5 popular finishing options available for aluminum parts
Aluminum profiles are formed into various cross-sectional shapes by extrusion， and used in different industries as parts or components. Aluminum profiles often require surface treatment for better physical properties. Common surface treatment processes in industrial applications include anodizing, polishing, sandblasting, powder coating, and electroplating. Because different surface treatment processes have distinct advantages and disadvantages, which also determines that the industries and environments they can be applied to are also various. This article introduces several common surface treatments and their specific applications to all readers.
Aluminum is a metal that is resilient, lightweight, and weather-resistant. These characteristics allow it to be used in various industrial applications like construction, automotive, and aerospace. However, Aluminum has more limitations than some other metals regarding corrosion resistance.
Anodizing is a process that allows manufacturers of aluminum extrusions parts to add an oxide layer on the surface of the aluminum product, thereby providing additional protection against corrosion. Adding anodizing enhances the lifespan of aluminum extrusion parts and extends their service life by up to 50%.
One of the most common Aluminum anodizing methods is Aluminum hard anodizing. Hard anodizing adds a thick layer of aluminum oxide (AlO) on top of the surface, which results in a much more rigid surface. The maximum thickness of the anodic oxide film produced by this process can reach about 250 microns.
Anodization can also add colors otherwise unavailable in metallic coatings. It’s to paint the aluminum extrusion parts with translucent colors by dipping them into organic dyes before they are sealed in an acid bath as part of the finishing process.
Polishing refers to polishing the surface of the aluminum extrusion profile to create a refined luster of polishing. The surface of aluminum profiles has to be processed evenly and smoothly. The main idea is to make the surface as smooth as possible, and the polished luster makes it more refined than the normal one. If there are some defects on the surface, they will also be removed by the polishing process.
Achieving a high-quality polish on extruded aluminum profiles often depends on selecting the correct type of abrasive material that can promptly remove scratches and other defects while still supporting average production speeds.
Polished aluminum profiles are characterized by a mirror-like surface and can be processed in various shapes depending on customer requirements.
Polished aluminum extrusion profiles are usually used in furniture production and other architectural designs because they provide a sleek finish that’s not easily scratched or broken compared to those with rough surfaces.
Sandblasting is a process of using high-velocity airborne particles to break up surface material and create a uniformly rough texture on the surface of aluminum parts. To get the desired effect, sandblasting requires an abrasive material like glass sands or steel sands. The sand will be blown through a nozzle at high velocity by compressed air – creating the desired texture on the surface of the aluminum extrusion parts.
The advantage of sandblasting is that it not only overcomes the common defects of most aluminum surfaces but also improves the workpiece’s mechanical properties and fatigue resistance. Sandblasting also increases the adhesion between the aluminum profile and the coating, extending the durability of the oxide film.
Industrial sandblasting can make the aluminum extrusion parts easy to paint or coat. And it also improves material quality and reduces production costs.
Aluminum powder coating
Powder coating is a thermoplastic powder dispersed in a dry state, usually via an electrostatic spray method, and then cured in an oven to produce a tough hard film.
The powder coating forms the top layer of protective coatings on aluminum extrusions. It provides color, texture, and corrosion resistance to the surface. The first step in powder coating aluminum is to degrease the surface with a solvent to remove any oil or dirt from the original finish. This step could ensure that every layer of color will adhere well. Then you apply some primer onto the aluminum parts, followed by more primer and at least two layers of full-strength paint to have good durability.
It is a prevalent and cost-effective form of corrosion prevention. The powder coats are usually a combination of materials such as inorganic pigments, organic solvents, dispersants, adhesion promoters, and flow control agents.
When applying powder coatings to aluminum extrusions, the coating should be formulated with an appropriate mix of pigments to achieve desired color and corrosion resistance properties.
Electroplating is to add on the surface of aluminum metal with a thin layer of some other metal, used to protect aluminum surfaces against corrosion or wear by making them very hard and durable.
When performed on aluminum extrusion, the electroplating aids its durability in industrial applications like making aluminum parts that need to withstand high stress, abrasion, wear, and weathering. It can produce a mirror-like finish for decorative purposes or protection against wear in harsh environments such as chemical plants.
Electroplate surfaces are excellent because they are uniform and corrosion-resistant. And these coatings can provide a variety of colors and textures that help the product look more attractive to the customer’s eye, to make it easier for them to choose a product from the market.
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Aluminum extrusion parts are used in many industries, and their designs must be perfect since they’re exposed to the public eye. If you want to customize aluminum extrusions, you need to know what options can be done on them and their differences.
Our experienced and skilled operations team would provide you with various finish options such as anodizing, powder coating, sandblasting, polishing, and electroplating.
Contact us today, and our team will help you find the perfect finishing solution for your custom aluminum extrusions. We would be more than happy to provide you with a solution that is tailored to your needs and expectations.