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Metal Surface Treatments

About Metal Surface Treatments

Today numerous metal parts manufacturers employ surface treatments to change one (or more) of the exterior properties of a workpiece.

Often applied during the finishing stage, this type of value-added treatment frequently contributes to marketability.

A wide variety of surface treatments modify metal parts to modify specific color, luster, corrosion resistance, hardness, and/or other aspects of the exterior.

Defining Surface Treatment Operations

Essentially, surface treatment operations include measures taken specifically to change an exterior property of a part to achieve the desired result. They encompass both the removal of material from and the addition of material to, a workpiece.

Metal components utilized in many industries undergo one or more surface treatment operations, usually during the finishing phase of production.

Both the interior volumetric properties of a metal part and the exterior properties matter in terms of the quality and performance of the individual component. For example, the surface condition may determine whether or not one part will bond to another, or accept coatings or printing.

Manufacturers may decide to apply surface operations in order to impact the texture, the electrical conductivity or the cleanliness of the part. The ability of the surface to absorb or repulse moisture and to adhere to other materials may also factor into the selection of surface treatments.

An Illustration of The Use of Surface Treatments

Consider a few popular reasons why a manufacturer of metal parts might decide to select a particular surface treatment to change a component’s exterior properties. The following does not attempt to supply an all-inclusive listing by any means; it simply offers some representative illustrations.

These examples demonstrate why so many manufacturers of metal parts ultimately decide to seek surface treatment services:

Enhancing Luster

How often does a customer walk into a retail store and select the shiniest, most attractive product from the shelf?

Decoration and reflectivity both frequently play a role in consumer buying decisions. Although many metal parts do not serve as visible components within a mechanical or industrial assembly, some do.

Manufacturers seeking to create components with surface properties capable of fulfilling a decorative role may well decide to request surface treatments intended to augment the final appearance of the part.

One illustration of this trend occurs within the automotive industry, where many automakers choose to produce extremely lustrous, decorative finished components to spur the retail sales of their products.

From chrome-plated engine parts to stylish, attractively colored grilles and hubcaps, the use of surface treatments to help generate aesthetically appealing parts has gained popularity.

Enhancing Hardness 

Yet another common reason to include metal surface treatments relates to increasing the hardness of a component’s exterior. Numerous examples of this rationale exist across a broad array of economic sectors.

Choosing to harden a metal surface may extend the anticipated lifespan of some parts, in fact. It may also enable an end user to subject a component to heavier daily use without suffering catastrophic failures or metal fatigue. An illustration involves surface hardening applied to the exterior of some flathead nails.

Instead of bending or breaking easily when hammered, nails subjected to this surface treatment display an improved ability to withstand the heavy pounding from a hammer. Another example occurs in surface hardening treatments applied to the exteriors of some thin gears.

These types of operations may ultimately permit a gear to endure a hot engine environment for a longer period of time.

Improving Corrosion Resistance

One frequent reason to request the performance of surface treatments relates to improving the ability of a metal surface to withstand corrosion in certain harsh environments.

All metal surfaces eventually deteriorate, of course. Yet components that undergo some surface treatments will withstand insults better.

Why Do Our Surface Treatment Services Appeal to Customers?

The metal finishing operations performed by Bunty LLC consist of three types:

  1. Machining (including honing, grinding and milling)
  2. Heat treatments designed to enhance the strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance of metal parts (including annealing)
  3. Other metal surface treatments (including many of the treatments encompassed within the preceding paragraphs).

Some workpieces undergo all three types of finishing operations. The third category supplies a number of advantages for customers seeking to enhance the appearance (and thus the marketability) of metal components.

Metal surface treatments allow parts manufacturers to modify specific exterior properties of metal surfaces to attain desired changes.

For example, they may help produce components with painted, powder-coated, or lustrous exteriors. Consider utilizing these operations to enable your products to gain enhanced competitiveness in the marketplace!

About Four Important Surface Finishing Operations

During surface finishing operations in fabrication environments, manufacturers may transform the exterior appearance of metal workpieces.

Some examples of popular modern surface finishing operations include the following:


Also known as “electrophoretic painting,” this operation usually involves a manufacturer submerging a metal workpiece in an electrified bath of liquid containing a colloidal suspension of acrylic or epoxy paint.

The electrical charge causes the paint to adhere to the part. The manufacturer rinses off the excess residue and cures the piece to create a hard, brilliant coating.

TiN Coating

A manufacturer applies a thin coat of Titanium Nitride (or “tinite”) to a metal surface composed of aluminum, steel, carbide or titanium alloys in order to create an attractive, very hard, exterior shell.

Laser Engraving

The use of a laser permits a manufacturer to indelibly mark or decorate a workpiece; this operation allows the application of serial numbers, for example.


A thin coat of zinc is used to protect a base metal, typically steel, from corrosion.


For further information about our metal surface treatment services, contact us via the convenient website form or submit a request for quote directly.

We welcome your inquiries.

About us

From a contract manufacturing firm, BuntyLLC evolved into a full service custom machined, forged and cast metal parts fabrication enterprise. We supply global solutions from our headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina.

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