Why does Linetec operate its own trucking service?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith condensed construction schedules and limited room at the job site, we understand how important it is for customers to have their finished material arrive as specified and on time.

To provide the greatest convenience and the best possible quality control, we operate our own fleet of trucks. As the nation’s largest independent architectural finisher and contract hauler, this allows us to provide you with cost-effective, reliable, damage-free shipments. Distribution points, and regular pick-up and delivery routes strategically covering much of the U.S., allow for frequent shipments from our home in Wisconsin to you.

Truck Types

Your finished products are transported safely and efficiently by one of our three truck types.

  • Local trucking – Linetec’s semi-trailers and straight trucks are used for deliveries within a 30-mile radius of Wausau, Wisconsin. Enclosed trailers can haul carted material, as well as crates and skids.
  • Open-top trailers – Linetec’s hard-side, open-top trailers have an open or tarped roof that is ideal for overhead crane loading and unloading. The hard sides eliminate the need to strap down the material, and airbags can be used to snug the material to the walls. Open-top trailers also can be loaded and unload from the tail end at dock height with forklifts and pallet jacks.
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    Accordian trailer

    Accordion trailers –Linetec’s accordion trailers are a flatbed trailer, but with a rolling attached tarping system. It allows the same above, side or end loading and unloading without the need for strapping down and packaging the material, although skids and crates must have closed tops. Our accordion trailers are ideal for lineal shapes, bundles, boxes and crated material.

Using experienced drivers we ensure your material is delivered damage-free. On Linetec dedicated trucking, your material is never offloaded until it reaches the delivery location. We also offer custom packaging solutions – from boxing and master bundling to individually packaging material into crates. Helping our regular customers to save on packaging costs, time and labor, Linetec also offers a cradle rental program for shipping of lineal extrusions.

Regular Routes and Other Options

Depending on the frequency and urgency of your deliveries, we can provide several options:

  • Linetec Managed Trucking, Regular Route – For our customers with weekly deliveries and pick-ups, we arrange for transportation via a Linetec truck or an outsourced carrier.
  • Linetec Managed Trucking, Dedicated Run – For customers that have truckload quantities of material moving either one, or both directions (inbound and outbound), Linetec arranges a dedicated truck.
  • Customer Managed Trucking – For customers that prefer to make their own arrangements with carrier of their choice, via common carrier (LTL) or exclusive carrier (truckload material).

With Linetec trucking, our customers no longer need to spend time finding and scheduling a contracted hauler to make the delivery. Freight costs are also more economical for partial loads when customers are effectively able to share a truck with other customers on the same route. Because we manage the truck and the schedule, we can better ensure that material will be picked up and delivered on time to your facility and ours.

We have over 45 weekly truck runs, on 12 different routes, throughout the U.S., currently cover most of the states east of the Rocky Mountains. Do not hesitate to contact us if your needs fall outside of this area, we will provide service or arrange for trucking whenever possible.

Please click the links for PDF downloads of our inbound and outbound trucking guidelines, and contact us if we can assist you with trucking and packaging options.

Curved, finished and complete – What you should know about architectural stretch forming

Henry Ford Int MI

Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan, built in 1929, was renovated with large, arched top windows using stretch-formed, finished aluminum framing members 
Credit: Courtesy of Wausau Window and Wall Systems

Stretch forming was invented during the 1940s with the rise of the aerospace industry for the curving of aluminum aircraft parts to reduce weight, and thereby, fuel consumption. It expanded into car components and eventually, into the architectural industry. Architects and designers pursued new opportunities to create curved facades and building components.

The process of stretch forming is more of an art, than a science. It takes years of experience to become a skilled craftsperson that can stretch form consistent, successful, curved aluminum components for architectural projects.

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Stretch forming is a metal bending process in which a lineal shape, such as an aluminum extrusion, is stretched and bent simultaneously over a form, called a die.

Stretch forming is a metal bending process in which a lineal shape, such as an aluminum extrusion, is stretched and bent simultaneously over a form, called a die. Each form is built to the required radius. These forms may be customized for a special curvature and used only once, or re-used for more popular, repeating arcs.

Opportunities with stretch forming

Stretch forming capabilities typically include portions of circles, including half-circles and eyebrows, ellipses and arched shapes. These shapes can be formed with straight leg sections at one or both ends of the curve. This method of curving eliminates several conventional fabrication and welding steps.

The variety of shapes and cross-sections that can be stretch-formed is almost unlimited – from muntin bars and panning for windows, cladding and spirals for handrails, large mullions for building envelopes to serpentine shapes for canopies. Stretch forming allows architects, designers and builders to realize forms as graceful as they are sturdy and functional.

In most cases, the stretch-formed aluminum component’s curvature is so highly precise that even intricate multi-components and snap-together curtain wall components can be formed from metal without loss of section properties or original design function.

To achieve this level of precision, the basic stretch-forming machine has two arms or carriage beams that hold multiple-positioning gripping jaws. Both ends of the extrusion are inserted into the gripper jaws and stretched to their yield point. The jaws are attached to hydraulic tension cylinders that stretch the extrusion. The arms swing by rotating on large, machined pins with bearings that allow the extrusion to wrap around and against the form. This produces perfectly contoured products, while limiting or even eliminating wrinkling inside the arc. When the wrapping is completed, the stretch force is released and the gripper jaws are opened.

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It takes years of experience to become a skilled craftsperson that can stretch form consistent, successful, curved aluminum components for architectural projects.

Stretch forming maintains close and consistent tolerances with excellent repeatability, and alignments of complex profiles and compound curves. There should be no visible surface marring, distortion or ripples. These benefits inherent in the stretch forming process yield a smooth and even surface. Each component must meet the project’s specifications and warranty conditions.

Structural vs. non-structural application

Aluminum has proven to be a suitable, reliable material for load-bearing structures for more than 100 years. However, the application of the parts being curved dictates the process used.

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Vancouver’s PARQ Resort and Casino features a 23,000-square-foot façade with curved corners and curtainwall details made possible with stretch-formed aluminum framing members finished in clear anodize.
Credit: Courtesy of Gamma North Corporation

After being pushed through an extrusion press, extrusions are cut and placed into a tempering oven to harden and give them structural integrity. When they are fully hardened to a T5 or T6 temper, they are too hard to curve. If the parts to be curved have been fully tempered, they will need to be annealed before curving. To do this, the part is placed in a large oven and heated to a peak temperature range of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three hours.

Annealing makes the extrusion soft again—enabling it to be curved. Metal that is annealed cannot be hardened again. Once it is softened, it will remain soft. In applications where the parts are expected to carry a structural load or have another structural application, annealing generally is not an acceptable practice.

PARQ-Vancouver-all-stretchforming-(8WEBFor structural or load-bearing applications, the best practice is to have extrusions tempered to a soft state of T1, T4 or to a T52 state. Material tempered to a T1 or T4 can be bent without annealing, and can be tempered after the curving process to a T5 or T6 that is typical in structural applications. T52 is a very stable temper and can be curved without annealing, and it maintains its properties after curving without the need for additional tempering.

Painted or anodized finishes

Similar to the curving process, the end-use application of the part will determine the best practice for how curved parts should be finished. If an extrusion has been painted or anodized, and has been tempered to a T5 or T6 hardness before being curved, the parts will need to be annealed. The high heat associated with the annealing process likely will cause painted finishes to burn and anodized finishes to discolor or craze. For this reason, when parts require annealing, it is best to finish them after the curving process has been completed.

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Orlando International Airport’s new South Intermodal Terminal Facility showcases a segmented barrel vault skylight featuring aluminum framing that has been stretch formed, thermally improved and finished in Bright Silver 70% PVDF architectural coatings.
Credit: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

For extrusions tempered to a T1, T4 or T52 hardness, parts can be finished before curving. However, some marring or slight damage to the finished surface should be expected due to the parts being stretched across the form’s hard surface during the curving process. Depending on the tightness of the radius, anodic coatings also may craze or discolor as a result of being curved. If the T1 or T4 tempered extrusions require oven-aged tempering after curving, the high heat will likely damage the coating.

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The stretch forming process yields a smooth and even surface with each component meeting the project’s specifications and warranty conditions.

Regardless of the effect the curving process has on the finish, nearly all manufacturer and applicator warranties are voided when extrusions or brake metal are finished prior to curving. To obtain the best finish quality and to keep parts fully warranted, it is best to finish after curving—regardless of the temper of the extrusion. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) publishes industry-accepted specification standards for anodize and paint finishing of architectural aluminum components.

Thermally improved curves

Rolled-TB-Extrusion-web136At least one U.S. finishing and service provider also offers thermal improvement services for curved and radius, finished aluminum extrusions backed with an industry-leading warranty. The thermal improvement processes may be specified as either a full pour-and-debridge of radius material, both structural and non-structural, or a fully crimped thermal strut system. The service provider places no restrictions to the degree of curvature, and finishes may be specified in liquid paint, powder coat or anodize.

Installing the thermal barrier in the metal after it has been curved helps minimize stress on the thermal barrier and ensures performance as specified. Choosing the thermal strut system provides the additional design flexibility of dual finishing, where the interior and exterior surfaces may be finished in different colors and formulations.

Ensure that aluminum products’ thermal improvement options strictly comply with its material suppliers’ standards and AAMA’s quality assurance processing guidelines. For optimal quality and convenience, some finishers provide a single-source solution where stretch forming, thermal improvement and finishing are synchronized and retain the full warranty. When available, utilizing the finisher’s trucks also can reduce material handling and packaging to minimize the opportunity for damage, while saving costs and time.

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The basic stretch-forming machine has two arms or carriage beams that hold multiple-positioning gripping jaws. Photos courtesy of Southern Stretch Forming

 

Faux finish? Check out spattercoat.

Bridgeston Middle School 003Spattercoat finishing can mimic marble, stone, brick and other materials. Linetec offers spattercoat custom finishing with multi-colors, depth and texture. While this technique can be used on metal panel cladding systems, it more commonly is specified for architectural aluminum products, such as window and door frames, coping or soffits, to complement the look of adjacent façade components or interior decor.

At Linetec, our spattercoat is achieved by first painting the entire exposed aluminum surface with your specified under-coat color. On top of this, we apply additional colors of paint using a proprietary spattercoating technique. The paint spatters can be many or few, large or small, thick or thin. This produces the desired three-dimensional, textured effect.

spattercoat-12Spattercoat options are practically endless. In addition to simulating natural, earthy and artificial surfaces, we can help you create a truly unique and personalized building. Working within your prescribed color palette and brand identity guidelines, we can present a one-of-a-kind finished surface for a school, corporation or hospital.

If you’re looking outside of traditional color palettes, we also can match a color from almost any source you bring us. We’ve seen everything from hats to coffee mugs to furniture. Our in-house laboratory’s matching capabilities are unparalleled. Utilizing the latest technologies to analyze and formulate thousands of color variations ensures precise representation of your color selection.

Bridgeston Middle School 002While we understand your first priority in choosing spattercoat is the appearance it creates, we also know that performance is essential. Our spattercoat process utilizes 70 percent PVDF resin-based coatings to meet or exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s high-performance exterior specification, AAMA 2605. These painted finishes exhibit outstanding resistance to humidity, color change, chalk, gloss loss and chemicals, ensuring a long-lasting, durable finish with minimal maintenance.

To request metal color chip samples of Linetec’s most popular spattercoat finishes or for personalized assistance in selecting a finish for your project, please contact us.

 

Will it bend? Understanding stretch forming aluminum

big-8800-1Choosing a single partner to curve and finisher your architectural aluminum products offers a more efficient process with a higher quality result. At Linetec, our paint and anodize finishing options are both possible in combination with stretch forming services. Not only does this provide you with a single point of contact, it saves time and costs, and ensures a full warranty on the finished, curved materials.

What is stretch forming?

curved-metal-rack-698X400Stretch forming shapes aluminum sheets and extrusion profiles into simple or complex contoured curves with tensile and bending forces. The material is kept under constant tension, while wrapping it around a form, or die, to produce the desired arc.

Born from the aerospace industry, stretch forming maintains precise dimensions throughout a curve and produces perfectly contoured products while limiting, or even eliminating, wrinkling inside the arc.

Yale Peabody Closeup CTWhat shapes and sizes are possible?

Half circles (180 degrees) and eyebrow (usually 135 degrees) curves are the most popular requests that Linetec receives. These curves may be coupled with straight legs to create a larger opening as a window or door frame. Gothic arches also are common, especially for historic retrofit projects.

Larger arc lengths typically are specified on more modern facilities. Linetec can accommodate a maximum arc length of 260 inches. Those exceeding 260 inches can be reviewed and discussed. We can curved material up to 10 inches in width.

We can advise on accurate measurements to confirm the material dimensions meet your project’s requirements. A template will be needed for compound curves, which have more than one radius, and usually require a custom die.

Can thermal improvements be made to curved aluminum framing members?

Rolled-TB-Extrusion-web136At Linetec, not only can we coordinate the curving of your material and finish it in your choice of paint or anodize, we also can thermally improve the aluminum framing. We offer either a fully crimped, insulating, thermal, polyamide strut system or a three-step, pour-and-debridge process.

Both options separate the inside and outside aluminum framing members of a window, door, skylight, storefront or curtainwall system to reduce the amount of heat transfer, therefore saving energy and increasing occupant comfort.

Installing the thermal barrier in the metal after it has been curved helps minimize stress on the thermal barrier and ensures performance as specified.

What else can affect lead times, costs and warranties?

In addition to maintaining strict, factory-controlled standards by a single point of contact, relying on Linetec for your stretch forming, finishing and thermal improvement services also saves you time and money. You don’t need to coordinate between multiple suppliers’ facilities for logistics and freight. Which also minimizes handling and decreases the chances of your materials being damaged during loading and transport.

Nearly all manufacturer and applicator warranties require that the aluminum sheets and extrusions are finished after curving. When customers ship us their aluminum, Linetec alleviates this worry and performs all the services in the proper sequence and in the same place to retain the full finish warranty.

To learn more about how Linetec can support your next project with our stretch forming, finishing and thermal improvement services, please contact our regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

Church doors greet parishioners with the natural beauty and eternal appeal of wood, without the maintenance

St-Edwards-Church-(1-web)Seeking the look of wood without the maintenance, CMI Architectural Products turned to Linetec for help choosing the best finish option on the replacement doors for St. Edward Catholic Church.

Located in Minneota, Minnesota, the church’s doors are subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations, high winds and direct sunlight. With wood, these factors add up to ongoing, sometimes costly, maintenance issues. CMI’s aluminum doors minimize maintenance and, thanks to Linetec’s wood grain painted finishes, create the traditional aesthetic desired by the church’s leaders.

“The high-quality appearance not only greets parishioners from the building’s exterior, but also complements the real wood finishes on the interior,” said Jon Close, Linetec’s vice president of sales and marketing. “CMI’s doors on St. Edward provide a great example where the softness and warmth of wood is still desired and a hard, cleanable surface is still necessary. We’re also able to offer the preferred look of wood at less cost by using a dye sublimation, powder coat paint process.”

St-Edwards-Church-(2-2)-webLinetec’s Wood Grain Gold Series palette features 14 textured, wood grain patterns that meet the higher performance criteria of AAMA 2604. Additional finishes also are available as either textured or smooth in more than 50 wood grain patterns, these powder coat painted finishes meet the stringent standards of AAMA 2603 for color uniformity, specular gloss, dry film hardness and adhesion, as well as resistance to impact, chemicals, detergents, scratches, corrosion, salt spray and fading due to ultraviolet light. The coatings also are fire retardant, and resistant to water and humidity. Unlike natural wood, the finished aluminum does not swell, rot, warp or attract insects.

All of Linetec’s decorative, wood grain finishes may be selected for architectural products’ aluminum extrusions in lengths up to 24 feet and aluminum flat sheets in dimensions up to 4 by 12 feet. Supporting environmentally sound practices, these wood grain finishes utilize a powder coat process that does not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Wood grain finishes can be specified with aluminum utilizing recycled content, and may be recycled after its product lifespan.

St-Edwards-Church-(3-web)Beyond the rich, warm look of wood, Linetec also can provide customers with marble and stone finishes, floral and camouflage patterns, animal prints or custom logo graphics.

Please contact us for personalized service in selecting the correct finish on your next project and for samples of our wood grain finishes.

Thermal strut supports energy efficiency, curves and corners, dual finishes

strut05-webAdding insulating, thermal, polyamide strut to aluminum framing members separates the inside and outside metal, which greatly enhances a window, door, skylight, storefront or curtainwall system’s thermal performance. This thermal break reduces the amount of heat transfer, therefore saving energy and increasing occupant comfort.

At Linetec, we offer a fully crimped thermal strut system. We have no restrictions on the degree of curvature in aluminum framing members. For corners, our 90-degree thermal strip process not only saves time and labor, but also minimizes inconsistencies and waste, holds customer-specified tolerances for U-Factor and shear testing, and delivers a high-quality finished product.

two-tone2-webOur thermal strut also presents a cost-effective opportunity for dual finishing options, where one finish type or color is used on the exterior and another on the interior. Our finishes may be specified in nearly any color of liquid paint, in decorative wood grain finishes, or in anodize including our no-patina copper or brushed stainless finishes.

For more information on our thermal improvement and dual finishing services, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers , email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

Thermal pour-and-debridge services enhance energy efficiency and comfort

Aric-Dave-3-2017-lowresContributing to commercial and residential properties’ energy efficiency goals, high thermal performance has become an expectation when selecting window, skylight, curtainwall, storefront and entrance systems. Polyurethane pour-and-debridge systems are formulated for these exacting applications and suitable for withstanding the most demanding climates and conditions with the highest performance in impact resistance, sheer strength and heat distortion.

At Linetec, we use a three-step pour-and-debridge process, which can include an Azo-Brader or Lancer method mechanical lock. When needed, we also offer skip debridging and double debridging services. Our process results in thermally improved aluminum frame that helps building owners save energy and keeps building occupants comfortable.

Building owners and architects do not need to compromise performance for aesthetics if they want a radius instead of a rectangle, We offer a full pour-and-debridge of radius material, both structural and non-structural. We have no restrictions on the degree of curvature in aluminum framing members, including 90-degree corners.

As always, our finishes may be specified in nearly any color of liquid paint, in decorative wood grain finishes, or in anodize including our no-patina copper or brushed stainless finishes.

For more information on our thermal improvement and finishing services, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

How do you clean anodized aluminum?

CherryAirport09Anodized architectural finishing gives a tough and long-lasting surface to aluminum. This is particularly useful for high-traffic areas of a building, where hardness and abrasion resistance is vital. While anodize is as hard as sapphire (the second hardest substance in the world), it still requires regular maintenance and care.

Although anodized aluminum is exceptionally resistant to corrosion, discoloration and wear, it can be marred by harsh chemicals, abuse or neglect. Periodic maintenance inhibits long-term accumulation of soil, which can accelerate weathering of the finish.

It depends on the weather

The environment of the building will influence the cleaning frequency your anodized surfaces require. Factors such as smog, condensation or low rainfall areas can contribute to a surface needing more frequent cleanings to remove salt and dirt build-up. Areas that have seasonal rainfall to help remove water-soluble deposits and soil will require cleaning less often.

TampaMuseumofArt-close-up-webIt depends on the placement

Regardless of climate, recessed and sheltered areas usually become more heavily soiled because of the lack of rain-washing. Overhangs, bottoms of fascia panels and sheltered column covers are particularly susceptible to soil build-up. If not addressed, this can lead to accelerated weathering of the anodized finish. Integrating this as part of the building’s overall maintenance schedule is the most efficient and economical way to make sure soil and salt build-up is kept in check.

It depends on the build-up

The severity and tenacity of the soil build-up will determine progressively stronger cleaning procedures that can help maintain a building’s anodized surfaces. Be cautious. Experiment on a small area of the building, using stronger methods until you find the one that works.

  • For light soil, flush the surface with water using moderate pressure. Let it air dry and check to see if the build-up still remains.
  • If the build-up remains, move to scrubbing with a brush or sponge while spraying with water.
  • If, and only if, that does not remove the build-up, then add a mild detergent cleaner to the scrubbing.
  • If heavy surface soil persists, add an abrasive cleaning pad to the mild detergent washing. Be sure to always scrub in the direction of the metal grain.
  • If detergent is used, rinse the surface thoroughly, multiple times, with clean water after scrubbing, to avoid detergent residue building up in place of soil.

It depends on the cleaner

Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) or similar solvents should only be used to remove oil, wax, polish or similar material from your surface. Extreme care must be exercised to keep MEK from damaging any organic sealants, gaskets and finishes around anodized surfaces. If the anodize is protected with a clear, organic coating, do not use MEK solvent, as it may deteriorate or remove the coating completely. Do not use aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners on or near anodized aluminum.

It depends on deterioration

Even if well maintained, architectural finishes, including anodize, could eventually need repair. There are solutions for both minor and major damage and deterioration of anodize, so plan accordingly. For small scratches and rub marks, minor touch-up paint can be used. The paint should closely match the color of the factory-applied anodize finish. Use caution when applying touch up paint to the damaged area. Be aware that the touch-up paint will not be as hard as the original finish and is not intended for areas larger than a few square inches.

harsh-chemical-damage-webWhen larger anodized areas are damaged beyond what a simple touch-up can fix, it is time to call in a professional. Large, full-service finishing companies often employ field service workers who are able to prepare and apply architectural paint finishes in the field. The coating used should meet the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s AAMA 2605 specification and be tinted to match the existing finish. This can be a difficult goal, particularly if only a portion of the existing surface is being refinished or the finish has already experienced some fade. Be certain to ask for an onsite sample to approve of before the full project begins.

Learn more about anodizing and its care and maintenance by clicking here. For personalized assistance in selecting or repairing anodize finishes for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

Shining the spotlight on Brushed Stainless anodize

LinetecBrushedStainlessAnodize-web2Those of you who have visited us at this year’s industry events were treated to a preview of our new proprietary Brushed Stainless anodize finish. We are excited to announce that this finish is ready for the spotlight and for your specification.

Stainless steel has long been used in the architectural construction industry for its luster, richness and highly reflective appearance. This unique look could only be found in stainless steel until now.

Our new Brushed Stainless anodize finish emulates the clean, bright surface that architects and specifiers find desirable in stainless steel. Helping enhance and protect architectural aluminum products, Brushed Stainless anodize creates a similar look on aluminum offering a more cost effective, lightweight option.

BS-banner-webDue to cost, stainless steel can be value-engineered out of a project. Our new Brushed Stainless finish offers the popular look of stainless steel at less cost and almost one-third the weight of actual steel, with greater fabrication flexibility and all the strengths of anodize. It resists fingerprints and scratching, and requires minimal maintenance including in high-traffic areas offering excellent wear and abrasion resistance.

A high-performance anodized finish has an extremely long life span, has exceptional stability to UV rays, is non-hazardous and produces no harmful or dangerous by-products. In line with Linetec’s core value of Environmental Responsibility, Linetec has implemented the newer electro-polishing technology to achieve the highly reflective aesthetic properties of stainless steel on aluminum.

Linetec’s anodize finishes meet the requirements of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s stringent Class I specification standard, AAMA 611-14. The anodized aluminum resists the ravages of time, temperature, corrosion, humidity and warping, for a long product life cycle. Anodized aluminum may be specified with recycled content and is 100 percent recyclable.

shutterstock_flat sheets-webFor more information on our new Brushed Stainless anodized finish, or for personalized assistance in selecting and specifying the right coating for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers , email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.

How does aluminum become anodized?

LinetecAnodize_web-300dpiAnodizing is the most durable and long-lasting option for finishing architectural aluminum building products. An electrochemical process, anodizing produces a finish that resists the ravages of time and environment. However, there are important things to note about color selection for anodized aluminum.

Linetec’s two-step electrolytic anodizing process , where the anodizing and coloring of the aluminum occur in two separate steps, involves:

  • first placing the aluminum in a solution of sulfuric acid and water, then charging it with electrical current to form aluminum oxide on the surface.
  • then after anodizing is complete, parts can be immersed in a bath containing an inorganic metal such as tin, cobalt or nickel, which is deposited in the anodic pores to achieve color.

anodize-ring2-webAs a result, anodized finishes’ color choices range from clear to champagne to a variety of bronze tones to black. Linetec also offers a copper anodize, which involves an additional color tank, using actual copper to color the aluminum while isolating the copper in the coating. This process makes the copper color very stable and consistent.

Anodic oxide is not affected by ultraviolet light and is resistant to scratches, which help ensure color stability.

Due to the chemical process used to create an anodized finish, the possibility of color variation can be a concern during its application. Here are some factors to keep in mind to minimize the variation from your desired color:

  • Single source it. While the aluminum is anodized during the process, other metals (silicon, zinc, magnesium, etc.) present in the aluminum alloy can respond differently, resulting in unwanted variation of color. Reduce this risk by having all metal used for a project come from a single source/extruder, and from one lot of material. Also, avoid using aluminum with different alloys, as it will not yield uniform results.
  • Request a range sample. Because it is impossible to know the effect non-aluminum metals in the material will have on the final product’s color, be sure to ask your anodizer for a range sample before sending them your product for finishing. An anodize range sample is two anodize color chips for the same color, with one showing the lightest extreme of appearance to be expected on the finished parts and one showing the darkest. Be aware that the lighter the anodize finish, the more noticeable the range. Be sure to speak with any potential anodizer to see what range of variation they can guarantee. AAMA’s industry-leading standards specify that the range should not differ by more than 5 Delta E. A quality anodizer may be able to keep the range of a color even lower.
  • Bend then finish.  Anodic films are very hard, and as a result, most post-production bending causes a series of small cracks in the finish that give it a spider-web appearance. To avoid this, have as much bending and forming of the material completed before it is sent to receive its finish.
  • Weld with care.  If your metal has any welds on it, the anodization process can cause a halo effect of localized discoloration around them. Welding with the proper 5356 alloy welding wire and the lowest heat possible helps minimize this.

Select an aluminum finisher that utilizes automation in its anodize process to reduce inconsistencies. An automated system controls and monitors the process, including tank sequencing, chemical add, voltage, current, time and temperature, which ensures the most consistent anodize finish possible.

Learn more about anodizing by clicking here. For personalized assistance in choosing an anodize color for your aluminum building products, please contact Linetec’s regional sales managers, email sales@linetec.com or call 888-717-1472.