Bloomberg—The metal finishing industry is facing a crisis in which companies are cutting jobs as they struggle to make the transition to a new industrial process.
That could put the jobs of workers in the industry at risk.
“We can only keep this one going by doing things the right way,” said Matt McGovern, president of Metal Finish Group Inc., which makes metal finishes for car and truck parts.
“It’s not sustainable for the industry to do this and that’s not the best way to do it.”
Metal finishes, which make up about 80 percent of the world’s car parts, were made possible by advances in chemical and mechanical engineering.
But metal finishing, which uses a process known as electrochemical oxidation, has also become a major source of concern.
The process is becoming increasingly expensive and complex as new technology advances, making it difficult for companies to keep up.
Last year, the metal finishing business grew by 11 percent to $14.9 billion, according to data from Autodesk Inc. That compares with the 8 percent growth for the U.S. auto industry.
It also is a boon for smaller companies that can produce the finish at a lower cost.
Some companies are also looking to lower their costs to cut down on labor costs.
Companies that make automotive parts are increasingly using an additive manufacturing process, which is a cheaper, more advanced process for producing metal than traditional metalworking.
Companies can use this cheaper method to make parts with a variety of metals, such as aluminum and titanium.
That means they can make parts for cars, trucks and aircraft, making them cheaper than those made using traditional processes.
Some are even switching to an additive-based process, known as metallurgy, for making parts for automobiles.
That’s a change from metalworking, which typically uses a metal that is a composite of metal components.
“This is the most disruptive technology of the 20th century, and I think it’s going to change the way we work, manufacture and process products,” said Daniel Stutz, vice president of business development for Metal Finish.
Metal finishes are typically made in a small number of plants around the world, but the industry has expanded in recent years due to technological advances in the additive manufacturing industry.
In 2014, the United States became the first country to approve a new additive manufacturing system, called NextGen, that could cut the cost of manufacturing metal parts by half or more, according a 2014 study by the Association of American Metalworkers.
The cost reduction could also help the industry expand beyond its current markets.
The United States is expected to be the largest metal-finishing market in the world by 2020, according the International Metal Finishing Industry Association.
The industry employs about 7 million people worldwide, according its website.
Metalfinishing.com, a company that makes metal finishing for the automotive industry, estimates that the number of jobs lost to the additive process is between 1,600 and 3,600 per year.
“The metal finish industry will be losing an estimated 30 to 50 percent of its workforce over the next five years,” the company said in a statement.
The additive process, according To make the process more affordable and less complex, the industry is shifting from using metal-working machines to machines that can process metal in a similar manner to traditional metalwork.
It uses a technique known as the electron beam lithography, or EBL.
EBL uses a laser to cut metal into pieces, which are then combined to make an alloy.
Metal finishing is a technology that has been used in a variety and shapes since the 1800s, but EBL is the first step in making a metal part, according Metalfinish.com.
This new process makes it more economical and more complex to produce a metal finish, said James A. Zukos, chief executive officer of metalfinishing, which makes an additive that is made from a mix of metals.
EML is a chemical process that has allowed the metal finish process to take off, Zukus said.
“EML is the new gold standard,” he said.
The metal finish business is expected grow by 15 percent this year, according Automotive News.
“At a time when the automotive world needs to focus on innovation, this is one of the most promising opportunities,” said James D. Czarnkowski, chairman and CEO of the Association for Automotive Technology.
“With the current pace of innovation, the additive technology will continue to be a major driver of growth.”
In 2016, the U,S.
and Canada all approved the use of additive manufacturing.
That meant the metal finisher industry had to find a new process to meet U.K. government guidelines that require a minimum of 20 percent of products to be made in-house.
“There is a lot of debate about additive manufacturing,” said Michael Cavanagh, president and CEO at Automotive Industry Association, which represents the metalfinish industry.
“What we do know is that it has created a tremendous amount of value in the