Durable, Scratch-Resistant LUMICLAD® Finish

Description

Durable, scratch-resistant LUMICLAD® finish is a new, better alternative to black anodizing aluminum components. This 30-minute process develops a coating thickness of .000060 inches (1.5 micron), with a smooth, clean surface that is electrically conductive and tightly adherent to the aluminum substrate.

The black LUMICLAD finish is an ideal finish for precision machined components with critical dimensions, or for mating surfaces that require break-in lubricity and galling resistance. The finish has a uniform thickness that will not close down hole diameters or change critical part dimensions. Its inherent lubricity make it the ideal choice for sliding contacts, such as piston/cylinder assemblies, piston ring grooves, etc.  In addition, the finish is electrically conductive and works very well on assemblies requiring a chassis ground.
            The patent-pending LUMICLAD process delivers a smooth satin black finish with a slightly porous crystal structure that absorbs an optional topcoat, such as clear polymer, light oil or dry-to-touch sealant. The resulting finish is well suited for many aluminum components, large and small, including tooling/fixturing devices, sliding assemblies, electronic subframes and many types of decorative surfaces. (Photo Two)
            Prior to the development of this new blackening process, black anodizing had been the only viable blackening option for manufacturers of aluminum components. While the anodized finish is extremely durable, the process is so complex that only those who specialize in it can operate it properly and consistently. And, though the protective properties of a black anodized finish are quite high, they are often higher than the application requires, and at significant cost.
            Conventional black anodizing requires parts to be manually clamped onto spring-clip racks to ensure electrical contact. For this reason, small parts cannot be processed economically. Because the LUMICLAD process requires no electrical current, small parts can be economically bulk-processed in baskets or rotating polypro barrels. This opens the door to economical blackening of low-value parts, such as stampings, screw machine parts, fasteners and other parts that require lubricity or galling resistance, but are not good candidates for anodizing.
           
The LUMICLAD process utilizes a conventional immersion tank process line. It is easy and safe to operate so that manufacturers can operate it themselves, thereby eliminating the need for outside processing. In most installations, seven tanks and about 30 minutes from start to finish.
           
“The LUMICLAD concept is a very significant finishing breakthrough,” reports Mark Ruhland, vice president of Birchwood Casey. “No other non-electrolytic blackening process offers as many benefits to the user in terms of easy and safe operation, streamlined workflow, low operating costs and high quality.”
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