People see, touch and benefit from anodized metal every day. From common cookware to keyrings, it’s all around us, making materials durable and resistant to rust. Anodizing metal gives it a protective film.
Many shops are interested in providing anodizing services, rather than outsourcing the service. It’s a process that involves electricity and a large amount of water and making sure you have the right water is crucial to the finished product.
At Besco Commercial, we provide commercial water treatment solutions to a wide variety of customers throughout the United States who make anodized parts for automobiles, airplanes and other manufacturing sectors.
We know that when it comes to anodizing, the best results come from using the best components possible. Deionized water is essential for anodizing because it leaves a long-lasting, flawless finish. You can avoid blemishes in the final material by using purified water for creating solutions, rinse baths and drag-out baths.
What Is Anodizing?
Anodizing is a process that subjects metal to electrolytic action. In simple terms, a current is passed through a metal part as it soaks in a bathtub of water.
The metal becomes an electrode, or anode, and a chemical change occurs. Tiny pores open up in the metal, allowing a new bond to form. Oxide penetrates the surface and builds upon it. The coating gives the material added thickness and durability, and the pores allow dye to seep in.
Aluminum, stainless steel and titanium can all be anodized, but aluminum alloy is the most common material used.
Depending on the type of anodizing process used, the added thickness can be as little as 20 to 100 microinches (0.000002 to 0.00001 inch) or as much as 0.006 inches. However, the thin coating goes a long way and allows the anodized metal to withstand abrasion, extreme wear and wet conditions. Anodizing makes the material corrosion-resistant, as is the case with garden tools.
Sometimes, anodizing is used for decorative purposes. Anodizing allows the metal to take on a flamboyant color that won’t fade. For example, think of a metal carabineer – the kind you’d see used as a key ring on a building superintendent’s belt loop. If you’re picturing shiny blue or red metal, that is an anodized surface.
Deionized and Reverse Osmosis Water Systems for the Anodizing Process
Anodizing uses a lot of water and presents considerations for shops.
When aluminum is anodized, it is soaked in a chemical solution, such as sulfuric acid, and then a sealer. Afterward, the part is run through clean rinse water to remove residue. At each stage in the operation, there is a good reason to use high-quality water.
Some people will cut corners, using tap water or non-purified water in the anodizing process. Tap water, while safe to drink in most cases, still contains dissolved chemicals, which are undesirable and can be harmful to the coating operation. Water from the public supply may contain calcium, magnesium, sodium, silicic acid or iron, manganese, copper, or lead.
Some of these dissolved solids can cause pitting and staining on anodized metal. Silica impairs the sealing process, and hardened salts may dry out on the work. Furthermore, chlorine in water corrodes aluminum. Your finished product may not have the shine or the quality you or your customers have come to expect.
The better the water, the better the dying and sealing. You may use distilled water for anodizing, but that is an expensive prospect because of how much water is needed.
Deionized water is a recommended type of water to use in the anodizing process. DI water has little or no TDS, or total dissolved solids. Besco can provide you with bulk DI water or DI Water Exchange Tanks.
Reverse osmosis systems are also effective in the anodizing process. Reverse osmosis systems create a very pure form of water using pressure and a semi-permeable membrane to remove dissolved solids.
Combining deionized water with a reverse osmosis system will produce incredibly pure water. The deionization system reduces the conductivity of the RO water by removing trace minerals and charged ions from the water.
Our water systems are designed to your specifications. We’ll need to know the average weekly volume and peak requirements. If we are setting up an ion exchange tank system, we will also need to know the makeup of the local water supply.
Get a free quote from Besco Commercial Water Treatment today
The commercial water experts at Besco have more than 200 years of collective industry experience designing industrial water treatment systems for manufacturers like you. Our WQA-certified experts will be able to recommend a solution for your needs.
For more information on which water treatment system is best for your business, call us directly at (800) 964-0257. You can also fill out our online contact form.