Kloeckner Metals, one of the largest metals distribution and processing companies in the U.S. will be installing new PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) processing equipment that will enable the coloring of Stainless Steel and certain Aluminum materials domestically.
Equipment capacities of the lines will be far broader than current options in the United States. Traditionally, large scale projects and sourcing for colored sheets and larger scale profiles had to be purchased offshore – resulting in complex supply chains, extended lead times and other logistical challenges. Not to mention costly freight and fees – especially on rush or urgent shipments.
Here is a brief overview of the capacities being installed at Kloeckner’s Cincinnati Ohio site:
- The new PVD equipment’s capabilities will include: · Stainless sheets up to 60 wide and 144 inches long
· Parts and Profiles up to 144 inches long
· Fabrication in similar configurations subject to weight limitations (to be installed later in the year)
· Anti fingerprint PVD options available applied via an in chamber process that improves durability and longevity of this attribute.
Kloeckner’s Vice President for Commercial – Stainless Steel and Aluminum, John Dobek who is spearheading the program says that this new equipment further enhances their Value Add product offering for customers and capitalizes on the new trends in color and lighting for numerous industries and segments.
Kloeckner will not only provide simple sheet order fulfillment; but will be able to toll color (post part coloring for complex shapes) and via its fabrication network provide a complete turn-key solution to colored Stainless Steel requirements. Many logistical and freight complexities created in typical outsource strategies are reduced or eliminated by Kloeckner’s distribution reach and Global presence.
PVD has been gaining significant traction in the appliance, food equipment, conveyance, transportation and electronics segments in addition to its prominence in architectural design applications. PVD has a broad appeal across many end uses and new applications are being developed every day, and has many functional and aesthetic benefits that appeal to new trends and designers, who are always looking for options beyond paints or pigments that many other materials simply can’t match.
Another important consideration is the process footprint is extremely environmentally friendly – unlike many other techniques requiring dyes, pigments, acids or similar harmful inputs.
The aesthetic and functional advantages of using PVD include:
· PVD is more of a thermal treatment than a coating – thus the treated surface is not prone to chipping or flaking.
The surface coloring is applied in a very thin layer that does not affect part joining or holes for fasteners or air flow
· A harder surface impacts surface toughness, reducing wear and extending product life
· PVD enhances the look of stainless steel while preserving the base metal finished texture
· Graining or mirror aspects are retained, a significant appeal for upscale applications
· No cracking or crazing, even on very severe bends
· PVD adds to anti corrosion resistance aspect of stainless
· Some compounds have proven to perform admirably under high-temperature ranges
· As treated, the PVD surface exhibits an easier to clean attribute and this can be enhanced with a specific “in Chamber” Fingerprint attribute which extends the life and improves function of the AF characteristic