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Anodize and Perma-Coat Colors>>>>
vs. Powder Coat ?
We get many questions from
our customers on which is the best. The fact is, both have strengths and weaknesses.
We’ll talk a little about anodize first, since it’s been around
for decades. Anodize is an electrical plating process which actually penetrates
the surface of aluminum. It creates a very hard protective surface layer when
applied properly. First of all, there is good anodize and there is the not so
good anodize. The difference between the two can come from several causes. Most
of the complaints in the boating world are with regards to anodize color fade.
The color in anodized parts is created by dyeing a part in a special dye, after
the actual anodize process is done. A sealing process then follows. Several
things can contribute to premature color fade; poor quality dye or old weak
dye, poor or weak sealer after the dye process, or a weak initial anodize itself.
Quality of dye, chemicals, plating time, and the experience of the technician
that performs the plating all are critical factors in achieving good results.
At Rex Marine, we use the best plating facility where the technicians know what
the concerns are with anodize for marine use. Prematurely faded parts are very
rare from us. We perform actual sunlight colorfast testing regularly on actual
production parts to ensure we are getting consistent high quality plating. (The
UV in sunlight is the main culprit that attacks anodize color). We also perform
side-by-side tests on parts made by competitors. The results are often quite
different. We’ve seen some parts turn almost colorless in less than a
month outdoors. Unfortunately, the reputation of anodize often suffers because
many people don’t realize there’s a big difference in quality. It’s
important to note that purple and red anodize dyes both have relatively low
colorfast ratings and will fade much faster than the other colors.
Now a little on Powder Coat.
It’s very important to realize that powder paint has strong characteristics
as well as weak ones just as anodize does. Powder Coat encompasses a broad family
of paint products which are applied in dry powder form to electrically charged
metal objects and then baked on at high temperature. As paint goes, it is very
durable. Powder Coat finishes come in a wide range of quality and colors. While
some powder coatings are very tough and durable, others perform and look quite
poor. A number of marine part suppliers market powder coated billet products
under a number of different trade names. We’ve tested many coatings which
failed, flaked off, chipped easily, and just generally looked bad, and we’ve
tested some that perform and look quite good. With this testing process we’ve
determined which paints work well, adhere well, while at the same time look
good. We feel we have now found the best quality coatings available for marine
use. We are now offering these coatings on many of our billet hardware products
under the name “Perma-coat”.
- In the Marine Environment
Anodize - Basic
bright colors available
Powder Coat - More selection of colors including white and some that have a
deep candy luminescence
Anodize - When
properly applied, normal fade will take several years to occur to a level where
a part looks poor. However, when improperly applied and even with certain colors
applied properly, fading can occur very rapidly. Purple and Red dyes
typically have the worst fade properties of the colors available.
- Very resistant to fade. Also, can be color sanded like most standard paints
to remove surface imperfections or
oxidation that may naturally occur over time.
Anodize - Very
tough, can be scratched with a hard sharp blow but will not chip or flake after
an initial surface intrusion. Salt water will still eat away at any exposed
scratched metal, however.
Powder Coat - Very tough for paint, but no match for anodize in this area. After
an initial chip, corrosion may set in, rapidly causing additional paint separation.
Corrosion can also start at any area of a part that is not painted well (like
the back side) or at any point on a part that normally rubs or wears (such as
a hinge). We hesitate to recommend even our Perma-Coat for salt water applications
for this reason.
Anodize - Excellent
when applied to a high quality polished surface.
Powder Coat - Some colors are excellent, while others inherently tend to have
varying amounts of orange peel. This orange peel can be color sanded out in
many cases however, if a person spends the time to do it. Also, like any paint,
introduced in the painting process shows up as irregularities in the surface,
and from our experience an absolute dust-free part is quite rare.
Its not our objective
here to sway anyone either way - Just to give you the facts. We offer both finishes,
therefore we have no benefit in pushing one process over the other. We feel
that both have their place in the custom boat market. Each individual needs
to choose based on the facts and their own preference of color choice, resistance
to fading, anti-corrosion properties, etc.. There is advertising present in
the marketplace which is very slanted toward one process over the other, primarily
from competitors who only offer one type of finish. This advertising typically
exposes only the weak points of the process not offered and only the strong
points of the process they have. We feel you ought to be aware of the positives
and negatives of both finishes. We hope this information helps you make a knowledgeable
and informed choice in both your billet hardware selection, and also whom you
choose to be your supplier.
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