Surface engineering services analyze and modify a surface or near-subsurface region to promote adhesion or improve service performance against chemical, mechanical, thermal, or environmental conditions. They differ in terms of capabilities, materials processed, and industries served. Surface engineering services are located across North America and around the world. Typically, they perform processes such as ion implantation, shot peening, laser peening, friction stir processing (FSP), isotropic surface finishing (ISF), and plasma treatment.
Surface engineering services also provide abrasive blasting, abrasive flow machining (AFM), anodizing, burnishing, and case hardening services. Abrasive blasting services use power spraying and/or a tumble chamber to remove all of metal’s visible rust, mill scale, paint and contaminants. Abrasive flow machining or AFM services use a mixture of abrasive grain and a high-viscosity carrier media. Anodizing is a process for finishing aluminum alloys. It employs electrolytic oxidation of the aluminum surface to produce a protective oxide coating. Surface engineering services that perform burnishing and case hardening are commonly available.
Some surface engineering services use chemically-accelerated or isotropic superfinishing (ISF) machines for material removal and finishing. Other companies provide corona treatment, electropolishing (electrolytic finishing), honing, ion implantation, and laser peening services. There are two basic types of mass finishing processes: tumbling and vibratory. Surface engineering services may also provide mirror finishing, passivation, pickling or chemical etching, polishing, sterilization, or shot peening services. Induction hardening services and texturing services are also available.
Material Processing Capabilities
Material processing capabilities are important to consider when selecting surface engineering services. Common materials include aluminum, carbides, ceramics, composites, copper and copper alloys, glass, iron and cast iron, metals, and natural or biological materials. Surface engineering services may also specialize in working with precious metals such as platinum and gold; plastics or polymers; steel, stainless steel and steel alloys; or titanium.
In terms of applications, surface engineering services may serve one or more industries. Examples include aerospace, agriculture, appliances, automotive, biotechnology, and building and construction. Surface engineering services also have clients in the chemicals and materials, computer, consumer electronics, and food and beverage industries. Surface engineering services with general industrial capabilities are also available.