Advanced Nitriding Solutions (ANS) was founded in 2006 by Mariann Dickman with a goal of providing additional nitriding capacity for the North American market. Mission accomplished.

Dickman, who also owns industrial degreasing company Modern Chemical Inc., was looking to invest in a progressive manufacturing technology with growth potential. Research coupled with input from Modern Chemical customers showed that U.S. – at the time – was lagging behind Europe in the use of nitriding. This was primarily due to the lack of nitriding service availability.

ANS’s emphasis from the very beginning, as indicated by the company name, was to be a solution provider. Among the variety of available nitriding services in the U.S., plasma was the most progressive, but it was scarce and underutilized. The Batesville, Ind.-based company’s early years focused on providing plasma nitriding.

Today, eight years after this MTI member first opened its doors, ANS now serves a variety of customers in the mining, construction, oil and gas, automotive and aerospace industries. ANS’s services have expanded to include plasma/ion nitriding, ion implantation, gas nitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing and black oxide. The company’s customer base has now extended outside of North America.

ANS contributes its success to a strict focus on excelling at one thing – nitriding. The company’s nitriding furnaces can handle parts up to 60 inches in diameter and 115 inches in length. The plasma nitriding furnaces are equipped with hot wall technology, multi-zone temperature control capability and pulse plasma. They also utilize AC power supply. Theses furnaces are capable of nitriding at as low as 480°C (896°F). Their ability to control white layer – to the point where the white layer is non-existent – has been particularly beneficial to the aerospace industry, as most specifications call out for removal of white layer after nitriding.

ANS, however, does more than just nitriding. The company’s in-house metallurgical lab is fully equipped to perform automated microhardness testing in accordance with industry standard. The lab is a key component to ANS’s ISO/TS: 16949:2009 certification, Nadcap accreditation and CQI-9 compliance.

In addition to having a female founder and CEO, one of the unique things that set ANS apart from the competition is its ability to capitalize on technology. All of the company’s furnaces are automated with PC controllers. The process controllers allow for several safeguards and alarms to protect parts during processing. Real-time data-logging capability on the PC permits staff members to monitor and remotely control all furnace parameters – including power consumption, part temperatures, wall temperatures, furnace pressure and gas flow – in real time via network using any communication device (PC, laptop, tablet or cellphone).

The data log of each furnace automatically stored on ANS’s network is a technical resource that can be used for developing nitriding programs for new projects. The PC controller also allows continuous 24/7 processing on the dual-based furnaces without off-shift staffing. With only 12 employees (including the office staff), the company’s vison to invest in technology from the beginning and driving innovation through application has proven to be the right decision.

And ANS is not done investing in technology. In October 2015, the company increased its plasma nitriding capacity by 50% with the addition of new equipment. A new gas nitriding furnace will be installed in the first quarter of 2016 to increase gas nitriding capacity. ANS can also plan for future expansion because its 31,000-square-foot, custom-built facility has ample space for growth. The environmentally safe operation, which is conveniently located between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, produces zero industrial waste that requires treatment.

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