Organizations that provide coating services for different types of components are known as coating service providers. These providers can range from a one man shop with a small system that provides rough electroplating of low quality to highly sophisticated production lines with excellent powder coating and electro-coating services. Most coatings are done to provide extra protection to an item or material or to give it a decorative finish.
Coatings can be applied to many types of materials such as stainless steel, leather, glass, ceramic, wood, fiber, plastic, and metals, etc. The coatings are made to help protect against things such as corrosion, heat, electrical interference, scratching and other abrasions, and thermal shock, etc. Coatings can also be used to add and enhance the functionality in terms of electrical/thermal conductivity, etc.
Coating is done by an assortment of processes such as: powder coatings, dip coatings, electroplating, anodizing, galvanizing, and spraying, etc. The coating may vary in thickness from a few microns to a few millimeters. There are many types of coatings that can be applied such as: rubber, aluminum, copper, silver, gold, acrylic, boron nitride, titanium nitride, ceramic, epoxy, furan, graphite, plastic, latex, nylon, phenolic resins, plastisol, polyurethane, teflon, silicone, tin, chrome, wax, zinc, and vinyl, etc.
Coating services involve not only the actual coating process, but also the crucial pre-coating steps that prepare the surface to be coated. To improve the adhesion and bonding process, these surfaces need to be cleaned/blasted with abrasives and polished or buffed before the coating is applied to them. In addition, the surface can be electrically or chemically treated to remove chemicals and free ions that may have been bonded. Finally, denting, deburring, and polishing with emery papers, etc. may be done on the item’s surface.
After the coating is applied, it needs to be dried in a proper temperature gradient so that the coating does not crack, but remains bonded. Light polishing or buffing may be done to enhance the appearance and to get a glossy finish. Needless to say, utmost care must be taken while moving the finished product from the coating service provider to the assembly shop.