Metal Finishing

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The term metal finishing refers to more than just powder coating and includes processes such as electroplating and anodizing. The first of these uses a process known as electrolysis to coat metal parts with additional metal layers. While electroplating has many benefits (nearly any metal part may be electroplated), it is also a chemical-based process that exacts a costly environmental toll.

Anodizing, on the other hand, is a method of metal finishing that leaves a layer of oxide on metals and alloys (combinations of metals). Here, the part in question is made the anode, or positively charged electrode. In an electrolytic cell, this is the terminal that receives the charge and is thus coated or plated. A lot of electroplating shops have anodizing lines, though not all anodizers are capable of more complex electro-finishing techniques.

The Advantage of Powder Coating over Other Metal Finishing Strategies

The most obvious advantage of powder coating over alternative methods of coating is its "cleanliness." While electroplating can leave behind byproducts such as "sludge," the same material left over after sewage-treatment, powder coating uses no chemicals and thus poses a much lower ecological risk. Not only does this preserve the air we breathe and the water we drink, but it also saves customers money by reducing the costs powder coaters must pay for waste treatment and removal.

Powder coating is also superior to chemical processes that don't allow for color flexibility. A powder coater can combine literally dozens of shades and hues to create entirely new ones that are custom-blended to match your part's existing colors. If a mixture is deemed too light or too dark, it can always be modified by the addition of one color or another until the proportions are just right.

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