Editorial Magazine 2018/1

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''The Bad Prophets Defeated''

 

The last ten years in the history of surface finishing have seen the development of painting, considered by some as the alternative to anodizing, and by others even as the technology destined to supplant and replace this process by the year 2000.
I have known many prophets of this school. They include those selling paints and painting plants, paint appliers or paint consultants, all of them always ready to trim their sails to suit the prevailing wind.
Well, dear self-appointed prophets, keep your minds on your jobs and stop issuing prophesies, at least for the next thirty years.
In spite of the boom in painting, anodizing is in better health than ever; it is constantly renewing itself, modernizing and setting fashions, but above all it provides quality and is starting to be used as a pretreatment for painting, to prolong its life and stop it falling ill with the filiform corrosion virus. Let's take a more analytical look at the situation.

Until a few years ago, everyone took it for granted that anodizing was going to be swept aside by painting, because of the limited range of colours resistant to outdoor conditions it was able to offer. In response, we have seen the invention and testing of a revolutionary technology able to produce new colours with the guarantee of electrocolouring, from grey to blue, green, golden yellow and brick red. Many architects are already showing enthusiasm and some leading firms are buying the technology, others are booking it, and yet others are starting to prepare the market.

The first problems with painting came to light after years of its unregulated use; the process has only been governed by norms, specific control/ tests and a quality mark for a very few years.
The producers of painted elements give guarantees of about ten years, while the purchasing specifications for anodized parts indicate up to twenty years, thanks to the sound bases offered by over fifty years' experience, and buildings constructed in the '60s or '70s with anodized aluminium frames that are still in excellent condition.

Now we come to the early 90's. In various countries worldwide, people were starting to notice an unusual type of corrosion on painted aluminium, known as filiform corrosion because of its strange long, narrow, threadlike shape. Filiform corrosion seemed to be unpredictable, appearing in some cases but not in others, sometimes after one year, sometimes after five. It was discussed all over the world, at all the congresses. Our journal also carried many technical articles on the topic. Everyone talked about it, but it seemed insoluble.
Then a familiar rabbit popped out of the hat: anodizing, yes anodizing, seems to be the best way of saving painting. Naturally, we mean anodizing as pretreatment: 3-6 microns seems to solve the problem perfectly. Users simply have to adopt a specific know-how and the anodic oxide prevents filiform corrosion, also providing an excellent substrate for adherence of the paint.

World's largest firms are investing in anodizing and are building huge plants for large outputs and very high quality, not only for architectural application, but also for automotive, furniture, mechanical applications.
If anyone is asking "for whom the bell tolls ", the right answer is certainly not for anodizing.
And perhaps our prophecies, familiar to those who read us month by month, were not wrong, when we talked in terms of two sectors and two markets destined to operate side by side, with neither overcoming the other.

 

 

Truly yours,
Walter Dalla Barba,
Editor and Chairman of the 11th Aluminium Two Thousand Congress, Treviso 2019

 


 

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