Steel fabrication is not a single process — it is a combination of multiple processes that are used to create steel products that meet the exacting specifications of different users. Regardless of the steel project that you want to undertake, your steel products will require finishing.
As the final step in the process of manufacturing steel products, steel finishing involves placing some kind of coating over the surface of substrate steel. While this is done to improve the surface qualities of the final products in different ways, steel finishing serves two main purposes as highlighted below.
Protecting substrate steel
As an alloy metal made by combining iron with carbon, steel is highly susceptible to rust damage. When the iron in steel is exposed to air, a chemical reaction known as oxidation will occur, resulting in rust formation on the surface of the metal. Rusting can also occur when steel is exposed to water or moisture. This is because water contains an oxygen atom that can cause an oxidation reaction.
To protect steel from rust damage, it is important to apply a protective coating over its surface. This should be the primary goal of any steel finishing process. Several finishing techniques are available for protecting steel. Some commonly used techniques include:
- Powder coating
- Cathodic protection
- Oil application
Each of these rust-proofing methods has specific properties, pros, and cons that make them more suitable for certain applications than others. As a result, how your steel fabricator chooses to prevent rust will depend on your particular application.
While protection from rust and other destructive elements should be the first priority when selecting a steel finishing process, the appearance of the final products matters, too, especially in projects that prioritise aesthetics.
Aside from preventing the formation of unsightly rust on steel components, steel finishing can also be specified to give the exact appearance that you want for your steel. Whether you want your steel shiny or colourful, there is a steel finishing process that can match your needs.
When it comes to steel projects, it is important that you use components or products that have been specifically designed and made for your project. The experts at a custom steel fabrication company near you can help you assess your project needs and make the right choices, from design to completion. Get in touch with a steelwork company to get started right away.