Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts an aluminum surface into an anodic oxide finish. The primary benefits of anodizing include durability, color stability, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, and costs. At Valmont Coatings, we offer Type II Sulfuric and Type III Hard Anodizing in Los Angeles, California.
The Anodizing Process
1. Pretreat: During this stage, the aluminum parts are submerged in a soap cleaning tank to remove any oils from the fabrication process and prepare the surface for a uniform anodize layer. During the pretreat stage, the customer must determine if they prefer an etch or bright-dip pretreatment. Etch produces a matte finish while bright-dip is used to produce a glossy finish.
2. Anodizing: The anodizing stage itself involves immersing the aluminum parts into an acid electrolyte bath and passing an electric current through the medium. A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank and the aluminum acts as an anode. The electrolyte releases oxygen ions to combine with the aluminum atoms at the surface creating a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. We offer two types of anodizing:
a) Type II Sulfuric Anodize: A protective coating that produces a decorative finish. Examples: Sporting Equipment, Picture Frames, Bathroom Shower Doors, and when color-coding is needed.
b) Type III Hard Anodize: Hard anodizing produces a thicker coating than sulfuric anodizing and is known for its durability and corrosion resistance. This finish is commonly specified for the military, automotive components, cookware, and when parts are used in a highly corrosive environment.
3. Sealing & Decorative Options: Following the anodizing step, customers have the option to have their product dyed a wide range of colors or add graphics, which are absorbed in the anodized layer. Finally, the parts are sealed, providing an extra layer of protection that keeps the dye from wiping off.