When it comes to metal finishing, the finishing process is complete when objects undergo three stages of processing. Each of these three stages involves moving the objects through a series of baths containing chemicals designed to complete certain steps in the process. Here we have broken down each of the three essential finishing stages and the steps typically associated with them.
Surface Preparation: The first stage in the finishing process involves cleaning the surface of the object to remove greases, soils, oxides, and other materials. This is in preparation for application of the surface treatment. A technician uses detergents, solvents, caustics, and other methods and then rinses the object. After cleaning the surface, an acid dip is used to remove oxides from the object, and is then rinsed. Once rinsed, the object is now ready to move onto the second stage and have the treatment applied.
Surface Treatment: The surface treatment stage involves the alteration of the objects surface including plating. The finishing process consists of a series of baths and rinses to achieve the desired finish. A common three-step plating system is copper-nickel-chrome. The copper is plated first to improve the adhesion of the nickel to the steel and the final layer, chrome, provides additional corrosion and tarnish protection. After the application of each of the plate layers, the objects are rinsed to remove the process solution. The final step is drying. The drying step can consist of air drying or a more involved method such as forced air evaporation or spin drying.
Post Treatment: The final stage in the finishing process is after the objects have been plated, they are rinsed and then additional finishing procedures can follow. These procedures are used to enhance the appearance or add to the properties of the objects. A common post-treatment process is chromate conversion, which often follows zinc or cadmium plating to increase corrosion resistance.
At Burton Metal we make sure each metal is properly treated to ensure maximum adherence and a long-lasting finish. Let our experts advise you on you next metal finishing project.