80 Flagship Dr.
North Andover MA 01845


The mission statement of this company is an understatement. It says, “To be a leader in the area of Metal Finishing through the continuous pursuit of service and quality excellence with precise management control technological advancement using innovation.” Carol Shibles, President, wrote that statement, but it’s what she didn’t write that speaks volumes.

Having personally worked for a few machine shops and fabricators over the years, most shops offer statistical process control, but only when a customer specifically requests the service. It’s a tight control on process that allows an instant reveal an update in any fluctuation or irregularity in a process. That information can be the vital link to preventive quality failure. Many shops offer SPC as a premium to customers but Central Metal Finishing uses it as an in-house control for their own benefit and the customer doesn’t pay a premium, but gets top of the line finishing at competitive prices. It’s the best example of using SPC as a tool that I’ve encountered.

The company was founded in 1977 and Carol became president and owner in 1990. The company relocated from Andover to expand process capability while developing a closed loop environmental system. The facility is well lit and everything is geared to preventive action rather then reactive.

Central Metal Finishing services industrial applications, aerospace, medical and precision product finishing. They are TUV, ISO 9001 and NADCAP accredited.

With cadmium plating slowly being phased out of the industry, Central Metal Finishing offers many types of specialty finishes, inclusive of zinc-nickel processing. A co-deposition of zinc and nickel is applied to products, which require significantly increased corrosion resistance. This market has allowed Central Metal Finishing to become the largest processor of zinc-nickel alloy on the East Coast.

Another niche Central Metal Finishing has concentrated on has been selective plating. There are an ever-increasing number of customers with the need for plating application to only a select area of furnished product. While the shape and size of product is endless, the technology and technique utilized by Central Metal Finishing for masking applications is an exact science. Painstaking care is given to the most intrinsic designs and masking requirements, again separating Central Metal Finishing from the competition.

Often they do multi-purpose plating for special applications work but the most unique special offer we observed was their plating on aluminum, stainless and die-cast materials. By plating aluminum, conductivity can be dramatically improved, corrosion resistance enhanced while keeping the weight and toughness of a part at peak. With all of these specialties offered, the quality standard is better than competitors, mainly due to the tight, rigid controls they have in place with SPC. In addition to SPC, there is a fine technically equipped lab to test all aspects of their in-queue parts and their process chemistry. They perform multi-stage in process and final inspection.

The other finishing services offered are Cadmium, Chrome (functional), Copper, Gold, Nickel, Silver, Tin, Zinc, Zinc Nickel, Electroless Copper, Electroless Nickel, Anodizing, Black Oxide, Electropolish, Passivation, and Zinc Phosphating.

Communication is a major, critical function in any company and two-way communication is vital for a strong growing company, and this company has it. It’s not always seen in many companies but the up-flow communications is what will help this company grow and go far.

There are other great characteristics about this company as well. Things like EDI, (electronic ordering and invoicing), they offer bar coding for customers and, in fact use bar coding to track and supervise costs in-house. There is a Quick Turn Team that specializes in handling special needs and getting rush work out the door. Twenty-four hour quoting or better is the normal offering.

I asked Frank Freitas, Sales and Marketing Manager for his input of one message he would like to convey to you, the reader. Here is his comment. “Our potential customers need to know we offer all processes with 24 hour turn around. We offer long-term service and can handle one-piece orders or high volume production with the flexibility to react to their needs.” To that end, Central Metal Finishing maintains a business philosophy of providing every customer an exceptional product, in an expeditious manner, at a competitive price. This level of commitment and dedication has proven to be the key to success for both Central Metal Finishing and their customers.

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