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What Are The Different Types Of Metal Finishing?

metal manufacturing.Metal finishing is one of the last manufacturing processes in metalworking as it provides necessary environmental protection as well as aesthetically pleasing parts. The type of finishing applied to a part is dependent on a variety of factors such as where the part is used and specific durability requirements. 

The overall benefits of selecting a metal finish treatment can far outweigh the costs needed to implement a finish depending on the application. Some of the general benefits include:

  • Abrasion resistance
  • Chemical/Corrosion resistance
  • Electrical resistance
  • Improved durability
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Types of Metal Finishing

As each metal part has its own unique requirements, the type of metal finish selected can greatly impact the performance and durability of the part. Some of the types of metal finishing are:


This process uses a chemical bath to coat the surface with a thin metal such as nickel or zinc. One option is electroless plating, meaning no electric current is involved in the plating process (non-galvanic) and another option is electroplating, where an electric current is involved in the finishing. 

Both types of plating continue to be popular methods used to increase durability and to protect parts against corrosion
indoor orange construction.


Using an abrasive belt or wire brush, this process involves physically brushing the part to achieve a smoother exterior. This process can drastically improve surface imperfections but may require an additional cleaning step to rinse off oil and grit.


The grinding process uses abrasive wheels to smooth out surfaces. Using a variety of methods ranging from grinding machines, bench grinders, wheel grinders, or handheld power tools, the manufacturer can reduce surface roughness.


A cost-effective method of surface finishing by placing abrasive pellets inside a drum and applying a tumbling vibration with the parts inside. The pellets and vibration levels can be modified and adjusted to suit the specified surface finish.

Powder Coating

A highly durable decorative finish where an electrostatic process is used to bind the powder to the metal subject. Using a spray gun, the parts are first coated with powder and then run through a high heat curing oven. A chemical reaction occurs during the curing period in which the coating binds to the substrate.

indoor door bathroom.

Heat Treating

Using tight temperature controls, the heat treat process is where metal is heated and cooled to the desired specifications. By applying heat at a particular temperature, maintaining the heat for a specified period, and then cooling the material, the overall properties and durability of the metal are improved. 

When selecting a metal finish, various factors need to be considered such as the type of metal used, cost-effectiveness of the finish, and production speed. At McAlpin Industries, we can assist in selecting the best finish for your low to high volume metal parts. With our array of value-added finish capabilities, we have the ability to accommodate most finish specifications. See how our engineers can help determine the best finish for your part today at

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