Weave Got Maille, a chainmaille supply manufacturer based in Ada, Minnesota, has launched the first anodizing plant in the Red River Valley region. The plant opened last week as a separate company called Premier Anodizing, and will cater to local manufacturing companies.
Edie Ramstad, founder of the two companies and a goldsmith by trade, said opening the anodizing plant was a natural next step for expanding the capabilities of Weave Got Maille. The company is in high-growth mode, including creating chainmaille for Game of Thrones and an upcoming Marvel superhero film.
But when it came to the anodizing process, which colors and coats the metals with a protective layer, things were difficult, Ramstad said.
“The closest job shops are in the Twin Cities or Chicago,” she said. “We couldn’t get consistency, and we couldn’t get our product back on time. Then when we did, the quality was terrible.”
After eight months of working this way with Weave Got Maille, Ramstad took matters into her own hands in February of 2015. Weave Got Maille recently moved facilities into a larger building, and Ramstad began setting up the equipment for Premier Anodizing in an adjacent warehouse.
“At first we were going to do small tanks, big enough to do what we do,” she said. “But as I realized there wasn’t anything around here, that’s when we decided to make it a job shop and go with bigger tanks.”
The tanks at Premier Anodizing can handle anything up to 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft, Ramstad said. Already they have had a few customers who came to anodize gun parts and car wheels.
“Our customers are anyone who works with aluminum or any metal; people restoring cars, building bicycles or motorcycles, and most manufacturing companies,” she said.
Premier Anodizing opened up for business last week. Dean Knutson, Ramstad’s business partner, will head up Premier Anodizing as Ramstad continues to oversee the two companies.
The anodizing process coats the metals with a protective oxide layer through an electrolytic process. It makes it harder, Ramstad said, and more sturdy. The coloring effects can be seen on everything from knitting needles, to bike spokes, to colored house keys, she said.
At Premier Anodizing, they can anodize titanium, aluminum and niobium and create 36 different colors, with blended colors as well. They also do E-coating, or electro-coating, which works for all metals, Ramstad added.
In a matter of minutes, the process can transform a plain metal color to a vibrant shiny hue – depending on the level of electricity. Ramstad demonstrated here how the dirty colored titanium is turned into a pretty purple:
Anodizing in Ada
For Ada, which has a population of 1,647, the new plant will bring more high-paying jobs and new business, Ramstad said.
“We also used local contractors for the heating, electrical, pipe fitting and plumbing. All of which were fairly large projects,” she added. “Plus many of Premier Anodizing customers will come in person to drop their products off. Hopefully they will stop and eat in Ada or purchase gas – all adding to the Ada economy.”
While Ramstad has spoken of bringing Weave Got Maille closer to Fargo, she said for now with the new facilities they are planning to stay put in Ada. With all the activity going on, they still haven’t had time to fully settle into the new place.
“We still aren’t completely unpacked from this move!” she said.
Rates for anodizing pieces depends on the size and quantity of the items, Ramstad said.
For more information on Premier Anodizing, call 218-309-7257.
Come and hear more about Premier Anodizing this week, Feb. 17 at 1 Million Cups Fargo! Join us at 9:15 AM at the Stage at Island Park.
Photos by Marisa Jackels.