Pace Profile: JEL Finishing

Bryan Heil
General Manager, JEL Finishing

From painting wheels for Henry Ford to painting computers for Digital Equipment to finishing castings for Pace Industries Cambridge Division, JEL Finishing, a company with over 85 years of experience, has become known as the “Finishing Specialist.”

JEL is known for its quality work and solutions in chromating, phosphating, wet painting, robotic electrostatic painting, silk screening, pad printing, stenciling as well as multiple automated powder coat systems. They are the authority on finishing aluminum parts, notably die castings.

JEL, which stands for JapEnameLac, started as a finisher in the late 20’s as Nye’s JapEnameLac. Nye is short for Nylander, the family that started the company and ran it for two generations. JapEnameLac is a mash up of terms: Jap for Japanning, Enamel for enameling and Lac for lacquering. Although enameling and lacquering are commonly known terms and processes, many people often ask what Japanning is.

The process of Japanning originated in the 18th century when gloss black finishes were applied to emulate the lacquer work of the Japanese.  Ironware was typically japanned black for decorative purposes, but it also rendered the ironware rustproof, making it capable of carrying water. When the company was founded, Japanning was a process for obtaining a baked on gloss black finish, typically used on early coaches. The Nylanders actually japanned the wheels for Model A Fords.


  • Chromating ( Hexavalent and RoHS compliant Trivalent)
  • Zinc Phosphating
  • Powder Coating, Wet Paint, Electrostatic Robotic Painting
  • Parts up to 11 feet long
  • PVDF and PTFE Coatings
  • Silk Screening, Pad Printing and Stenciling
  • Electro-mechanical Component Assembly w/ Hardware Management
  • Full Product Assembly
  • Sandblasting
  • Custom Masking
Example of Japanning
Example of Japanning
Henry Ford in a Model A Ford
Henry Ford in a Model A Ford

In the 80’s, when the company was sold, the Nye’s name was dropped; JapEnameLac was shortened to JEL and completed to what there is today, JEL Finishing.

Industries Served

  • Government
  • Military and Defense
  • Medical
  • Aerospace
  • Technology
  • Steel and Aluminum Manufacturing
  • Machine Shops
  • Automotive Manufacturing
  • Motorcycle Manufacturing
  • Telecommunication
  • Architectural Components
  • General Industrial
  • Marine
  • Electrical components
  • Casting Manufacturing
  • Audio Manufacturing

Throughout the company’s history and all of the many projects, JEL is proud of every piece of work they put out. A few notable projects JEL has worked on is the powdering and painting of parts to support American troops during the Iraqi conflict several years ago. JEL was tasked by the Army to finish reactive armor for Abram Tanks and parts for the netting system that QinetiQ developed to stop RPGs from killing troops in their lightly armored vehicles. But, you might also notice some of JEL’s projects everyday – the white satellite tracking dome on the back of tractors going down the highway, JEL painted every one of them for Qualcomm.  When a helicopter flies overhead, if a Flir infrared camera is attached to it, JEL was responsible for painting it.  And not to drop names, but if you go to Fenway Park, you may see some tables and stools JEL powder coated for the Red Sox.

JEL Finishing’s most recent and outstanding accomplishments was being named one of the best finishing shops in North America, according to an industry benchmarking survey conducted by Products Finishing magazine, a trade publication which has covered the industry since 1938.

JEL’s quality, customer service and technical expertise make them stand apart from other job shop finishers.  The fact that they are integrated with in-house pretreatments such as blasting, chromating and zinc phosphating, can painting or powder coating small and large jobs, assembling hardware and also offer expert masking and printing services sets them apart from others. They are a solution provider offering a wide array of capabilities and services. They preach and practice safety first and respect and value every associate.  JEL’s associates are their best assets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *