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'Virtual' Center Will Provide Environmental Assistance To Metal Finishers

The National Metal Finishing Resource Center is now open for business on the World Wide Web to help metal finishers adopt environmentally sound manufacturing practices, the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology announced today.

Located at the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences' facility in Ann Arbor, Mich., the center will help metal finishers, in particular smaller manufacturers, prevent pollution. The NMFRC, which has been operating on a pilot basis for several months, offers users a variety of services, including information on environmental regulations and compliance, performance and cost comparisons of various technology options, and information on vendors providing environmental products and assistance. The center also allows users to post questions to other subscribers and query its in-house staff. In addition, the NMFRC offers technical information and assistance on other metal finishing questions.

Since 98 percent of the nation's metal finishing shops employ fewer than 100 employees, NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership will play a key role in linking the NMFRC's resources to these companies. With affiliates in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the MEP is a nationwide system of services and support for smaller manufacturers giving them unprecedented access to new technologies, resources and expertise.

Smaller manufacturers and others can access the NMFRC on the World Wide Web at or can call 1-800-AT-NMFRC. Through fees for service and listing vendors, the center is expected to be self-supporting after three years.

Partners in this project include NIST's MEP and its nationwide network of affiliates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the National Association of Metal Finishers, the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society, the Metal Finishing Suppliers' Association and the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

The NMFRC was first announced by NIST in June 1995. Funding to initiate the center included $650,000 from EPA, $100,000 from NIST and over $900,000 in funds and other resources from the manufacturing and metal finishing industry groups mentioned above.

During the past several years, NIST has worked in conjunction with EPA and other organizations to initiate a number of activities aimed at helping smaller manufacturers use more efficient technologies and better management techniques to reduce or eliminate sources of pollution in their operations. For example, NIST MEP centers are integrating environmentally focused technical assistance into the broader services they provide to help smaller manufacturers find, access and implement technologies or techniques that will enable them to be both environmentally sound and competitive.

The NMFRC is one of six national assistance centers for industry and is part of President Clinton's Environmental Technologies Initiative. EPA also is forming national assistance centers for small farms, auto repair shops, the printing industry, printed wiring board manufacturers and batch chemical processors.

A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released October 21, 1996, Updated November 27, 2017