Metal finishing is the process of treating the surface of a metal tool or component to improve its appearance and quality. Once the metal part is cut, bent, welded and formed into the required shape and size, the surface is treated to enhance the property and quality of the metal.
Metal finishing is considered a vital part of the fabrication process. Aside from enhancing the overall look of the metal parts, finishing is required to further improve the quality of the finished product. Finishing increases metal’s durability and electrical conductivity. It also provides higher chemical, electrical, corrosion and tarnish resistance.
Here are four common finishing options for metal fabrication projects.
Galvanizing is one of the most widely used metal finishing options. The process involves dipping the metal part into a molten zinc bath. The zinc serves as a protective coating that shields the metal from water, moisture and other elements that may tarnish the metal. Galvanizing is relatively less expensive than other finishing options. It is a quicker process and only takes one day to set, unlike other coatings.
2. Metal Plating
For this option, a metal is used as an outer coating for a different type of metal. Thin layers of metal like nickel, copper, chromium or aluminum are used. Gold, silver and platinum are also used for decorative purposes. Metal plating improves durability, corrosion resistance and the exterior appearance of the metal product.
3. Powder Coating
Powder coating is a dry finishing process commonly considered as a decorative option but is also durable. This finishing option provides a thick, dense finish on a metal part which is longer lasting and more durable than paint. It is also a popular choice due to its environmental advantages.
Anodizing is the process of increasing the corrosion resistance of a metal part by forming a protective aluminum oxide layer on the base material. Though this finishing works on several types of metal, it is most commonly used in aluminum parts. Anodizing increases the metal’s resistance to corrosion and wear.
It is important to consider the end use of the metal parts when choosing a metal finishing for your project. Determine the quality to be prioritized — durability, electrical conductivity, chemical resistance, exterior design and more.
Learn more about the metal finishing options we offer at OK Fab and Machining. Get in touch now!