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HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PARTS FOR FINISHING

August 17, 2020


The machine run is over, the parts are finished, and now it’s time to bung them on a pallet and ship them to the anodizing shop. But wait a second: there is more you can do!  In fact, there is a LOT more you can do to ensure you get the best possible anodizing.

 Inspect your parts

We frequently receive parts that have clearly not been inspected prior to shipment to our shop. Edges that have not been deburred, missing holes, cosmetic surfaces that have clearly been missed…we have seen it all. Even though we conduct a cursory receiving inspection, the purpose of that inspection is primarily to confirm quantities and ensure there was not damage during transportation. Sometimes we don’t notice manufacturing defects and other irregularities until the parts reach final inspection in our shop, at which point they are probably scrap. That’s a huge waste of money because you not only shipped the part but you’re going to have to re-make it, and we’re still going to charge you for processing the reject. Sorry!

Clean your parts

It’s rare, but we have actually rejected shipments of parts because they were too dirty. Machining fluid, lubricants, metal shards, greasy hand prints, footprints (yes, footprints!) foreign object debris, bird turd, PVC wrapping and various other impediments to good anodizing have been known to arrive in our shop, still attached to parts. While parts go through a number of cleaning processes prior to anodizing, none of them is intended to deal with the list of offences to harware hygiene I just listed. We have had customers inquire how gunk got into the holes on their parts, or why there are metal filings messing with high tolerance threads. The simplest reason is usually the correct one: it was there when you sent us the parts. Anodizing doesn’t create hole gunk or metal shavings! Similarly, grease and other forms of shop grime – even mill marks – will not be removed without very aggressive cleaning and degreasing, which many metal finishing shops are not set up for. When the parts leave your building, they should be clean of any dirt, soil, foreign substances and also free of corrosion. 

Package your parts properly

My heart sank not long ago when some beautiful, cosmetic parts were ready for pickup and the customer arrived with an open, flat deck truck in the middle of a rainstorm. He threw a tarp over the pallet and away he went. Rain won’t damage the anodizing, but that was still a hard thing to watch. Generally speaking, we will send your parts back to you the way you sent them to us. If they were individually packaged when they arrived, you can expect them back the same way, even in the same material, as long as it’s not greasy and dirty. If your parts were tumbled into a box, well, we wouldn’t do that. But we would assume that apart from preventing damage to the finish, no other special handling was required. For large, machined parts, our favorite customer packaging – most commonly used on repeating orders – are foam-lined crates with slots for individual parts. They are well protected and almost impossible to damage during transit. We have received any number of cardboard boxes that have been ripped open, run over, crushed, soaked, slit, and subjected to a range of other indignities. Make sure your parts are well packaged!

Provide instructions

In this series of articles, I have often mentioned the importance of purchase orders. If you absolutely need something, put it on your purchase order! That includes shipping and packaging instructions, manual cleaning, special handling, or virtually anything else you can think of.

For a free consultation on your anodizing, chem conversion, NDT or primer requirements, please call me at +1 (604) 459-2868.