Adding a surface finish to your product can add value to it in a variety of ways. It can enhance component appearance and appeal, as well as provide surface protection and improve component function and performance.
A decorative finish can add value to your product by increasing its aesthetic appeal. Surface finishes can add luster and reflectivity to a component, and even give plastic components a metallic appearance. A wide range of colors is available to meet the latest color trends and consumer aesthetics. Decorative finishes can also add texture and dimension to a part; brushing (also known as mechanical highlighting) gives components a “brushed” pattern that is popular for kitchen fixtures and appliances, and vibratory finishing processes give parts a unique distressed look that is also very popular in consumer markets.
Finishes can also be applied to products to preserve their appearance. Lacquer coating or clear coating can be applied to raw as well as finished components to protect the color, as well as protect part surfaces from scratches. Lacquer also has an aesthetic benefit, as it adds depth and shine to surface finishes.
Surface finishes can also improve component performance. Functional finishes such as passivation enhance corrosion resistance and durability of metal components, increasing their longevity. Even some decorative finishes (such as chrome plating and PVD) can enhance performance characteristics for plastic and metal components by increasing chemical and corrosion resistance. In fact, PVD techniques can be used to create components with the appearance and performance of an expensive metal, such as titanium, from a much more affordable substrate (e.g., stainless steel). (Read more on the differences between functional and decorative finishing here.)
Additionally, you can select a surface finish that is environmentally friendly, which will align with many consumers’ values. Green methods and products have become so important to consumers that several large automotive OEMs have committed to replacing hexavalent with trivalent chrome finishes. Trivalent chrome finishes have all the appearance and performance qualities of traditional hexavalent chrome finishes, without the negative environmental impact. PVD is also considered an eco-friendly process and produces attractive finishes with humidity, chemical, UV, and corrosion resistance.
Decorative or functional surface finishes, depending upon your application, can enhance the value of your product by increasing its performance, visual appeal, or both. ECF has processes and finishes that can add value to your product—contact us for more information.