage that Danco's knowledgeable personnel provide clients with in-depth technical assistance prior to finish application. This includes taking time to educate customers on the various factors that dictate the use of a particular finishing technique. For example, a particular component’s service environment, the type of alloy utilized, various physical attributes and aesthetic qualities, and, of course, costs, all come into play.
Case in point: Some parts specifications call for Danco’s standard aluminum anodizing services (Type II). Regarded as the most common and cost-effective anodizing process, Type II provides excellent abrasion and corrosion resistance. Then there are situations that warrant “hard anodizing” (or Type III). These coatings, which are equal to hard chrome plating in terms of hardness, accept black dyes well and provide excellent wear resistance and heat dissipation.
At a Glance
Danco Anodizing (Warsaw branch)
2450 Deelyn Drive
Warsaw, IN 46580
Tel: (574) 269-5900
Fax: (574) 269-5966
Owners: David Tatge, Ross Tiamson, Sherri Scherer, Lisa Tatge
Vice president of operations, Warsaw: Dean Zentz
Plant size: 33,000 square feet
Additional locations: Arcadia, Santa Ana, and Ontario, Calif.
For more customized applications, particularly those that entail titanium-anodized products used most often in color-coded orthopedics, Danco employs proprietary processes. Danco’s exclusive Integrated Color Control (ICC) system, for instance, provides the precise color consistency customers crave. Via the use of automatic controls, the ICC System eliminates the human “error” factor and sight limitations, thereby producing parts that consistently pass color comparisons, according to Danco. For the customers, this means fewer rejected parts and headaches, and less lost time.
Equally critical to the application of these finishes—if not more so—is the emphasis Danco places on cleaning and pre-treatment. Part of the pre-process phase involves selecting a preparation technique designed specifically for a part’s end use. In illustration: for medical and dental tool applications, where silky smooth surfaces are required, Danco may prep parts via polishing. Likewise, other parts entailing different aesthetic/performance considerations may require graining, blasting, or even a combination of various textures. Bottom line: Whatever the challenge, Danco can handle it.
Impeccably prepared and finished parts aside, Danco also boasts perhaps the most important attributes of all: responsiveness to customer requirements, attention to detail, and flexibility. These are all reasons why customers like Ryan Donahoe, Associate Engineering Manager for cervical, NuVasive, Inc., a San Diego, Calif.-based spinal medical device designer, keep coming back.
“Danco is focused on doing everything possible within their power to help you meet project goals—especially when that goal means meeting a surgery date,” Donahoe said. “They always come through, and you can always count on Danco to get it done. That’s why we go through them as opposed to someone else.”
While Danco generally works with NuVasive’s subcontractors directly, there are occasions where dealing one on one with the client is required. “If we need prototypes very quickly we’ll go directly to Danco—and that’s where they prove to be most valuable,” Donahoe explained. “Working closely either with Dean [Zentz] or Jeff Schmucker (Titanium Plant Manager, Warsaw), we’re able to get parts turned around in a day.” Donahoe also likes the fact that Danco offers laser etching in-house and can do chrome coating.
Capabilities & Certifications
- Polishing, graining, blasting tumbling
- Aluminum anodizing (Type II) Standard; (Type III) Hard
- Titanium Anodizing (DPPS5358 Color; AMS2488 Type 2
- Electropolishing, passivation, chemical films, teflon coating
- High-volume finisher of medical parts and implants
- Full-color imaging, Deep Image graphics, Steri-graphics
- Laser marking, engraving, screen printing
- Liquid penetrant inspection, magnetic particle inspection
- Low-friction chrome coating (LFC)
- ANAB Accredited, ISO 9001:2000 Certified1
- WBE-certified (Women’s Business Enterprise)2
- NADCAP certified3
Another satisfied customer is K2M, Inc., a Leesburg, Va.-based supplier of implants for spinal fusion that has been outsourcing its finishing work to Danco for about five years. As Christopher Straight, K2M’s Director of Product Development notes, when you’re responsible for providing surgeons with the tools they need to treat the most complex spinal pathologies, the discipline and care that goes into the finish of those tools and parts requires extreme attention to detail.
“Danco is extremely helpful to us, providing titanium anodizing on our implants and some instruments,” Straight said. K2M is particularly happy with Danco’s color-matching capabilities. “They send us color samples that we can compare with our internal standard pantone colors so that we can see which ones best match. They can also do ‘Deep Image’ coloring on aluminum. A good example is the modification Danco made to get different tints on the aluminum for our instrument cases and sterilization cases.”
Danco’s strengths don’t end there. The company employs an intricate system for retaining detailed records for long-term traceability (in case doctors need to follow the history of a particular patient’s implant). And when it comes to environmental compliance, Danco is equally disciplined. Whether it’s diligent fume scrubbing or wastewater treatment, the company “goes above and beyond,” as Zentz notes. In fact, he makes it a point to note that Danco has received numerous awards from the EPA, AQMD and Sanitation Districts for waste minimization and emission reductions.
Main Supplier Partners
|Air Applications (environmental equipment)
Basic Chemical (chemical supplier)
Clariant/Reliant (aluminum dyes)
Heritage (solids waste removal)
Turner Tech (pretreatment processing equipment)
Univar (chemical supplier)
With Danco operating at an already high level, one would think there’s not that much room for growth or expansion. However, that is not the case here. After all, it was the escalating customer demand that spurred the construction of Danco’s Warsaw plant to begin with. (The company also recently added chrome plating—low friction chrome—based on client requests.) No surprise, then, that Zentz reports Danco’s Warsaw facility expects to soon earn NADCAP accreditation, putting it on par with its Arcadia, Calif., facility (see sidebar) and opening up opportunities to aggressively pursue aerospace finishing work.
All this is welcomed news to Danco’s clients. As K2M’s Straight puts it: “They always seem to have something new to show you.”
- DET Norske Veritas Management System Certificate No. 21525-2008-AQ-USA-ANAB certifies that Danco Anodizing has been found to conform to the Management System Standard, ISO 9001:2000.
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in partnership with Michigan’s Women’s Business Council certifies that the criteria for certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) has been met (Certification No. 2005111994.)
- Certificate. No. 128076 awarded to Danco Metal Surfacing, 44 La Porte St., Arcadia, Calif., in accordance with SAE Aerospace Standard AS7003 by the authority of the Nadcap Management Council. This certificate demonstrate conformance and recognition of accreditation for specific services, as listed in www.eAuditNet.com on the Qualified Manufacturer’s List (QML), to the revision in effect at the time of the audit for “chemical processing.