Joe Shean, President and CEO
A couple of years ago, Joe Shean, the owner of RP Abrasives, received a call from a customer: “We were wondering if your company could give an excellent finishing for our products?” When Shean asked them what kind of finishing they were looking for, he got an ambiguous response, “We are not certain what exactly we want for our products.” Intrigued by their unusual request, Shean asked the client to send over several samples. Backed by his team highly experienced in deburring and mechanical surface finishing, RP Abrasives analyzed the products meticulously, prepared three different finishes for them, and sent them back to the client. The client was thrilled by the outcome. They found exactly what they were looking for, and decided to go with the finishing option that went best with their products.
This was five years ago. Since then, RP Abrasives has firmly cemented its position as one of the best surface finish providers in the country, assisting numerous such clients in such markets as Medical and Surgical products plus Defence and Aerospace products in taking their products to perfection and helping them in their subsequent future developments. Be it deburring, bead blasting, tumbling, polishing, or buffing, RP Abrasives caters to diverse requirements of its clients and works with them to develop a process that meets or exceeds their goals. “The finishes we provide for the clients have allowed them to expand their market share dramatically and even move production from Europe to the United States,” says Shean, who is also the president and CEO at RP Abrasives.
Since its inception in 1996, RP Abrasives has evolved its processes through long-standing partnerships with leading organizations, including a long-term contract with a defense company to provide surface finishing for their new weapon system parts. Today, the company has mastered the art of metal finishing and specializes in providing precise, smooth, uniform surfaces, or even rough finishes for specific applications, according to customers’ demands. In addition, RP Abrasives offers edge rounding with chamfering, most of which are mechanical processes, including burr removal, passivation of stainless steel (and occasionally titanium) to make metal parts more resistant to staining and rusting.
For a better understanding of their approach, Shean guides us through the various processes leveraged by his company. RP Abrasives uses 18 machines to perform bead blasting to give the metal parts a uniform surface texture.
Furthermore, the company utilizes different types of tumbling such as vibratory tumbling (usually done using nine wet and seven dry machines) and high energy centrifugal tumbling (using five machines) to polish small rough parts en masse. Shean adds, “We conduct these processes every day and are thereby well-versed with the intricacies involved. We modulate our approach depending on the parts–performing surface finish, edge rounding, and deburring at a single time, or doing the same step-by-step.”
We modulate our approach depending on the parts– performing surface finish, edge rounding, and deburring at a single time, or doing the same step-by-step
For the passivation process, RP Abrasives follows the most stringent industry standards, including ASTMA380, ASTMA967, ASTM B600, and AMS 2700 for Aerospace. The B600 standard is used for titanium in medical applications. Furthermore, the company uses ultrasonic vibrations when passivating parts to enhance quality. In essence, RP Abrasives strives to offer superiorquality products to its customers. “Our quality system is audited, approved, and registered as ISO 9001:2015. We have a management team with a combined experience of over 88 years that sets us apart from our competitors,” remarks Shean. Besides, the firm ensures compliance with the National Institute of Standard Testing (NIST) 800-171 recommendations, thus facilitating complete security for all its Department of Defence work.
RP Abrasives has positioned itself at the helm of the surface finishing sector through its constant effort to develop processes that fit their client needs. With a sprawling factory space of over 16,000 square feet harboring multiple machines, the company offers robust backup while finishing their customers’ products. The enormous surge capacity allows the customers to ramp up quickly if need be. Additionally, RP Abrasives focuses on repeatability, ensuring it consistently makes relevant parts that will continue to add the same value and have the same finish over time. Moreover, the company’s green business practices add a feather to its numerous differentiating factors. From on-site hydroelectricity generation to support the company’s infrastructure to using high efficiency LED lights, RP Abrasives is squarely focused on addressing the need to have a sustainable environment. Besides, RP Abrasives also takes pride in having the lowest turn-over with employees working for the firm for a really long time.
RP Abrasives’ state-of-the-art surface finishing capabilities indeed fuel the company’s continued growth. However, Shean is quick to admit that the critical factor that sets the company apart is his skilled team and its rich expertise. RP Abrasives’ determined workforce strives to reach new heights in the finishing sector every day, enabling clients to derive significant value from its offerings and achieve consistent market growth. From its headquarters in New Hampshire, RP Abrasives is set to expand its customer base across Colorado, Texas, California, and other states. “We are working hard to invest in the business and grow our reach in the upcoming years,” concludes Shean.