Metal finishing is a means through which a company can improve or enhance the base qualities of the substrate. Finishing companies have developed a variety of ways to accomplish this. They utilize their technology and expertise to provide components and units with certain qualities. In doing so, they help manufacturers in Minnesota and elsewhere provide consumers with products that will at least match the stringent standards set by various organizations, including ASTM and MIL.
The application of another metal on a substrate metal has one major aim – to improve the final product. The choice of substrate and the overlaying metal will effect which qualities will result. In general, however, applying a metal overlay to the substrate surface or even the intermediary layer is to imbue the substrate and, hence the entire component with any or all of the following characteristics.
- Improved durability
- Enhanced decorative appeal
- Increased electrical conductivity
- Improve surface friction characteristics either up or down
- Greater electrical resistance
- Higher chemical resistance
- Better tarnish resistance
- Potential for vulcanization
These are the reasons manufacturers turn to metal finishers. The process also allows the manufacturers to create a component in a less expensive base metal. They know that the finishing process will provide the necessary qualities to make their product better and highly functional in a cost-effective manner.
Metal Finishing Techniques and Processes
When it comes to making sure the item is “finished” properly, finishing companies can draw on a variety of techniques. The choice of technique and process depends upon several factors including the metals involved (both surface and substrate), the intended use of the item, the amount to be finished, the time available and the preferences of the manufacturer. The most common forms of finishing techniques common in states such as Minnesota, are:
- Metal Plating: Both electroplating and electroless plating forms alter the surface of a substrate. Both rely on a chemical bath to abet the coating process. Common coating metals include nickel, gold and silver. They differ in one major way. Electroplating requires an electric current; the electroless plating method utilizes an autocatalytic process.
- Powder Coating: Powder coating provides a coating that improves durability and corrosion resistance. It is also very decorative.
Other methods may focus on grinding, mass finishing using a centrifugal barrel or buff polishing.
The process of preparing a product for market today involves more than it has in the past. Newer techniques and improved technology combines to ensure the high demands of clients are met. Manufacturers in Minnesota and in other states across the country now turn to metal finishing companies to reduce costs while making sure the level of quality remains high.