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14 classic methods of surface treatment
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14 classic methods of surface treatment

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-04-22      Origin: Site

14 classic methods of surface treatment

Today, let's take a look at the 14 technical encyclopedias of surface treatment processes and see which methods you have known:

Vacuum plating:

Vacuum Metalizing: A physical deposition phenomenon. That is, argon is injected in a vacuum state, the argon hits the target material, and the separated molecules of the target material are adsorbed by the conductive goods to form a uniform and smooth metal-like surface layer.


Typical products: reflective coatings, surface treatment of consumer electronics and heat insulation panels;

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: high quality, high brightness and product surface protection layer;

Speed: Medium production speed, 6 hours/cycle (including painting);


Applicable materials:

1.Many materials can be vacuum electroplated, including metals, soft and hard plastics, composite materials, ceramics and glass. Among them, the most common surface treatment for electroplating is aluminum, followed by silver and copper. 2. Natural materials are not suitable for vacuum plating, because the moisture of natural materials will affect the vacuum environment.

Process cost:

Vacuum electroplating relies heavily on manual operations. During the vacuum electroplating process, workpieces need to be sprayed, loaded, unloaded and resprayed, so the labor cost is quite high, but it also depends on the complexity and quantity of the workpieces.


Environmental impact:

Vacuum plating has little environmental pollution, similar to the environmental impact of spraying.


Example display:

Ducati Motor's vacuum plating

Vacuum plating of perfume bottles


Other products of vacuum plating

Electropolishing: Use the polished workpiece as the anode and the insoluble metal as the cathode. The two poles are immersed in the electrolytic cell at the same time, and the selective anode dissolution is produced through the direct current ionization reaction, so as to achieve the removal of fine burrs on the surface of the workpiece and increase the brightness. Great effect.


Typical products: building structure, food processing and storage and medical pharmacy

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: The surface is bright, smooth and hygienic

Speed: medium production speed, 5-30 minutes/cycle

Applicable materials:

1.Most metals can be electrolytically polished, of which the most commonly used for surface polishing of stainless steel (especially suitable for austenitic nuclear grade stainless steel).

2.Different materials cannot be electropolished at the same time, or even put in the same electrolytic solvent.


Process cost:

The whole process of electrolytic polishing is basically completed by automation, so the labor cost is very low.


Environmental impact:

Electrolytic polishing uses less harmful chemicals. The whole process requires a small amount of water and is easy to operate. In addition, it can extend the properties of stainless steel and play a role in delaying corrosion of stainless steel.


Example display:

Electrolytic polishing to clean the welding seam


Other products electrolytic polishing

Photoetching surface treatment:

Photo Etching: Abbreviated as lithography, it is a method of using photographic methods to make a resist film image to protect the surface. On metals, plastics, etc., the surface texture is produced by etching with chemical corrosive agents.


Typical products: used for surface treatment of jewelry, nameplates and trophies

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: prolonged exposure and chemical substances can achieve photoetching surface treatment

Speed: Medium production speed (50-100 microns/5 minutes)


Applicable materials:

1.Most metals are suitable for photo-etching surface treatment, the most common ones are stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, brass, nickel, tin, copper and silver. Among them, the photo-etching speed of aluminum is the fastest, while the photo-etching speed of stainless steel is the slowest.

2.Glass and ceramics are also suitable for photo-etching surface treatment, but different photoresist and chemical substances are required.


Process cost

1:Low mold cost

2:Moderate labor cost


Environmental impact:

The metal waste generated by photoetching must be recycled in a controlled manner; the chemical used for photoetching is still one-third of ferric chloride, and caustic soda (caustic soda) is also used to treat waste photosensitive film. All kinds of chemical substances are harmful, so operators need to wear protective clothing when handling them.


Example display:

Photoetching of metal signs


Pad printing process:

Pad Printing: The ability to print text, graphics and images on the surface of irregular and heterogeneous objects is now becoming an important special printing.


Typical products: used for surface printing of vehicle interiors, electronic consumer products and sports equipment

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: Able to achieve clear printing details, even on uneven surfaces

Speed: single printing time (1-5 seconds)

Applicable materials:

Almost all materials can be used for pad printing, except for materials that are softer than silicone pads, such as PTFE.


Process cost:

1. Low mold cost;

2. The labor cost is low, because most of the processes are completed by machining;


Environmental impact:

Since this process is limited to soluble inks (which contain harmful chemicals), it has a great impact on the environment.


Examples show:

Examples of pad printing on mobile phone silica gel buttons;


Galvanizing process:

Galvanizing: The surface treatment technology of plating a layer of zinc on the surface of steel alloy materials for aesthetics and rust prevention. The zinc layer on the surface is an electrochemical protective layer that can prevent metal corrosion. It is mainly used The method is hot-dip galvanizing and electro-galvanizing.


Typical products: surface treatment of buildings, bridges, vehicles and furniture, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: perfect protective layer, the appearance largely depends on the quality of the steel;

Speed: fast, basic 10 minutes/cycle;


Applicable materials:

As the galvanizing process relies on metallurgical bonding technology, it is only suitable for surface treatment of steel and iron

Process cost:

1:No mold cost, short cycle and low cost

2:The labor cost is moderate, because the surface quality of the workpiece largely depends on the manual surface treatment before galvanizing;


Environmental impact:

As the galvanizing process increases the service life of steel parts by 40-100 years and prevents rust and corrosion of the workpiece, it has a positive effect on the protection of the bad environment. In addition, after the service life of the zinc-plated workpiece is expired, it can be returned to the galvanizing tank, and the repeated use of liquid zinc will not produce chemical physical waste.


Examples show:

Galvanizing process of wheel hub


Examples of other products galvanizing

Electroplating process:

Electroplating: the process of using electrolysis to attach a layer of metal film to the surface of the parts, thereby preventing metal oxidation, improving wear resistance, conductivity, light reflection, corrosion resistance and enhancing aesthetics. Many coins The outer layer is also electroplated.


Typical products: surface treatment of vehicles, consumer electronics, furniture, jewelry and silverware, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: extremely high gloss, resistance to oxidation and corrosion;

Speed: medium speed, depending on material type and coating thickness;


Applicable materials:

1.Most metals can be electroplated, but different metals have different levels of purity and electroplating efficiency. The most common ones are: tin, chromium, nickel, silver, gold and rhodium (rhodium: a kind of platinum, extremely expensive and can maintain high brightness for a long time, can resist most chemicals and acids. The most commonly used to gloss the surface of the product Highly demanding products, such as trophies and medals).

2.The most commonly used plastic for electroplating is ABS, because ABS can withstand electroplating high temperature of 60°C (140°F), and its electroplated layer and non-plated layer have high bonding strength.

3. Nickel metal cannot be used for electroplating products that touch the skin, because nickel is irritating and toxic to the skin.


Process cost:

1.No mold costs, but fixtures are needed to fix the parts;

2.Time cost depends on temperature and metal type;

3.The labor cost (medium-high) depends on the type of specific electroplated parts. For example, the electroplating of silverware and jewelry requires extremely skilled workers to operate, because it has high requirements on appearance and durability;


Environmental impact:

A large amount of toxic substances will be used in the electroplating process, so professional diversion and extraction are required to ensure minimal environmental impact.


Example display:






粉末喷涂(Powder Coating):是一种干喷法,通过喷涂或流化床用在一些金属工件上,粉末通过静电吸附在工件表面,等到完全干燥时,会在表面形成一层保护膜。


Typical products: spraying of vehicles, construction and white goods, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: The surface of the product is colored smoothly and evenly;

Speed: The speed depends on the size of the workpiece and the degree of automation, it takes at least 30 minutes to dry;


Applicable materials:

Although it is suitable for surface spraying of some metal parts, plastics and glass, powder spraying is mainly used to protect or color aluminum and steel.


Process cost:

1. No mold cost, but the equipment cost is very high;

2. The time cost is relatively short, but the drying time needs at least half an hour;

3. Time labor cost is quite low;


Environmental impact:

Compared with wet spraying, powder spraying has a higher material utilization rate (due to electrostatic adsorption of powder particles), which can reach 95% of the spray material utilization rate.

Example display:

Powder coating of wheels

Other products powder coating


Water transfer:

Hydro Transfer Printing: It is a way to use water pressure to print the color patterns on the transfer paper on the surface of the three-dimensional product. As people's requirements for product packaging and surface decoration increase, the use of water transfer printing has become more and more extensive.


Typical products: vehicles, consumer electronics and military products, etc.

Suitable output: from small batches to large batches;

Quality: The surface texture of the product is precise and clear, but there will be a slight stretch;

Speed: fast speed, 10-20 cycles/hour;


Applicable materials:

All hard materials are suitable for water transfer, and the materials suitable for spraying must also be suitable for water transfer. The most common are injection molded parts and metal parts.


Process cost:

1.No mold costs, but you need to use a fixture to transfer multiple products at the same time, thereby reducing time costs

2.The time cost is relatively short, generally no more than 10 minutes per cycle.


Environmental impact:

Compared with product spraying, water transfer printing more fully applies printing coatings, reducing the possibility of waste leakage and material waste.

Examples show

Screen printing:

Screen Printing: Through the squeeze of the squeegee, the ink is transferred to the substrate through the mesh of the graphic part to form the same graphic as the original. The screen printing equipment is simple, convenient to operate, simple in printing and plate making, low in cost, and strong in adaptability. Screen printing has a wide range of applications. Common printed materials include: color oil paintings, posters, business cards, binding covers, commodity signs, and printed and dyed textiles.


Typical products: used in clothing, electronic products and packaging, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: The quality of the pattern details is extremely high-precision;

Speed: manual silk screen printing (1-5 cycles/minute), machine silk screen printing (1-30 cycles/minute);


Applicable materials:

Almost all materials can be screen printed, including paper, plastic, metal, pottery and glass, etc.

Process cost:

The mold cost is low, but it still depends on the number of colors, because each color has to be made separately;

Time cost: up to 30 per minute for machined silk screens, up to 1-5 per minute for manual silk screens;

Labor cost: In manual screen printing, labor cost is high, especially when it comes to colorful printing;


Environmental Impact:

Light-colored screen printing inks have little impact on the environment, but inks containing PVC and formaldehyde have harmful chemical substances and need to be recycled and processed in time to prevent water pollution

Examples show;



Anodization (Anodic Oxidation): Mainly anodization of aluminum, which uses electrochemical principles to generate a layer of Al2O3 (aluminum oxide) film on the surface of aluminum and aluminum alloys. This oxide film has special characteristics such as protection, decoration, insulation, and abrasion resistance.


Typical products: mobile phones, computers and other electronic products, mechanical parts, aircraft and auto parts, precision instruments and radio equipment, daily necessities and architectural decoration;

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity;

Quality: The oxide film has special characteristics such as protection, decoration, insulation, abrasion resistance, etc.

Speed: dozens of minutes;

Applicable materials: aluminum, aluminum alloy and other aluminum products;


Process cost:

In the anodic oxidation production process, the consumption of water and electricity is quite large, especially in the oxidation process. Coupled with the heat consumption of the machine itself, it is necessary to constantly use circulating water to cool down, and the electricity consumption per ton is often about 1000 degrees. The reduction of auxiliary facilities can reduce some electricity consumption.


Environmental impact:

Anodizing is not very good in terms of energy efficiency. In the production of aluminum electrolysis, the anode effect can also produce gases that cause destructive side effects on the atmospheric ozone layer.


Examples show:



Electrophoresis: charged particles move towards their typical opposite electrode under the action of an electric field, which is called electrophoresis;


Typical products: automobiles, building materials, hardware, home appliances, etc.

Yield suitable: mass production;

Quality: The product presents various colors and maintains metallic luster. At the same time, the surface performance is enhanced and it has better anticorrosion;

Speed: faster production speed;

Applicable materials: stainless steel, aluminum alloy, etc.


Process cost:

Can realize mechanization and automatic continuous operation, low labor cost and low total cost;


environmental impact:

Electrophoretic coatings use water as the solvent, which is non-flammable, non-toxic, saves a lot of organic solvents, greatly reduces air pollution and environmental hazards, and also avoids fire hazards.


Example display:


Micro arc oxidation (MAO):

Micro-arc oxidation (MAO): also known as micro-plasma oxidation, is the combination of electrolyte and corresponding electrical parameters, on the surface of aluminum, magnesium, titanium and their alloys, relying on the instantaneous high temperature and high pressure generated by arc discharge to grow matrix metal Oxide-based ceramic coating;


Typical products: aerospace field, IT products

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: The material has high surface hardness and good wear resistance

Speed: faster speed

Applicable materials: Al, Ti, Zn, Zr, Mg, Nb, and their alloys, etc.

Process cost: Micro-arc oxidation has high arc starting voltage, high current density, low current efficiency, high energy consumption, and high processing cost, which limits the wide application of this technology


Environmental impact: The micro-arc oxidation electrolyte does not contain toxic substances and heavy metal elements, and the electrolyte has strong anti-pollution ability and high regeneration and reuse rate, so it has little environmental pollution;


Examples show:



Brushed metal:

Metal wire drawing: It is a surface treatment method that forms lines on the surface of the workpiece by grinding products to achieve a decorative effect. According to the different lines after drawing, it can be divided into: straight drawing, chaotic drawing, corrugation, and swirling;


Typical products: construction industry such as elevator door panels, faucets, handles, etc., cabinets such as range hoods, sinks, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: The wire drawing treatment can make the metal surface obtain a non-mirror-like metallic luster, and the wire drawing treatment can also eliminate the subtle defects on the metal surface;

Speed: faster

Applicable materials: Almost all materials can use metal wire drawing process

Process cost: The process method is simple, the equipment is simple, the material consumption is very small, the cost is relatively low, and the economic benefit is high;

Environmental impact: pure metal products, no paint and any chemical substances on the surface, 600 degrees high temperature does not burn, no toxic gas, compound fire protection environmental protection;


Example display:


In-mold decoration:

Decoration technology (In-Mold Decoration-IMD): Put the printed film into a metal mold, and inject the molding resin into the metal mold to join the film to form the printed film with the resin A forming method that is integrated and solidified into a finished product;


Typical products: decorative and functional control panels of home appliances, automobile dashboards, air conditioning panels, mobile phone casings/lenses, washing machines, refrigerators, etc.

Suitable output: single piece to large quantity

Quality: It can be used for complex images, the product is resistant to friction, can prevent surface scratches, and can keep the color bright and not easy to fade for a long time

Speed: fast

Applicable material: plastic surface

Process cost: Only need to open a set of molds, which can reduce system costs and inventory costs, reduce costs and man-hours. Highly automated production. The process is simplified. There is a one-time injection molding method to achieve molding and decoration at the same time, reducing constant costs and man-hours. Stable production environment affects the environmental protection of the technology, avoiding the pollution caused by traditional painting and electroplating


Example display:

In-mold injection-molded mobile phone protective cover

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