Aluminium is undoubtedly one of the most commonly used metals in fabrication and manufacturing, and this is down to the wide range of benefits that it can offer. Aluminium is highly flexible, easy to work with, it offers an outstanding strength to weight ratio and most importantly it is highly affordable. Another aspect of aluminium usage that makes it such an attractive option is that it can come in a range of finishes, depending on what exactly it is being used for. Each finish offers a different appearance for the aluminium, but additionally it can impact the lifespan of the material. Here are some of the ways in which aluminium can be finished, and the benefits that each can offer.
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that ultimately leaves a thick coating on the outside of the material. This process has been used for many decades and the process is able to thicken the natural oxide on the outer surface of the alloy. Depending on what the customer requires, anodizing can provide a range of thicknesses, depending on how long the aluminium is left in the anodizing tank. The point of this finish is to provide an extra protection that greatly increases its durability, as well as providing a solid level of UV protection.
Mechanical techniques are used when a customer wants a highly polished finish to the material. If you speak with an aluminium wholesaler they will likely have some stock that has been heavily polished and blasted to deliver a smooth and shiny finish. In most cases this is done for aesthetic reasons.
Powder Coating Finish
Another finish that mainly offers aesthetic value is the powder coated finish. This process looks to add color and texture to the finish. In order to do this a mixture of colored pigment and resin is applied to the outer surface of the aluminium. Once this has been applied the metal will be placed in an oven, that smooths the surface and imprints the color. If applied correctly then this will never fade and will not lose its texture, providing a long term solution to those who want colorful pieces of aluminium. Unfortunately however the technique is one that requires a lot of skill and many powder coated finishes do end up fading over time, as they have not been done with precision.
A number of chemicals can also be used on this metal to give it the right kind of finish for the customer. In the main chemicals are used to clean the metal or to remove certain imperfections, but they can also be used to etch the metal in order to create certain styles and tones on the surface.
As you can see there really is a broad range of finishes that can be given to aluminium, and it all comes down to what the metal is being used for and what exactly the customer is looking for. Each finish takes time and skill to accomplish, and the differences between finishes are highly contrasting.
Here at Aluminium Trade Centre, we stock a range of aluminum supplies and products.