Sanford Process Quantum® Hardcoat Colors vs. Traditional Hardcoat and Color Anodize – From Jack Tetrault, President of Sanford Process Co.
Woonsocket, RI (February 6, 2014)
“Can I really get a true anodic hardcoat that exhibits vivid, crisp and true color?” This is a question we get asked over and over and the answer is…..”Yes” – if you have a vendor who uses a Sanford Low Voltage rectifier. Without it, you will either get a very thin hard coat, a dull lifeless color, or a type II anodized product that is being passed off as hardcoat. Here’s why:
Conventional hardcoat is produced by using an electrolyte at 32˚F while applying a current density of 25 – 50 amps per square foot (ASF) to the aluminum being anodized. This process will yield a natural color (“Natural” Hardcoat) that is usually a darkish grey, green or brown depending on the aluminum alloy (and your eyesight) at thicknesses of .0016” – .0024” (mil spec thickness). Even at a thickness as low as .0007” on most alloys, the coating will have a noticeable shade undertone. Given the discoloration of the oxide, it is impossible to dye the coating and have the color be true, crisp or even recognizable as it was intended. For example red may appear dark burgundy or maroon. This is a reality because anodic coatings take on color through dyes that flood the anodic coating pores before sealing. Unlike pigment chemistry found in powder coating for example, dyes work by coloring the base material in the same way as dyes color fabric. Like a fabric, the dyes require a bright substrate to produce a bright color – otherwise, the resulting color will be dulled or darkened to the degree the substrate is dull or dark.
In order to achieve true, crisp colors, the anodic coating must remain clear or translucent before dying so that when the dye is absorbed into the pores it will show its true color, such as, fire engine red, sky blue, orange-orange, etc. Type II anodize does exactly that because of the process conditions. It stays clear at thickness as much as .0009” BUT it is not hardcoat as the current densities are very low. Consequently, Type II anodize is very easily scratched and abraded.
Sanford Process QUANTUM® hardcoat, on the other hand, can produce CLEAR hardcoat that can be dyed to beautiful colors. There are NO other systems in the world capable of producing this type of coating that can pass military specifications for hardness, thickness, and corrosion resistance (i.e., certified as hardcoat) for medical, marine and military applications.
An easy way to check whether you have a Type II anodic coating versus a Sanford Process QUANTUM® hardcoat is to run the point of a sharp knife over the surface. A Type II coating will gauge over time while a hardcoat will blunt the knife – in fact, you may see lines on the hardcoat that is metal from the knife. (You can wipe these lines off.) So don’t pay for a thoroughbred and get a donkey. Make sure you get the wear resistance and quality you are paying for.
See the difference yourself, request samples of Sanford Process Quantum® hardcoat Colors by clicking here.
© 2014 Jack Tetrault, Sanford Process Co., All Rights Reserved