When the phone rings at ISO Finishing in Loretto, Minnesota, the caller is usually on a quest for technical perfection. It might be an aviation design engineer who wants next-level surface finishing for concave turbine fins, a senior materials scientist who needs precision finishing for hundreds of 40-inch crankshafts or an engineer who’s been tasked with refinishing thousands of sub-standard retail fixtures incorrectly manufactured overseas ASAP.
Whatever the case, ISO Finishing CEO Mike Klein understands. With more than 30 years in the metals business, Mike has an encyclopedic knowledge of metallurgy and manufacturing for medical, aviation, military, foodservice, retail and other industries. After listening to the caller explain the situation, their challenges and the timeline, Klein asks a number of incisive questions about the current conditions and the desired RA. Most importantly, Klein wants to know about the end user in the hopes of exceeding the RA for better outcomes.
“I’m always thinking about the human beings who’ll be using and interacting with these pieces,” Klein says. “If we’re finishing a small titanium surgical reattachment button that’s going to be implanted in somebody’s knee forever, I want to exceed the RA to make life easier for the orthopedic surgeon and the patient. It’s not going to cost my client anymore to over-polish the buttons, but it’ll help minimize the risk of wearing out the sutures and causing pain and other issues for the patient down the road.”
“If I’m talking with an aviation engineer about finishing an interior portion of a turbine blade, I’m thinking about how to enhance the RA to further reduce the potential for machine mismatches,” Klein continues. “If we decrease the surface flatness by a couple of microinches at the root of the radius, it’ll likely reduce the possibility of fatigue and failure, which in the aviation industry, can be a matter of life and death.”
“At the end of the day, my team and I are always striving to build it like we’d want to receive it,” Klein concludes. “Having been in the manufacturing business for decades, I know what it feels like when a part doesn’t work. It interrupts the entire process and often results in lost time, lost revenue and lost customers. If my team and I can deliver a better finished product that benefits our clients, their customers and the end users, we’re happy to go above and beyond in this shared quest for perfection.”