The global metal finishing industry was worth an estimated £74 billion in 2020 and is set to grow further until 2026, thanks partly to recent market inventions. We will review five innovations that help make the global metal finishing industry more practical, sustainable and cost-effective.
Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic metal finishing
The hydrophobic and hydrophilic metal coating technique is a new extension of the widely used pre-painting and coil coating method. Pre-painted hydrophobic metal is water-resistant, meaning droplets of water roll off the surface. Hydrophobic finishes also make it tricky for other liquids to adhere to the metal, making it more challenging for graffiti artists to deface structures and more effortless to remove paint.
Hydrophilic finishes have the opposite effect of attracting water and have become widespread in medical instruments to reduce tissue damage during surgery.
While nanotechnology has been established in other manufacturing processes, the metal finishing industry is now utilising the technology to provide metal finishes with increased durability. A nano-coating is scratch-resistant, allowing the paintwork of objects such as cars to last much longer.
Dry electroplating offers a greener alternative to traditional electroplating. The process removes all toxic chemicals and solvents, preventing the risk of harmful spills into the environment and producing a more sustainable approach.
Graphene is a quasi-metal with remarkable properties of strength and flexibility, making it ideal for industrial parts that require chemical and heat resistance and can resist corrosion from moisture.
The introduction of data analysis into metal finishing processes enables manufacturers to review the costs of their methods to reduce energy usage and increase efficiency. As all of these techniques and approaches become more widespread, the future of the metal finishing industry will remain promising.