What Metal Finishing Option Is Best For You?
The quality of any metal product is only as good as its finish. When you decide what finish to use on your company’s products, you must consider the longevity and efficacy of the different options, and also how your product is used.
Another factor to be considered when deciding which finish your product requires is how the machine parts that stamped it (molds, tools, and dies) were themselves finished. There are also different appropriate finishes for these surfaces, which is why there are a range of coating and finishing solutions for metal surfaces of molds, tools, and dies.
Among the finishing techniques commonly used are electroplating and anodizing. There are many varieties of anodized finishes you can choose from to protect your metal items from corrosion and enhance paint adhesion. Electroplating offers your metal surfaces high thermal resistance, among other benefits. Make sure you consider all the options for how you can finish your products.
Medical Devices and Products: Electropolishing
If you’re in the medical supplies sector, you need to know your products will hold up to the strictest sanitation standards. Medical devices used both internally and externally need to be free of any defects. Hip and other joint replacement implants all have metal parts, as do pacemakers, defibrillators and other cardiovascular implants.
All internal metal implants must pass thorough biocompatibility testing and receive multiple certifications, often including matching ISO 13485 standards. Such standards ensure that these instruments and implants don’t have any rough areas that can harbor pathogens.
To attain these standards, manufacturers will finish medical devices through the process of electropolishing. Other techniques, like passivation and electroplating, cannot achieve a sufficient precision level and can produce a flaky surface that will present a risk of infection to patients.
Automotive Manufacturing: Trivalent Chrome
Trivalent chrome metal finishing is commonly applied to both engine and body parts. In the past, many automotive manufacturers have used all kinds of plating to finish metals, with a few different methods vying for the top spot. Today, however, more manufacturers are leaning towards trivalent chrome plating. This method produces bright, aesthetically pleasing parts that offer a high level of heat and weather resistance in an environmentally friendly way.
You can have your trivalent chrome finish done using sulfate systems or chloride electrolytes. The former produces a bright, eye-catching surface, while the latter is made darker by additives used to catalyze the plating process. Parts finished with chloride stand up better to corrosion.
Aerospace Manufacturing: Gold Plating
As you can imagine, parts designed to rocket through the air must be able to withstand extreme conditions. Exterior metal surfaces will need to have a high level of resistance to friction and corrosion. Few other finishes can provide you with these qualities the way gold plating can.
Gold is known for its durability and hardiness. These qualities make it ideal for resisting the extreme temperatures to which aerospace crafts and equipment are often exposed. It will also make your electrical components better able to resist contact while still conducting current optimally. Gold-plated electrical parts are also easier to solder.
Kitchen and Cooking Appliances: Physical Vapor Deposition
When it comes to kitchen appliances, the aim is generally to create aesthetically-pleasing products that stand up well to heat and are easy to keep clean. Since you’re in the consumer products space, you will want a metal finish to achieve these goals without too high a price tag. And since you’ll be dealing with consumers with varying tastes, you will want finishes that can be made available in a variety of designs and colors.
Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) finishes come closest to offering the ideal combination of these characteristics. You can have either a metal or ceramic PVD finish. Whichever variation of the finish your appliance has, you can be sure of being able to offer your customers an array of appealing options. PVD-finished products are also highly durable, meaning you’ll be able to offer your customers a lifetime warranty.
Technology: Physical Vapor Deposition
Do you manufacture game consoles, computers, or computer accessories? These products require metal finishes that enable them to receive and conduct communication signals effectively. Your ideal finish will allow you to match your aesthetic ethos and keep your tech working well without putting your products’ pricing beyond your consumer base’s budget.
PVD finishes allow you to create products with all these qualities, alongside some unique chemical and mechanical properties. The beauty of the PVD finish is that it’s highly adaptable to suit a variety of applications.
Metal Finishing Solutions That Make the Right Impression
As you think about which finish to use for your products, you should also consider how quickly each option can be applied, how well it matches your budget, and how suitable it will be to the product’s purpose and life.
At the same time, you also have to keep in mind how your decision will ultimately impact the end-user. Making the right choice can be the difference between losing a consumer after one purchase and gaining a loyal customer.