Quick and Low-Cost Finishing Options for Low-Volume Parts
When you need parts finished, there are many finishing options to choose from. But what makes sense for production runs may not actually be your ideal solution for low-volume parts.
In addition to the quantity of parts, factors like custom colors, durability, budget, and lead time all factor into making the right finishing selection.
The team at Ameritex is here to provide you with recommendations before or after you request a quote, but it’s always better if you know your options upfront.
3 Finishing Options for Low-Volume Parts
Finishing Option #1: Anodizing, Zinc Plating, or Galvanizing
Since anodizing, zinc plating, and galvanizing have minimum charges of up to $250 per lot plus a delivery fee, we try to avoid these finishing options for lower quantity orders.
In terms of durability, powder coating is similar to anodizing and zinc plating. It’s also more cost-effective at lower volumes and an option we offer in-house at Ameritex. That said, if you want the sleek appearance of an anodized finish, we can make it happen. Just be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars, even for only a handful of parts.
Galvanized finishes are a little trickier because it’s difficult to match the extremely durable, heavy duty properties with another finish. To avoid galvanizing for low-volume parts, we often recommend a material swap instead. Switching from carbon steel to a stainless steel or aluminum can add corrosion resistance to your part and eliminate the need for a galvanized finish.
Finishing Option #2: Powder Coating
Powder coating, which involves electrostatically applying a dry powder to the surface of a part and then curing it in an oven to set it in place, is durable, environmentally friendly, and has a fast turnaround.
It’s an ideal option for low-volume parts, provided we have the color in stock here at Ameritex or it’s available from Powder Buy the Pound. Note that if you need a custom color we can’t quickly source, we’ll have to go through a powder vendor. That usually means a minimum purchase price that isn’t cost-effective for low-volume parts.
Finishing Option #3: Wet Paint
Although wet paint is more expensive than powder coating, it’s still a much cheaper alternative to anodizing, zinc plating, or galvanizing low-volume parts.
If you need a custom color that we can’t easily source for powder coating, we’ll usually recommend wet paint instead. Coat for coat, powder coating is more durable than wet paint, but we can always put three coats of wet paint on a part to make it comparable to other finishes.
For example, we had a customer whose part originally called for a hot dipped galvanized finish for a low volume of parts. We were able to achieve the same specifications using three coats of wet paint and a zinc rich primer.
At the end of the day, powder coating will usually end up being the quickest and cheapest finishing option that can also maintain the durability your parts require.
Plan for an additional turnaround of one day for powder coating, three days for wet paint, and up to 10 days for anodizing, zinc plating, or galvanizing.
Ready to get started on your next precision sheet metal fabrication project? Request a quote and someone from the Ameritex team will respond in 24 hours!