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NASF Report

NASF has partnered with Products Finishing to present "The NASF Report" a periodical resource for information about NASF and the surface finishing industry.

Click Here to Read the Report

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Valuable Technical Resource at Your Fingertips: Explore STERC.org

POSTED: May 22, 2017

Did you know, as an active member of the National Association for Surface Finishing (NASF), you have access to one of the most comprehensive online tools for surface finishing?

Launched in early 2017, NASF, in partnership with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) and continued grant funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), launched the Surface Technology Environmental Resource Center (STERC.org).

STERC offers a fresh new look with additional menu options, an expanded library, combined training and education products from the AESF Foundation and NCMS, highlights of pending new rules and compliance deadlines, and other planned features. The STERC library is now home to thousands of searchable technical articles and papers from Plating and Surface Finishing (P&SF) magazine to SUR/FIN conference papers, as well as articles and papers from many other sources. Under the new partnership, the content of the library is included in your NASF membership.

STERC is a valuable one-stop resource for the latest compliance information and best practices for reducing pollution for the surface fishing industry. Like the old National Metal Finishing Resource Center (NMFRC), STERC will continue to include:

  • Easy-to-follow regulatory overviews
  • Tips on how to comply
  • Best-practice solutions that can help the environment while saving companies money
  • Industry calculators
  • Links to other useful resources

For more information on STERC, contact Jeff Hannapel at jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com or Matt Martz at mmartz@nasf.org.



CATEGORIES: Business, Education, Government Relations, Law & Regulation, Research


NASF Member Survey of Job Shops, Suppliers Shows Optimism in 1st Quarter

POSTED: March 30, 2017

The latest NASF “Business Barometer” survey points to optimism from member suppliers and job shops in the first quarter of 2017. Click here to see detailed results for suppliers and here for job shop results, including outlook by geographic region.

For Job Shops, business conditions are favorable and expected to tick up further in the next six months. In light of broader confidence in key sectors and the expectation of pro-business policies from Washington, including less regulation, confidence in the industry tracks trends other business surveys, including the NFIB “Optimism Index” – where first quarter optimism reached a historic high.

Job Shop owners said the biggest challenge this year will be finding qualified employees as the labor market continues to tighten. The Job Shop survey just kicked off this quarter, following the success of the NASF Supplier Business Barometer. See the summary here.

For Suppliers, business conditions in North America are the most favorable since the survey launched in 2015, with nearly 49 percent of suppliers reporting conditions are “good” and nearly 9 percent reporting “excellent.” See the summary here.

Thanks again to all members participating in the survey. Be sure to take one minute and complete the next survey in the second quarter. Your contributions help create a more accurate picture of current and emerging business conditions for the industry.



CATEGORIES: Business, Economy, NASF Members, Research


Outlook on the Federal Regulatory Agenda: A Tectonic Shift in Washington

POSTED: January 23, 2017

The Trump Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have launched 2017 with several early actions on an agenda that, if implemented, would represent a tectonic shift in the U.S. regulatory landscape, particularly in the areas of environment, labor, health and safety.

Nominees and Advisors

The president’s nominees to head key agencies – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency and burger chain executive Andy Puzder for Department of Labor – are widely known critics of the federal bureaucracy and government overreach. Pruitt led states’ efforts in recent years in major lawsuits against EPA. Puzder, who battled regulation in California, has warned that overly strict labor laws will lead employers to replacing workers with machines. Both nominees are now awaiting Senate confirmation.

The president also recently named activist investor and billionaire Carl Icahn as his special advisor on regulatory overhaul. He promised a regulatory moratorium and a rollback of key Obama Administration executive orders and memos on a host of topics. That’s exactly what’s transpired since Trump took office.

The President’s EPA transition team chief, libertarian think-tank advocate Myron Ebell, recently called the environment movement “the greatest threat to freedom.” He suggested last week that EPA’s budget should be cut by two-thirds, from 15,000 to 5,000 employees.

Executive Orders and a Regulatory Freeze

The President just this week signed an executive order promising that going forward for each new regulation issued, two old regulations would have to be eliminated. In announcing the policy, he noted “we’re cutting regulations massively for small business – and for large business” and that the annual impact on the economy of government rules would be “no greater than zero.”

The order follows an Inauguration Day memo from the President’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to all departments and agencies. The directive would freeze a number of recently finalized regulations for a 60-day review period. It also instructed agency heads to also consider delaying effective dates for regulations beyond the 60-day time period. The temporary moratorium on regulations is not uncommon for incoming presidents.

Indeed, several major rules that the Obama administration was speeding to the finishing line will be held up. Among them is the Department of Labor’s controversial overtime rule to boost worker pay, along with several EPA regulations.  Another on the slate is a rule to make hardrock mining operations show the financial ability to pay for contamination clean-up if closed. This is the first in a series of rules that EPA has anticipated would affect a range of industries in the future, including surface finishing.

Regulatory Reform Legislation on Capitol Hill

On Capitol Hill, Republicans with control of both legislative chambers on Capitol Hill have moved swiftly in the first few weeks of the new Congress to reshape the future of regulation. In its first week back in Washington, the House began action on and approved several regulatory relief bills, including:

  • the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) – requires Congress to approve any agency rule estimated to have more than a $100 million cost on the U.S. economy;
  • the Regulatory Accountability Act – requires agencies to complete a number of steps on a proposed rule, including weighing the direct and indirect costs and benefits of their rules on jobs and economic growth; and
  • the Midnight Rule Relief Act – allows Congress to repeal in a single vote any rule finalized in the last 60 legislative days of the Obama administration.

Since passage in the House, the Senate is now reviewing these measures, but Democrats have promised opposition there. The bills were passed by the House in earlier Congresses but were never previously acted on by the Senate.

In addition, House leaders have assembled a first short list of major Obama-era rules for repeal in the coming days. Republican leaders have promised to use their legal authority to scuttle the regulations under a rarely used legislative tool, the Congressional Review Act. The law, enacted in 1996, has been successfully invoked by Congress only once. In 2001, Republicans used it as President George W. Bush took office to overturn a major OSHA workplace ergonomics standard from the Clinton Administration.

EPA – Selected Regulatory Targets

Several major environmental regulations that the Trump administration has targeted for elimination, reform or delay include EPA’s Clean Power Plan to set carbon emission limits on power plants, the agency’s revised ozone standard and EPA’s controversial Clean Water Rule, which would determine which rivers, lakes, streams and ponds are subject to federal jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court just this month agreed to hear arguments in litigation over the water rule. For surface finishing, EPA is still reviewing whether to propose tighter wastewater discharge limits for the industry, and NASF will continue to work closely with EPA and the Trump administration to inform the agency’s decision.

Department of Labor and OSHA – Selected Regulatory Targets

One of the most controversial labor regulations advanced by the Obama Administration has been the overtime rule. The rule, which would have raised the salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay, was blocked by a Texas district court judge just before it went into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. Both the incoming White House and Republicans in Congress have argued the rule should be scrapped, along with a growing list of other Obama-era labor rules and decisions from DOL, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On workplace safety matters, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s efforts to make major changes in recordkeeping and reporting for business have been opposed by a range of industry groups, including NASF. Among these have been OSHA’s final electronic reporting rule to put injury and illness records of employers on the internet, and the agency’s pending final rule that would allow OSHA to cite employers for alleged injury and illness recordkeeping violations up to five years old, an extension much longer than the current limit of six months.

It’s only January, and a profound shift is underway in Washington. The regulatory agenda will be in a center spotlight this year, along with further action on tax reform, trade, immigration, health care and infrastructure. NASF has been closely engaged at the agencies and will continue to monitor and inform decisions that impact the industry as the year unfolds.  Look for new updates on specific issues in play in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we look forward to having you join us for the NASF Washington Forum in the nation’s capital on Apr. 25-27, 2017. For more information, go to www.nasf.org.

 



CATEGORIES: Business, Government Relations, International, Law & Regulation
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Just a Few Great Reasons to Attend SUR/FIN in Atlanta…

POSTED: January 23, 2017

The NASF SUR/FIN show floor is already 80% sold out as of January, and we look forward to a record-setting event in Atlanta on June 19-21, 2017.

Here are some great reasons to attend SUR/FIN this year…

LEARN – Choose from 80 informative conference presentations, education and training courses and other technical presentations to keep you informed and remain competitive in your market.

From the Sustainability Summit and Automotive and Defense/Aerospace Forums to Coatings for Electronics and other topics, the SUR/FIN Conference Program will give you the latest, most relevant information available in surface technology industry.

Scott Fetter of Lockheed Martin will kick off the Sustainability Summit with a keynote presentation on Monday, June 19, and more speakers will be announced soon. Don’t miss your chance to hear from Scott and other experts from a range of backgrounds give insights and strategies to succeed in the industry in 2017.

COLLABORATE – Join more than 1,200 knowledgeable professionals from key industries such as aerospace, automotive and more

The southeast region’s automotive, aerospace and broader manufacturing presence continues to grow and provide opportunities for domestic and international surface finishing. SUR/FIN has not been located in the southeast for many years, so NASF is excited at the opportunity to welcome new attendees and exhibitors to Atlanta.

EXPERIENCE – Meet nearly 200 exhibitors with information on the latest innovations and solutions to address your most challenging surface technology issues.  The show floor is already 80% sold out as of January, and we look forward to a record-setting meeting and show in Atlanta

A few early announcements are below with more ahead in the coming months…

New Start Time for SUR/FIN Conference Sessions
Monday, June 19th @ 10:00 am

Attendees and exhibitors alike will be interested to know that the SUR/FIN schedule has been revamped. SUR/FIN’s Manufacturing & Technology Conference will now begin at 10:00 AM on Monday, June 19. Starting the Conference sessions earlier will allow attendees more time on the show floor on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Industry Night Event
The College Football Hall of Fame

While SUR/FIN is full of great networking opportunities, we are particularly excited about this year’s Industry Night event, which will take place at the College Football Hall of Fame. The venue is conveniently located right next door to the Georgia World Congress Center. More details will be available soon on what is sure to be an enjoyable evening for everyone!

SUR/FIN registration will soon be open at NASFsurfin.com.



CATEGORIES: Business, Events, NASF National


With Trump Regulatory Freeze, NASF Watching New EPA Superfund Clean-Up Rule’s Impact on Surface Finishing

POSTED: January 23, 2017

With the Trump administration’s aggressive focus on regulatory overhaul, one of several dozen issues the NASF has been watching is an otherwise obscure rule for the hardrock mining industry. But in early December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new Superfund cleanup rule that NASF members should watch closely. The new proposal stems from an agency hazardous waste initiative under the Obama Administration that covers surface finishing as well as several other manufacturing sectors.

The latest proposed rule, which industry anticipated throughout 2016, would subject hard rock mining companies to a determination of future cleanup responsibilities and require each company to obtain bonds or insurance or self-assure to cover the cost of that clean up.

This is an important development for NASF members and finishing operations nationwide. A few years ago, EPA listed metal finishing on the list of sectors that would be targeted for what would be new, extremely burdensome requirements under the federal Superfund law that could potentially bankrupt both small and large companies.

NASF Has Advised Dropping Financial Assurance Requirements

NASF has been monitoring the rule’s progress for several years and held discussions with EPA, arguing that the agency’s approach was misguided on several fronts. EPA more recently expanded the metal finishing category to cover more facilities in the larger fabricated metals sector.

Outgoing EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, who heads the federal hazardous waste program, argues that the agency’s approach of requiring a company to secure a bond, letter of credit or other financial assurance mechanisms would lead to more cleanups in the United States.

“This proposed rule, once finalized, would move the financial burden from taxpayers and ensure that industry assumes responsibility for these cleanups,” Stanislaus said. “The proposed rule would also give companies an economic incentive to use environmentally protective practices that can help prevent future releases.”

Mining Industry Shared “Case Study” with NASF Members in Washington

This past year, attendees at the NASF Washington Forum heard from National Mining Association’s Tawny Bridgeford, who highlighted the mining industry’s experience as a “case study.” She noted that the onerous EPA requirements in the pipeline for miners would severely impact surface finishing facilities if the rules weren’t curbed early in the process.

The proposed rule, which was moving to proposal stage in December, formally identified the next group of sectors in the pipeline for financial assurance rules, specifically electric power generation, transmission and distribution, and petroleum and coal products manufacturing.

The agenda of the new Trump administration will clearly have some bearing on the outcome of the mining and other regulations during 2017. Because the agency released its proposal so late in the year, the new temporary regulatory moratorium just announced by the White House over inauguration weekend is expected to delay and possibly derail it. More shortly.



CATEGORIES: Business, Government Relations, International, Law & Regulation
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NASF Launches New Member Partnership with the Automotive Industry Action Group

POSTED: January 23, 2017

Get an advantage with a free membership with AIAG
if you join NASF this year!

In an effort to further strengthen our commitment to providing an advantage for our members, NASF has partnered with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to provide NASF members FREE, unlimited access to knowledge assessments, training, standards and best practices in the areas of quality, materials management & sustainability.

We highly encourage you and your colleagues to familiarize yourselves with AIAG by visiting their website. In fact, we are committed to working with AIAG to shape and guide the automotive industry, and we would like to invite you to work with us to become a member of AIAG. Through NASF’s new member program, AIAG is providing a free membership for most NASF corporate members whose total annual revenue is under $20 million. If you meet these criteria, your AIAG membership is free and will be locked in for five years!

To see if you qualify for free membership, contact NASF Membership Director Matt Martz at mmartz@nasf.org.

Even if you don’t qualify for a sponsored membership, the process improvements you get from using the industry-developed best practices exponentially outweigh the small membership investment. Memberships in AIAG are corporate; when your company joins, everyone in your company is a member and has:

  • FREE and unlimited access to Quality Core Tools e-documents (PPAP, APQP, SPC,MSA, and FMEA) and online training
  • Unlimited access to both practitioner and enterprise knowledge self-assessments, guidance documents, best practices and associated e-Learnings
  • Access to ALL technical committees, work groups and subject matter experts
  • Opportunities to collaborate and build relationships with customers, peers and competitors
  • Member discounts for training, events and networking sessions produced by AIAG

We are excited about NASF’s partnership with AIAG and the advantage it brings to your company.

For more information or an information packet, please contact NASF Membership Director Matthew Martz at mmartz@nasf.org.



CATEGORIES: Business, NASF National


NASF Closely Watching New EPA Superfund Clean Up Rule’s Impact on Surface Finishing

POSTED: December 6, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in early December proposed a new Superfund cleanup rule that NASF members should watch closely. The new proposal stems from an agency hazardous waste initiative under the Obama Administration that covers metal finishing as well as several other manufacturing sectors.

The latest proposed rule, which industry anticipated throughout 2016, would subject hard rock mining companies to a determination of future cleanup responsibilities and require each company to obtain bonds or insurance or self-assure to cover the cost of that clean up.

This is an important development for NASF members and finishing operations nationwide. A few years ago, EPA listed metal finishing on the list of sectors that would be targeted for what would be new, extremely burdensome requirements under the federal Superfund law that could potentially bankrupt both small and large companies.

NASF Has Advised Dropping Financial Assurance Requirements

NASF has been monitoring the rule’s progress for several years and held discussions with EPA, arguing that the agency’s approach was misguided on several fronts. EPA more recently expanded the metal finishing category to cover more facilities in the larger fabricated metals sector.

Outgoing EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, who heads the federal hazardous waste program, argues that the agency’s approach of requiring a company to secure a bond, letter of credit or other financial assurance mechanisms would lead to more cleanups in the U.S.

“This proposed rule, once finalized, would move the financial burden from taxpayers, and ensure that industry assumes responsibility for these cleanups,” Stanislaus said. “The proposed rule would also give companies an economic incentive to use environmentally protective practices that can help prevent future releases.”

Mining Industry Shared “Case Study” with NASF Members in Washington

This past year, attendees at the NASF Washington Forum heard from National Mining Association’s Tawny Bridgeford, who highlighted the mining industry’s experience as a “case study.” She noted that the onerous EPA requirements in the pipeline for miners would severely impact surface finishing facilities if the rules weren’t curbed early in the process.

The proposed rule, which wasn’t yet published in the Federal Register at press time, formally identified the next group of sectors in the pipeline for financial assurance rules, specifically electric power generation, transmission and distribution, petroleum, and coal products manufacturing.

The results of the presidential election, however, clearly will have some bearing on the outcome of the regulations in 2017. Because the agency released its proposal so late in the year, it’s possible that a new EPA under the incoming Trump administration will elect not to make the rule final in the new year.



CATEGORIES: Business, Government Relations, Law & Regulation


NASF Secures EPA Pollution Prevention Grant with National Center for Manufacturing Sciences

POSTED: December 1, 2016

Focus: Advancing Industry Environmental Performance & Sustainability

NASF’s research and training arm, the AESF Foundation, has been awarded a pollution prevention grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The grant proposal was submitted earlier in the year to the agency under the NASF joint partnership with Ann Arbor, Michigan-based National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS).

The new project will focus on evaluating and benchmarking current and emerging industry pollution prevention practices. NCMS and NASF will initially prepare a comprehensive list of pollution prevention options for the industry, develop a survey and audit tools for evaluating pollution prevention options at surface finishing facilities. The project will engage approximately six potential facilities from the Michigan Chapter of NASF to participate in survey and audit phases for the implementation of pollution prevention practices.

NCMS and NASF will then provide training and technical support for implementing pollution prevention options, prepare company case studies on the participating facilities, and incorporate the results of the project into the association’s technical education courses. They will also conduct workshops for the surface finishing industry to promote the implementation of effective pollution prevention practices.

The new project will generate useful information to promote effective pollution prevention practices and further improve the environmental performance of the surface finishing industry. If you have any questions or would like additional information regarding this project, please contact Christian Richter of Jeff Hannapel with NASF at crichter@thepolicygroup.com or jhannapel@thepolicygroup.com.



CATEGORIES: Business, Education, Government Relations, NASF Members, Research


NASF Launches Supplier Business Barometer

POSTED: November 30, 2015

Thank you to all the suppliers who took time from their busy schedules to respond to our Business Barometer survey. NASF through the efforts of its Supplier Committee will be sending out the survey each quarter and look forward to your continued participation.

The survey received responses from a range of suppliers in both product type and size. The majority of the respondents felt that business in North America is either satisfactory (42.3%) or good (38.4%). Respondents said that compared with six months ago, sales in their businesses were growing (46.1%) and no change (38.4%) while 15.3% said that their sales were declining. 61.5% of respondents expect business conditions to be the same six months from now while 38.4% felt they will be better.

Overall, most programs sponsored by NASF ranked well with respect to perceived value to supplier companies. The association has more plans ahead for 2016, including tailoring key programs to the supplier community needs.

We welcome feedback from our finishing supplier community. If someone else in your company should receive these emails, please contact Cheryl Clark (cclark@nasf.org) with the correct contact information.

NASF appreciates our Supplier Committee’s volunteer leadership!

Mike Goralski    Mike.Goralski@Macdermid.com
Molly Kellogg     mkellogg@hubbardhall.com
Curtis Goad       curtis@goadco.com
Jody Richards    jrichards@process-technology.com
Blair Vandivier  bvandivier@asterionstc.com



CATEGORIES: Business, NASF National
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New Studies on Regulations No Surprise: Impact on U.S. Manufacturing and Job Growth is a Problem

POSTED: November 30, 2015

It’s no secret that federal regulations cost money. The latest trove of studies say that lately they’ve been costing the U.S. economy more than 2 trillion dollars a year.  The total cost of environmental health and safety regulations is estimated to be over 420 billion dollars. Over the last decade alone, more than 37,000 federal regulations have been imposed on American citizens and their businesses.  The federal government’s Fall 2015 semiannual Regulatory Agenda released November 20th indicates that the pace of federal regulations has not slowed.

A report just released by the National Association for Manufacturers (NAM), of which NASF is a member, indicates that an average U.S.-based manufacturer pays regulatory costs of approximately $20,000 every year for each employee. Small manufacturers with less than 50 employees paid nearly $35,000 per year per employee just to comply with federal regulations.  Because the finishing industry is one of the most heavily regulated small business sectors, the cost per employee to comply with federal regulations can go even higher.  These issues were highlighted in a recent Presidential debate, but whether the topic will reemerge for the 2016 elections remains to be seen.

Regulation Affects Jobs

The continuous accumulation of rules over the last several decades has not only slowed economic growth but has also reduced employment opportunities.  A recent study by the Mercatus Center summarized how the rapid growth in the number of federal rules has likely hindered the struggling labor market, spotlighting several challenges:

  • Cost Burdens – Regulation adds to costs, increasing prices for regulated goods and services and reducing the final amount bought and sold. As production declines, so does the demand for workers engaged in production.
  • Downstream Impacts – This shrinkage in the size of the market can decrease employment not only in these regulated industries but also in industries downstream that use the now more expensive goods and services.
  • Production to Compliance – More regulation also leads to a shift of workers from production to regulatory compliance jobs, which reduces overall economic efficiency.
  • Losses in Earnings – Even if displaced workers eventually find new employment, they often face permanent losses in lifetime earnings, which can be as high as almost three years of the previous annual income. This is largely due to skill mismatches between the jobs lost and the new jobs created in the economy.

Good Intentions, Cumulative Impacts

Federal regulators often have good intentions when proposing new rules, such as increasing worker safety or protecting the environment, and industry often agrees that a corporate commitment to safety and the environment can go hand in hand with profitability.

Although manufacturers view regulatory compliance as a top business challenge, according to a recent study federal employees believe that manufacturing and environmental regulations spur job increases and economic growth.  Some of this is attributed to projections of growth in the “green economy” and the jobs for consulting services and capital equipment to comply with federal environmental regulations. Unfortunately, federal regulators tend to view each regulation individually, ignoring the rapid buildup of rules and how that regulatory accumulation can harm economic growth

The Mercatus findings also show that some regulation can facilitate innovation in manufacturing processes and can be critical in protecting worker safety, public health and the environment. Nonetheless, U.S. business leaders believe that the current regulatory system is in need of reform and improvement and that manufacturing needs smarter regulations that minimize unnecessary burdens, better balance benefits and costs, and eliminate redundancies wherever possible.  The total costs that manufacturers spend on compliance per year could instead go toward efforts like increasing employee hiring, investing in research and development and reducing prices, all of which would help boost economic competitiveness and support job growth.

The conclusion of these studies shows what the industry has understood for some time now – that policy makers need to understand the tradeoff between the additional benefits of regulation and its potential negative effect on business creation and economic growth. Before promulgating new federal regulations, regulators must carefully consider their consequences.



CATEGORIES: Business, Economy, Law & Regulation


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