Complete product design, manufacture, and finishing
I recently received a short letter from a metal fabricator requesting help with the understanding of what metal finishing options are available for the various products they design and manufacture. This short letter led to a lengthy discussion regarding the technical aspect of the powder coating processes and material selection options in terms of value-added quality.
Designing, manufacturing, and finishing of a part or product require some basic skill sets. Designing products that are classified as “life safety” products, such as automotive air bag brackets, aircraft parts, and medical devices, requires a great deal of design and specification detail, including the pretreatment and finishing material requirements. Products such as these require testing, validation, and certification for specific properties, such as dimensional tolerances, metal strength, and finishing performance, before they can be mass-produced. The risk and responsibility of product design failure, including finishing, for these products makes the concern for correct design and fabrication a high priority. On the other hand, products such as display racks, lawn furniture, gates, office furniture, and other general metal products do not typically require such attention to detail in design and finishing. This is mainly due to the relatively low risk and liability if the product and/or finish fail to perform as intended for a reasonable amount of time (the warranty period).