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Camaco expanding business to comply with Ford Motor Company

September 27, 2018

Camaco isn’t a business that deals with manufacturing a variety of automobile parts and accessories.

For the Columbus company, fabricating custom seat frames for a variety of global car businesses has been the name of the game since opening its local operation in 1965.

Positioned on the far east side of town tucked away just off of a heavily traveled stretch of U.S. Highway 30, the company goes about its business on a daily basis providing frames for automobile industry leaders like Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company and Chrysler.

But recently, Camaco officially broke ground on a new structure being added on to the plant’s east side that will play an integral role with a new E-Coating process being implemented for its line of seat frames being installed in the 2019 Ford Explorer.

The 30x140-foot expansion will house a large oven system that the E-coated frames will travel through to produce a final product. The technique, required by Ford Motor Company in its terms of agreement with its Explorer line, is a process where a metal part is immersed in a water-based solution containing a paint emulsion. An electric voltage is applied to the part causing the paint emulsion to condense onto the part.

This process will move Camaco – at least working with Ford – away from using a traditional powder coating method on its frames. This method requires the application of free-flowing, dry powder which ultimately provides protection to the fabricated metal.

“If you don’t paint it, it’s going to rust. And that rust will deteriorate the structure of the frame,” said human resource manager Bryan Ternus. “... Powder coating is good technology, but it’s just that E-coating puts more consistent coverage on the part, whereas the powder coat is done through automated guns and sometimes even manually painted. So you don’t always get the same consistency in your coating coverage.”

The entire new system, he said, will add about 10 new employees up front to handle the Ford Explorer line of seating frames. Completing E-coating for Ford Explorer models is slated to continue for at least the next seven to 10 years, he said.

The construction project, being completed by B-D Construction Inc. in Columbus, is anticipated to take approximately four months. Chris Langan, vice president of the construction firm, said that a 10-15 person crew will complete the majority of the construction.

“This is definitely big for Camaco because they haven’t done a building expansion in 10 years, which we did, too,” Langan said. “It’s an accelerated project, and it’s also a Behlen (Manufacturing) structure.”

Langan added that this year the company has been especially busy with local projects. B-D Construction, he said, is contracted for various jobs all throughout the Midwest.

Camaco, Ternus said, is contracted through Ford to produce E-coated frames for the second row of all its 2019 Explorers. Its sister company operating out of Lorain, Ohio, is contracted to fabricate seating for the Explorers’ third row.

“So if they are driving an Explorer, they (residents) can know that that was made right here in Columbus,” Ternus said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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