Anodizing in Automotive

 

Aluminum is a metal that is found in every modern car.

We find it in small components starting with a simple washer, cover, housing and large and heavy bodies of engines, rims, tailgate, and entire bodies.

 

The famous Tesla S and X electric models feature a design entirely made of aluminum, thus significantly reducing the weight of the vehicle.

Well-fitting and robust aluminum parts of the suspension system are crucial for safety, performance and driving comfort.

 

Popular Automotive parts made of aluminum:

● Body parts (bodywork 44 percent lighter than steel)

● Heat exchangers

● Engine blocks

● Wheels, rims (up to 40 percent lighter than steel)

● Suspension parts, shock absorbers

● Interior elements, knobs, slats, handles

● Filter housings, headlights

● Exterior details such as roof rails handle

 

Properly selected aluminum alloys allow producing components for the automotive sector with unusual parameters.

This metal and its feet are lightweight, easy to process and durable.

From aluminum, almost any shape can be formed. Sometimes the only limitation is the imagination of the designer and the mechanical treatment used.

 

Drivers expect a durable, economical and eco-friendly vehicle from the manufacturer. The use of aluminum alloy parts reduces vehicle weight, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This allows the vehicle to gain key parameters. This makes such vehicles more efficient and has better performance with less combustion – and that’s what’s very valued now.

 

Aluminum is soft and reacts with oxygen, so the surface must be further protected by a protective anodization process. This is particularly important in the automotive parts sector.

 

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that affects the surface of the treated metal, giving it a compact and uniform protective layer. This process improves its mechanical strength, dielectric, increases corrosion resistance, and allows you to obtain the expected aesthetic qualities. This produces a durable color on the surface because aluminum cannot simply be painted well.

It is worth knowing that using modern anodizing devices is environmentally safe and effectively replaces the chemical chrome plating process.

 

Aluminum is ideal for anodizing, but non-magnetic light metals such as titanium or magnesium can be anodized. This is usually one of the last operations in the creation of an element, that is, finalizing surface treatment.

 

Oxidation is the covering of the surface of metal objects with a layer of oxide created in solutions of sodium hydroxide and silver nitrate, or electrolytically through current flow, and then we call such an anode oxidation treatment.

 

Sometimes the term eloxation is used as an abbreviation for electrolytic oxidation.

 

We divide the anodization into soft and hard. In soft-made, the coating is in the range of 5-25um and is used mainly for decorative purposes, and in a hard 25-130um and is designed to protect anti-corrosion.

 

After the anodization process, additional aluminum staining processing /for 5-130um/coatings can be performed. A wide range of colors can be obtained.

 

In some demanding applications, most often in automotive engines where there are extreme forces and temperatures need to be anoded selectively, only selected areas of the surface. For this, advanced solutions are used to exclude areas not subject to this treatment. Technical anodisation must secure the surface while maintaining the dimensions of precisely executed surfaces.

 

Anodizing components for the automotive industry is a very demanding process. These parts will operate in a wide temperature range, in different environments, they will be exposed to salts, acids, water or electrolytes.   The aluminum car component should function well until the end of the vehicle life, which is statistically over the period from 12-19 years in Europe.

In addition, if it is prominently located it should look good at all times.

 

The line in the anodizing company must have adequate technical capabilities, dimensions of electrochemical bath baths, a place to perform the process for large components.

 

The company performing this process is expected to operate in accordance with the ISO9001 quality standard, and the entire operation must be repetitive, controlled at each stage, in accordance with the prescribed process.

 

The automotive product quality control department controls and documents the parameters. The manufactured protective layer will be checked: its thickness, hardness, durability, tightness, resulting color, roughness, and electrical resistance.

 

We operate in accordance with the management system designated by PN-EN ISO 9001:2015.

We offer high-quality anodizing products with maximum dimensions: 2200 x 1100 x 350 mm, and we can get the thickness of the technical layer: 5 – 25 μm, that is, we offer soft anodizing.

 

You can order from us to dye anodized items from the offered range of dyes. For anodizing it is necessary to provide items pre-cleaned and prepared, the rest of the treatments are already performed on-site.

As a few in Poland, we have a modern smoother which reduces machining costs and reduces its execution time. We control the thickness of the manufactured layer very carefully and its tightness.

The entire anodization process from importing components to their final coloration takes about two hours, and the wonderful effect remains for many years.