When searching for the best finishing option for use with extruded aluminum parts, products, and components, it is important to know what you want to get out of the project. Some types of finishing provided added protection from corrosion and other forms of damage during use, while others can add texture and aesthetic appeal. Painting, powder-coating, and anodizing aluminum are some of the most popular options available in the aluminum extrusion industry. After you create a profile and extrude aluminum alloys to the shape and size that you require, the next phase can be added, depending on your needs. Silver City Aluminum does all of our post-extrusion services in-house, including secondary operations and finishing. We take pride in the quality control that we are able to provide to each client through close monitoring and inspection during each phase of production.
What is Powder-Coating?
The process used to add finishing to custom aluminum extrusion can vary depending on the medium. Powder-coating is a process that involves applying paint in a powder form to an object that has been electrostatically charged. No solvents are required for the use of powder-coating, so the surface of each extrusion must be pre-treated properly to ensure adhesion of the paint. At Silver City, we work with several different powder coaters and anodizers, which allow us to provide clients with a custom finish. The actual lead time for this process will be determined by the item that is being finished and the different types of powder-coating and anodizers that are used for the process.
The preparation for powder-coating and anodizing aluminum includes a pre-treatment process that is similar to other types of finishing solutions. All of the dust, grease, and other particles are removed to ensure proper adhesion. This prevents the powder-coating from flaking or coming off of the finished part. The powder is then applied with an electrostatic spray gun. The positive charge that is used makes the powder-coating material bond to the electrically-grounded custom aluminum extrusion. Once the powder is applied, the extrusions are heated in a custom curing oven which bakes the pieces until the coating is uniformly melted. The extrusions are then cooled so that the coating will be smooth and hardened according to specifications.
Advantages of Powder-Coating Aluminum
Some of our clients choose to use a painted finish, while others prefer powder-coating. The aluminum extrusion industry commonly uses both methods after the client creates a profile and has us extrude aluminum alloys into the desired shape and size. Powder-coating and anodizing aluminum provide the client with options that include a broad range of beautiful colors, which can be used to enhance the finished look of the product. Due to the absence of a solvent, many feel that this option is more environmentally-friendly than liquid paint. The thick coating bonds to the aluminum to provide added protection and, when done professionally, provides a tough surface that won’t chip or peel easily during use.
Another reason why many feel that powder-coating is more environmentally-friendly than liquid paint and other types of finishing options is that there is no damage to the environment while the product is being sprayed. The solvents, which are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), is considered by some to be hazardous. Using a finishing solution that does not contain VOCs or other solvents can help to reduce further the impact on the environment for a client who is working toward LEED Certification or another type of environmentally-friendly certificate or award for their project. Another material-saving benefit is that if any of the powder is over-sprayed during the finishing process, it can be collected and reused, eliminating any waste.
Other Processes Available at Silver City Aluminum
If powder-coating doesn’t sound like a good fit, there are also anodizing and liquid paint options available at Silver City Aluminum. In fact, our paint line runs continuously as it is so popular with our clients across many different industries. Anodizing provides a quality finished look and feel that is also available in many color options. Clear anodizing and black anodizing are the most popular, but multi-color anodizing and custom anodizing finishes are also used regularly by our clients. We take our painting services very seriously, using a vertical electrostatic polycron line that is capable of handling parts and pieces of up to twenty-one feet in length. We use a four-stage pre-wash system to ensure excellent adhesion to the custom aluminum extrusion parts before putting the pieces through the polycron line for paint application.
Contact Silver City Aluminum at 508-824-8631 to speak with one of our agents. We can answer any questions that you might have about standard and custom aluminum extrusion, as well as our finishing options for painting, powder-coating, and anodizing aluminum.