It may sound cliche, but it is true that prevention is better than cure. This is true of any manufacturing, especially in the metal stamping industry. Metals are subject to wear, corrosion, environmental hazards, etc. Multiple processes in stamping help minimize these potential metal failures -- one of which is metal finish or metal finishing, which can provide further metal protection.
It is beneficial and essential for us to understand its application to metals, depending on their causticity, potential exposure, etc. In the long run, surface treatment can save us more money and less production time. In this paper, the importance, advantages and common types of metal surface treatment will be discussed.
What is metal finish?
Metal finish is the creation and application of a layer or physical barrier to protect the metal before coating occurs. This process includes metal cleaning, deburring, polishing, etc. It can not only increase the structural integrity of the metal, but also aesthetically enhance these Deep Draw Stamping parts or assemblies.
But of course, there are some factors to consider when performing metal finishes - such as speed of production, cost effectiveness and metal durability. You must ensure that everything is aligned with the company's goals and the application of metal parts. This is why careful planning from the beginning of metal stamping production to surface treatment is recommended.
To keep you learning, here are the steps for metal finishing:
First, you need to clean the surface from the stamping compound and the grinding oil.
Then, apply an organic or inorganic sealer.
Rinse with water by deionizing.
Finally, to remove moisture, you can place it in the oven or dry it.
Why should metal be surface treated?
The production and design of precision metal stamping parts is very important. Therefore, it is necessary to plan surface treatment options. This process increases the life of the metal -- making it even more important for use in other industries. In addition, it can extend your company because you know you are providing quality stampings.
In addition to the above, there are many reasons why we should surface metal, which are worth knowing:
Corrosion Resistance - A metal that does not rust is a good sign of a reliable material suitable for any application. The stamping must have high resistance to galvanic, pitting and crevice corrosion.
Improve appearance - Finish to make metal more pleasing and aesthetically balanced, used for decorative purposes. It can be matte or shiny, embossed or plain, etc.
Improves durability - As mentioned earlier, it can extend the life of the metal. It hardens the surface of parts, which is needed to produce stamping parts for medical equipment, building materials and auto parts.
Enhanced electrical properties, resistance to discoloration and chemical resistance - these benefits provide an impeccable advantage in increasing the value of the metal.
Which industries use metal finishes?
Almost everything we see, use, and build is the product of surface treatment of metal stampings for entire equipment parts. Companies like industrial electronics, medical, industrial, aerospace, communications and others use this process to improve their tools, items and equipment.
For example, in the electronics industry, we use it for LIDS, connectors, sensors, shelves, etc., which you can see in mobile phones, computers, and appliances. In the medical field, we surface treat stamping parts of laboratory equipment, such as equipment pumps, monitors, surgical equipment, etc.
The list goes on because our age today relies heavily on service and process and hardware stamping to produce custom quality metal parts.
Selection of materials and associated finishes
Now that we've delved into the importance and advantages of metal finishes, it's time for you to consider choosing the right method for the right material.
It is well known that different materials and products require other finishes. We have many different types, but the following list will show you eight (8) common metal finishes used for stamping parts that often produce high quality results:
Electroplating is a chemical process that involves applying a thin metal coating to a major metal surface using an electric current. This method is a widely used surface treatment because of its versatility -- from tiny parts to large products. It is designed to protect the metal from corrosion, enhance its face value, and amplify its physical appearance.
This treatment is used for laboratory and medical equipment, household appliances and metal parts of automobiles. In addition, plating is mainly suitable for a variety of metals, such as:
Standard metals (e.g., copper, nickel, tin, zinc)
Precious metals (e.g. gold, silver, palladium, rhodium)
Hard chromium and cadmium
In contrast to electroplating, electroless plating is not carried out by an electric current. Instead, it uses chemical reactions to apply a metallic coating to the target metal, or what we call a "substrate." Its application is smoother and more uniform than electroplating. It is also more cost effective in the whole process.
The metal used for this finish is nickel. These products provide most of the components for the aerospace industry as well as other industries such as gun makers. Electroless plating is also beneficial for stamping metal parts, such as:
This surface treatment is also known as powder coating -- in which a smooth protective film is applied to the substrate by compressed air, resulting in a powder material that subsequently melts. It makes the stamped metal highly scratch and crack resistant, corrosion resistant, and valuable as a metal colorant.
Chemical coatings are widely used on components in the automotive industry -- making them ideal for customer preferences. In addition, these surface treatment materials are aluminum and steel.
Anodizing of metal
Anodizing is the use of electrolytic oxidation of a metal surface to form an oxide coated protective film. It is ideally suited as a metal finish, minimizing wear and tear dilemmas, resisting corrosion, and enabling metal parts to become stronger and more complex.
On the other hand, it is not suitable for stamping parts with rough and damaged surfaces, as it can only be coated uniformly. It is limited to aluminum metal parts.
Hot dip galvanized
This surface treatment is also known as hot dip. It coatings steel and iron stampings by immersing them in a bath of molten zinc. With this treatment, metal parts are most likely to be highly resistant to corrosion. Heat-doping methods are popular in industries that manufacture metal parts for consumer appliances and automobiles.
Vacuum metallization is the process of applying protective metal barriers to smooth stamping parts. This finish requires the metal to be placed in a jar or container, where it is sprayed with a metallic coating. It has a specular finish suitable for decorative and design purposes, especially in the aerospace and automotive industries. Aluminum is the key metal in this process.
Coating has many applications, such as spray painting, electrostatic coating, conductive coating, lubricant coating and so on. This finish provides excellent corrosion and rust protection and enhances the appearance of any hardware stamped component.
The thermal spraying
This surface treatment improves the ability of metal components to eliminate or minimize scratches, flaking and cracking of metal surfaces by melting and heating the metal coating. It is used as a primer for large structural metal stampings.
Metal surface treatment has a significant effect on metal stamping. It can enhance and increase stamping parts from the aspects of durability, corrosion resistance and aesthetics. In terms of quality, it benefits all manufacturers, suppliers and customers. No wonder this approach has to be carefully planned.
Note, however, that everyone must be aware of the factors that need to be taken into account in the metal surface treatment of stamping parts. To prevent unnecessary results, you should look at things such as duration and work to be done, goals for your company and partners, and requirements for the product.