History of Wear-Cote International, Inc.

WCI was founded in February 1946 in Albert Lea, Minnesota as Albert Lea Electro Plating, Inc. to provide a wide variety of plating and machine shop services. As the company grew, possibilities of utilizing a new technology discovered by the US government of electroless nickel as a plating medium in industrial applications were developed. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, WCI developed the proper commercial chemistry and production processes to be used by industry and was one of the first 10 shops in the US to do so. 3 US Patents were eventually issued to WCI for the proprietary electroless nickel solutions and deposition methods developed by the company. Ways of increasing the hardness and lubricity of electroless nickel were developed, and Wear-Cote pioneered the post-bake heat treatment of ferrous metals to attain Rockwell hardness measurements of up to 70 Rc.

WCI began doing a considerable amount of work with foundries in the 1960’s, and with John Deere Foundry® in particular. The relationship between WCI and John Deere® became so close, the founder of WCI decided to relocate the company to its present 14,000 square foot facility in Rock Island, IL in 1972 to better service its largest customer. WCI and John Deere Foundries® worked on processes of plating foundry pattern, and WCI patented the method used by JDF in 1978 and licensed the technology to them. The application of electroless nickel to various commercial applications grew during the 1970’s and beyond.

Additionally, WCI expanded into Europe and Asia, licensing its technology to shops in those regions. WCI began doing work for the US military, NASA, food equipment manufacturers, automotive, agricultural and construction, and other industries. WCI maintains its close relationship with steady customers it has had since the 1970’s!

Recently in 2016, the Henry family retired and sold WCI to Great River Industries, Inc as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The family remains as consultants and advisors to WCI, but the Henry’s original values of; high quality, low cost, technology innovation, and on-time delivery remain as our core values today.

Wear-Cote International, Inc. Customer Testimonials

Anyone can brag on themselves, but we let over 40 years of customer testimonials do it for us. See their quotes and letters in this section: