Metal finishing is a process by which the exterior of a metal product is treated by means of applying a thin matching layer to its surface. There are several types of metal finishing processes that can be used for different purposes. Here, we will look into the most important finishing methods, applications and factors that need to be considered in deciding on a metal finishing process. When this finishing treatment is applied to a metal product, some of the benefits it receives are as follows:
- Enhanced durability
- More decorative appeal
- Improved electrical conductivity
- Greater electrical resistance
- Greater chemical resistance
- Greater tarnish resistance
- Vulcanization potential
Metal plating machines utilize a chemical bath in coating or modifying a substrate’s surface with a thin layer of metal like PTFE or nickel. To coat the substrate, the electroplating method produces an electric current, whereas electroless plating uses an autocatalytic process wherein the substrate catalyzes the reaction.
As s finishing process, metal plating gives some advantages. It can enhance a product’s corrosion resistance, durability, exterior look and surface friction. It can be useful in coating other metals as well. A barrel-finishing machine performs fast and efficient plating during high-volume production runs. In general, though, plating machines are not effective in smoothing out blemishes on the surface.
On the other hand, brushed metal finishing is effective in removing surface defects. These machines produce an even, parallel grain texture to smooth out the exterior of a product. To come up with this effect, it uses a wire brush or abrasive belt. Moreover, the singular direction of the brush or belt can produce slightly curved edges that are vertical to the grain.
If you need a smooth and non-textured finish, you can opt for a buff polishing machine. To buff the surface of the product, the machine makes use of a cloth wheel, which gives a high, glossy, shiny finish. This process is best for decorative items since it enables them to look smoother and more lustrous.
Buff polishing machines have a tendency to make a product rounder at its edges. Due to the limitations of the cloth wheel range, they are not too effective for applications that require fragile and intricate features.
To smooth out the surface of a metal product, grinding machines make use of attrition, compression and friction. The several types of grinding machines are designed to give various levels of smoothness. For instance, a ball-grinding machine may be effective in grinding cement products, but may not work for projects that are more extensive.
Majority of metal grinding machines are made with a substrate within a rotating drum. Rod mills make metal rods, whereas autogenous and semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mills are used is smoothing out gold, silver, platinum and copper.
Metal Vibratory Finishing
To get rid of sharp edges and deburr products, vibratory finishing machines are used. The material is placed in a drum that is full of abrasive pellets and a substrate, then tumbling vibration is applied to produce an even random texture. The cycle speed and vibration magnitude of the machine are typically erratic, enabling treatment to be effective for different sizes of parts.