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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is anodizing?
  2. Can metals other than aluminum be anodized?
  3. How durable is Anodizing?
  4. Does colored anodizing fade, peel, or rub off?
  5. Can an anodized component be machined or formed?
  6. What is "hardcoat" anodizing?
  7. How expensive is anodizing?
  8. Can anodized aluminum be painted?
  9. What is "chem. film", and how does it differ from anodizing?
  10. Can chem. film be done in different colors?

1. What is anodizing?

Anodizing is a process for producing decorative and protective films on articles made from aluminum and its alloys. The resulting oxide film improves both corrosion and abrasion resistance, and is electrically inert. The porous nature of the film allows production of colored coatings by absorption of organic dyes or metallic pigments.

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2. Can metals other than aluminum be anodized?

Aluminum is the only metal that can be anodized using standard anodizing procedures. If an aluminum component has other metals attached, such as steel studs, pems, or heli-coils, these areas must be masked prior to anodizing.

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3. How durable is anodizing?

A normal film thickness of .0006 inches will prevent atmospheric corrosion for a minimum of ten years in a heavy industrial environment. The oxide film itself is very hard, but is generally too thin to increase the effective hardness of the metal itself. It will, however, resist surface scratches and thus protects the appearance of the metal under normal wear conditions.

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4. Does colored anodizing fade, peel, or rub off?

Following the dying of an anodized surface, a sealer is applied to effectively close the pores and prevent fading, staining, or bleeding out of color. A properly dyed and sealed component will not fade under outdoor conditions for a minimum of five years. Because the anodic film is molecularly bonded to the sub-strate, and this film absorbs the pigment to the depth of the coating, the colors will not chip or rub off.

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5. Can an anodized component be machined or formed?

The anodic film is brittle, much like ceramic, and will crack if bent. For this reason, all forming should be done prior to anodizing. If certain areas are required to be un-anodized, these areas can be masked prior to anodizing, or machined (normally ground with an abrasive) following the anodizing process.

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6. What is "hardcoat" anodizing?

This is a process similar to conventional anodizing, in which a higher voltage is applied and which produces film thicknesses in the range of .001 to .003 inches. This film provides greater abrasion and corrosion resistance than conventional anodizing, and is used to coat aluminum components that will be exposed to extreme wear conditions.

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7. How expensive is anodizing?

Compared to other types of electro-plating such as chrome, cadmium, nickel, etc., anodizing is relatively cheap. Pricing is based on surface area, weight, special handling requirements, labor requirements for racking, or a combination of these. Call, fax, or email your information, drawings, or blueprints for same-day quotes.

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8. Can anodized aluminum be painted?

For color requirements not available in anodizing dyes, painting is sometimes necessary. Anodizing provides an excellent primer base for paint applications. Anodized surfaces can also be silkscreened, dry-lube painted or powdercoated. For painting applications, it is recommended that the anodizing not be sealed.

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9. What is "chem. film", and how does it differ from anodizing?

Chem film, or chromate conversion coating, is a dip process for coating aluminum with a chromium-based compound. It offers excellent atmospheric corrosion resistance and is also an excellent primer coat for paint or other organic coatings. It is thinner than anodic coatings and is hardly competitive with anodizing for abrasion and wear resistance. Chemical films are also electrically conductive, unlike anodizing.

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10. Can chem. film be done in different colors?

Chromate (chem. film) coatings can be done in either clear or yellow. These coatings can be dyed, but due to the nature of the film, this is not recommended. The dyes are easily scratched or rubbed off. Trivalent chromate films (RoHS compliant) currently can be done only in clear, but work is being done to develop a yellow color for that as well.

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100 W. LAKE STREET * NORTHLAKE IL 60164* PHONE # 708-562-0502 * FAX # 708-562-0508