The most crucial part of metal fabrication is finishing. If you deal with sheet metal, you undoubtedly understand the importance of finishing.
Metal finishing is the process of applying coating on a metal component by applying a thin complementary layer on its surface. It’s the final step that prepares metallic products for use. Finishing makes the products resistant to corrosion, durable, and provides higher chemical and electrical resistance.
Here is a comprehensive list of sheet metal finishing options;
Electroplating With Precious Metals
Although precious metals are rare, they make the best metal finishes. These metals include gold, rhodium, silver, ruthenium, and palladium. They contain properties ideal for industrial plating purposes.
Gold is popular due to its aesthetic appeal. Also, it increases tarnish and corrosion resistance. Gold has high electrical conductivity and stable resistance, which makes it a perfect choice for plating electrical components.
On the other hand, silver is a precious metal preferred for its high thermal and electrical conductivity. It’s ductile, malleable, and its plating process can be regulated to achieve a high matte finish. Palladium is cheaper than gold and platinum and offers excellent corrosion resistance. Rhodium and platinum are durable sheet metal finishing options, while ruthenium is dense and extremely hard.
Buff polishing is ideal if you want a smooth, non-textured finish. A buff polishing machine, which uses a cloth wheel, buffs the product surface to get a glossy finish. This process works best for products that require smoothness and luster. The downside of this process is that you cannot use for fragile products that require intricate processes.
Sand produces a smooth metal texture of sheet metals. Since it’s highly abrasive, it delivers smooth metal finishing when induced at high speed. The type of sandblasting used depends on the degree of cleanliness required. Also known as abrasive blasting, this method is used to prepare the metal surface for painting and coating.
This is the process of applying aluminum oxide on aluminum surfaces. The purpose of aluminum oxide is to create a thin deposit of protective film on the metal surface. This film provides corrosion resistance and reduces the tear and wear impact. Anodizing metal makes it resistant to UV rays and can add different colors for aesthetic value.
Powder coating improves silk screening and cosmetic appearance for elements like graphics, safety warnings, and logos. This process provides better, durable finishing than paint. It applies a decorative finish and is highly effective in removing surface defects. Powder coating involves the melting of dry plastic powder on sheet metal surface to produce a glossy, textured coat.
This is a form of industrial plating that requires no electricity. Rather than using electric current, this process uses chemical reactions to plate the metal surface. It is a rather slow process compared to electroplating. However, it applies coating evenly and smoothly with lower costs.
This process involves the use of friction and attrition to smooth metal surfaces. The level of finite smoothness depends on the type of grinding machine used. Most of these machines consist of a substrate within a rotating drum. Autogenous and semi-autogenous grinding machines are used to smoothen silver, gold, copper, and platinum while rod makes metal rod finishes.
Choosing the Best Sheet Finishing Options
Several factors determine the most suitable metal finishing options. However, your goal is the paramount determiner of your finishing option. The finishing options depend on whether you want electrical conductivity, improved appearance, or corrosion protection. Other factors such as cost and length of time, are of little importance.
The Bottom Line
The above sheet metal finishing options gives you the best results possible. Whether you want smoothness, perfect appearance, or corrosion resistance, you can achieve it with ease.