Why Finishing Is Important in Metal Fabrication

When it comes to fabricated metal parts for your project, it is extremely important to include all the specifications and details. The finished product will only be a result of the information provided, and this calls for a high degree of specificity. However, many companies forget one critical instruction, which has a big bearing on the appearance and functionality of the final item. What information needs to be provided when it comes to the "finish"?

Two Choices

Once particular parts have been created from the raw material and they form the final product, it's important to specify the type of finish required. Fundamentally, there are two different approaches, and they are not at all alike.

Metal Finishing

If you need your product to have a metal finish, then a particular layer of a substance will need to be added to the metal, with the objective of improving durability or enhancing the finished appearance. This could be plating, anodising, powder coating or painting and will require detailed specs to be added to the drawings, with the exact part number or manufacturer coding expected. It's important not to use any generalisations, especially when it comes to the particular colour of the paint. If plating is required, then the type and class needs to be indicated, so the right product is attached.

Surface Finishing

Conversely, surface finishing requires the engineer to remove some metal, once again to enhance the functionality or to improve the aesthetic appeal. Usually, a specific form of machining is used to change the texture of the surface. This could be milling, abrasive blasting, grinding or polishing.

The Importance of Instruction

Usually, manufacturing processes will remove surface flaws found on any raw material in the absence of any requirement not to do so. This will take out any flaws in the original steel, scratches or dents. However, it's not uncommon for some to remain, and if you specifically want a finished product that does not have any grinds or scratches, then you can see the importance of including this instruction in the original work order.

Additional Costs

Normally, the cost of producing an individual item increases if more attention needs to be placed on improving the surface finish. This activity will bring in additional procedures and labour and may require using specialist tools in the milling process.

Both Approaches

It's also possible that the job will require both a surface finish and a metal finish, with work being done to the surface first, in order to let the powder coating or painting adhere properly.