There are many different kinds of metals that we use in some way on a regular basis. Some of these metals include copper, tin, zinc, lead, and nickel— as well as the considerably rare “precious” metals such as silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. All of these metals are elements found in nature that are extracted from the earth’s crust. Each has its own unique properties that are beneficial to humankind. However, each kind of metal has its own flaws that must be smoothed out in order to maximize their utility. And that leads us to industrial metal finishing.
The Definition of Industrial Metal Finishing
Metal finishing is an umbrella term that is used to describe the method of placing some kind of metal coating on the surface of a metallic part, usually referred to as a substrate. It may also involve the incorporation of a process for cleaning, polishing, or improving a surface in some other way.
Metal finishing many times consists of the process of electroplating, which is the depositing of metal ions onto a substrate by way of an electric current. In fact, the terms electroplating and metal finishing are sometimes used interchangeably. However, the metal finishing industry includes a wide range of processes, each offering its own user benefits.
Industrial metal finishing can serve many valuable purposes including:
- Limiting the effects of corrosion
- Promoting paint adhesion
- Strengthening the metal layer and increasing wear resistance
- Improving a part’s appearance
- Making a surface electrically conductive
- Enhancing chemical resistance
- Cleaning, polishing, and removing surface defects