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2011 Anodizing Conference Abstracts
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Abstracts for the 2011 Anodizing Conference were organized by General Sessions and the following Focus Sessions: Technical, Environmental and Scientific.

General Sessions
Lightweighting the Automotive Industry and the Role of the Coatings Industry
Jerry Cole, LightWeight Strategies LLC
There is a growing global need for fuel efficient vehicles, be they automobiles, light or commercial trucks. Engineering emphasis on increasing fuel efficiency is conventionally placed on improving powertrain. Weight reduction, with aluminum and magnesium, can gain an additional 25% improvement. Automotive use of aluminum has increased from 250 to 325 pounds over the past decade, mainly as castings, and it is accelerating. This presentation examines the use of these light metals as the NA automotive industry copes with the 2016 fuel efficiency standards requiring passenger cars to achieve 39 mpg and light trucks 30 mpg. But there are serious environmental and galvanic corrosion concerns with magnesium, and less serious but important issues with aluminum fastened to current vehicles’ predominantly steel architecture. Auto engineers worry about durability which coatings can significantly improve. As will be discussed, the coatings industry will be a key partner as the auto industry finds more ways to use more lightweight metals.


A Step-by-Step Approach to Nadcap Accreditation
Bill Corcoran, LightMetals Industries
The Nadcap program is recognized as the premier accreditation program for aerospace and defense contractor supplier accreditation. With this accreditation, an anodizer can effectively access the supplier world of the aerospace and defense industries.

But as recent articles point our (“Becoming an Approved Aerospace Anodizer Supplier, W.J.Fullen, 19th Annual International Anodizing Conference & Symposium, October 6, 2010, Montreal, QC, Canada) the process is rigorous and requires a dedication of resources including time, money and psychological energy.

Why is it so difficult to achieve this accreditation? This paper attempts to lay out a road map for accreditation that is logical and achievable for someone committed to the excellence required to get to the end goal. Accreditation requires a complete understanding of the AC7108D checklist which is the bible of suppliers, auditors and Chemical Processing staff engineers at PRI, and the task group of primes and suppliers who administer the checklist.

You need to start with accreditation to an acceptable quality system by an acceptable registration body before you can think about addressing the AC7108 checklist. That would be considered tier one of a system that controls all procedures and processes for a chemical processing supplier. That Accreditation is where the work starts; one needs a systemic approach to Nadcap that will lead to procedures, work instructions and forms that impose control over the processing and will assure compliance with prime specifications, drawings and requirements.


Statistical Control of the Processing Solutions
Galina Abubekerova, AMEX Plating, Inc.
Aluminum alloys are irreplaceable in modern aircraft construction due to their lightweight, high strength to weight ratio, comparatively easy fabrication, good corrosion resistance, etc. Most of the aircraft structural units are made out of aluminum alloys and need to be protected in one way or another (alclad, anodizing, chemical conversion coating, painting, insulating, special properties coating, etc.). One of the main challenges for anodizers is to achieve the right to be an aerospace contractor. Among the many items covered and most identified by NadCap audit requirements is Statistical Control of the solutions used in Chemical Processing.


Anodized Aluminum Oxide (AAO) Applications as Nano-templates and Nano-membranes in Electronic Devices, Energy Conversion, Sensors, and Medicine
Joe Benedyk, Illinois Institute of Technology
The relatively new aluminum anodizing technology, primarily developed within the last decade, which depends on the porous and ordered nano-structure of anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) has evolved rapidly and found many high technology applications. Some new uses for the AAO membranes produced with highly aligned nanopores through special anodizing processes were described at the last International Anodizing Conference held in 2009 by Wang. This review attempts to further examine the potential and commercial applications of AAOs as nano-templates and nano-membranes in the fields of electronic devices, energy conversion, sensors, and medicine. Although an individual AAO application by itself may not be considered as a large volume business, the collective and diverse AAO applications are impressive, showing how a well established technology such as anodizing reinvents itself in this age of nanotechnology.


Aluminum & Niobium Oxidation Processes Used in the Microfabrication of Superconductor Devices
Nathan Newman, Arizona State University
Josephson junctions (JJ) are used in magnetic sensing for mapping neural activity, mineral exploration and gravity wave detection. Recently, these devices have received interest for 60+GHz digital logic applications.

Aluminum thin films exposed to controlled oxygen doses produce the amorphous AlOx tunnel barrier for current-generation JJs. To define the tunneling current requires that the AlOx thickness be on the order of 5 atomic monolayers thick. To determine and even tune this current, labeled the critical current, the time and oxygen pressure used is precisely controlled.

In another process, anodization is used to oxidize Nb and Al layers to form a stable and uniform insulator during microfabrication of JJs. This enables the devices to define the junction area and isolate the metal top layer from the bottom counterelectrode. The anodized aluminum layer on the sides of the junction barrier act as a preferential etch stop, allowing the junction contact via to be larger than the junction itself. This facilitates the realization of more reliable and homogeneous electrical properties across the wafer and from run to run.

In this talk, I will outline the historical development and critical parameters involved in these processes and then highlight some interesting uses for JJ devices.


Enhancing the use of anodized aluminium by demonstrating to decision makers (OEMs, Brand owners, etc.) the increased value of colored aluminium in terms of surface properties, appeal as well as costing
Dr. Klaus Dieter Baumgart, Clariant International AG
Colored anodized aluminium is perceived to be more expensive and more difficult to process than other materials such as powder coated metals and plastics. The presentation demonstrates that this perception can be proven to be wrong when the multi-step process challenges to produce colored anodized aluminium are taken into account with designers, OEM and brand decision makers from the very first design phase. Decisions concerning colored anodized aluminium have to take into account primarily surface properties, color effects and long term durability but equally important environmental, health and safety issues, costing considerations (very important: reduction of scrap rates, by using high quality raw materials and advanced process control) as well as reproducibility at a later stage.

This presentation demonstrates that by selecting input materials carefully not only with well-defined product quality parameters but also - many times even more importantly – clearly monitored process quality parameters and by selection of the most stable and productive “color system” cost will be significantly reduced, weather and light fastness properties will be enhanced and environmental and health issues may be avoided.

This process will be demonstrated with an authentic example which convinced a brand owner to dismiss its cost driven decision to change colored anodized aluminium parts to plastic parts by and educating its designers and decision makers that scrap rates of 30 % and more can be avoided while also those same process changes reduced health hazards by using heavy metal free dyes. Main object for those important process adaptations had well characterized dyes and less complex color systems with reduced tolerances during production processes as well as in final quality assurance.

Those relevant parameters will be discussed in detail with particular focus on impurities generated from the synthesis process as well as the influence of product characteristics on safety aspects.

In a second case it is demonstrated that by carefully evaluating environmental conditions at particular places and using reference data obtained in long term out door exposure tests colored anodized aluminium can be safely employed also for outdoor applications especially when colorants are selected which are produced taking specific precautions colorant production and final quality certification.


Relevance for Research in Anodizing
Tim Cabot, Duralectra - CHN, LLC
In 2008 the metal finishing businesses of Katahdin Industries initiated a joint research project to understand why conventional anodic coatings do not perform in applications requiring frequent cleaning and autoclave sterilization. By identifying the root cause of these shortcomings, and by following a structured development process, new insights were uncovered that allowed for the development of a new category of anodic coatings. In doing so, the opportunity space open to these businesses was transformed: a new proprietary platform technology, coatings properties with clearly superior performance targeting a high growth market, and the opportunity to compete for applications lost to polymeric materials and more chemically stable metals. This talk explores the business strategy, the processes followed, and the outcomes.


Aluminum Sustainability Strategy
Steve Williamson, TRI-ARROWS Aluminum and Steve Gardner, Aluminum Association
While having been actively engaged in recycling for over 40 years, the Aluminum Association launched its first Sustainability Working Group in 2008. Across the spectrum of markets and applications for aluminum products, the Aluminum Association membership is working together to focus a comprehensive Sustainability Strategy driven on two rails: accurate data collection and comprehensive communications. Consumers and key supply chain partners are demanding critical process data to measure and verify the impacts of aluminum products and services that manufacturers bring to market. In that context, the Aluminum Association rallied membership resources to deliver credible scorecard data and to refine aluminum's sustainability story that passes muster with critical customers, regulators and legislators. Steering clear of any green-washing bias, the Aluminum Association is able to enhance aluminum's competitiveness versus competing materials. Aluminum has a Sustainability story to tell.


Some Applications in Optics: Generating, Guiding & Absorbing Light with AAO
Martin Bourgeois, Gentec Electro-Optics
The future looks bright for anodic aluminum oxide in optics. Periodically porous films are being investigated in physical optics for use in various applications. The naturally ordered films of AAO is an inviting medium for the fabrication of quantum dots and photonic crystals. The well-known growth properties can also be used for fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). It is a surprisingly non-linear medium to intense laser pulse absorption, and furthermore, its ability to be easily colored makes for a readily tunable reflecting, absorbing and engraving surface. Case studies from various research groups are presented in an introductory manner, ranging from academia to established device manufacturers.


Building a Strong Company
Susan Johnson, Futura Industries
Companies which perform best in their markets over the long term are those with the highest levels of employee engagement.

How you go about building strong employee loyalty and engagement is much more complex – and yet at the same time, straight forward than it might seem.

Futura Industries Corporation has been awarded:
  • Work Life Award - 11 years consecutively of winning
  • Employer of the Year/Davis Chamber of Commerce
  • Manufacturer of the Year
All of these are strong indications that Futura Industries Corporation has high levels of employee engagement driven by strong culture.

Our financial results have been strong due to our long term commitment to building a strong culture.


Focus Session 1: Technical Track

A Salvage and Selective Brush Hard Coat Anodize Using One Universal Type 123(SH) Electrolyte
Fred Schaedel, Anodic Tech Services
A newly revised Organic Sulfuric Type 123(SH) Salvage Hard Anodize Process will be presented. From improved Type IC, II and III Hard Anodize, to the ultimate in surface activation and heavy thickness salvage hard coat, this chromium free process offers efficiency and energy savings due to organic acids, lower voltages and higher current densities. This All in One Universal Electrolyte can also produce all types of selective brush anodize with overall power savings of over 50%. Topics of discussion will encompass Type 123(SH) anodize bath parameters, power supply requirements, Key Processing Steps and Pulse – Step – Ramp Procedures. Also included will be data logger graphs indicating dramatic power savings along with actual production part photographs.


Sealing of Anodized Aluminum
Michael Sheehy, Ventra
After being anodized, the oxide layer must be sealed to prevent corrosion. I claim that by using a two step process; the time required to seal an anodic coating of 0.6 mil thickness can be reduced from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, while having a positive effect on abrasion resistance as well as better than a two thirds reduction in energy use. Some of the benefits to an anodizing operation which adopts this idea are: 1. Superior line efficiency; most operations will be able to run at least 3 times as many parts in any given time period. 2. Improved quality of anodic coating; the cannibalizing of materials from the metal-oxide layer to form the seal substance is greatly reduced or eliminated. The coating will be harder and more scratch resistant. 3. A considerable reduction in energy usage. This idea requires only minor changes to the existing system. Expensive additions to the existing anodizing line are unnecessary.


Improving Die Cast Substrates for Anodizing with Hot Isostatic Pressing
Jude Runge, PhD, Comprehensive Metallurgical Consulting
Hot Isostatic Pressing or HIP, is presented as a means to enhance metal finishing for die cast substrates. HIP, the simultaneous application of heat and high pressure,consolidates component microstructure by refining complex phases and intermetallic compounds and healing over voids. Components of all sizes and shapes can be processed without distortion of complex features and surface tolerances. HIP improves component strength, ductility and fatigue life and yields a smooth, polished surface with more free aluminum available for formation of the anodic aluminum oxide. A case study is presented.


Anodize for Bonding Applications in Aerospace
Jason Kudelka, Poly-Metal Finishing, Inc., and Chris Ebbrecht, Reliant Aluminum Products, Inc.
More and more materials for aerospace manufacturing are coming from the composite world. And these composites must be joined with metals. Metal finishing, and particularly anodizing for pre prep bonding, bridges the gap between the metallic and composite world. The purpose of this paper will be to outline the processes, specifications, best practices, and practical shop considerations for bonding in aerospace applications. A brief description of the processes used in bonding applications; phosphoric, boric-sulfuric, thin film sulfuric, and chromic acid processes will be presented. An overview of the general and specific specifications will be covered. Best practices for bonding as it relates to adhesives, primers, top coat, and thermal coatings will be reviewed. Practical shop considerations for the processes, environment, and handling will be offered, focusing on a cradle to the grave approach. This paper will be part one of a two part series.


Anodizing Cast Aluminum for Maximum Black Color
James Coskren, CIL Anodizing and Painting, Inc., and Chris Ebbrecht, Reliant Aluminum Products, Inc.
Cast aluminum has received a reputation for being difficult to anodize and dye to get a dark black color. And often the quality of the anodic finish is questionable. This paper will outline correct anodizing technique combined with optimum process parameters to increase the quality and dark color of castings. Techniques for racking and part pretreatment are shown to be important elements for part processing. Optimum anodizing tank and electrical parameters for best black color will be presented. Color measurement values for different processing will show these differences. The quality of the anodic coating on cast aluminum is shown to be high quality with good black color.


Focus Session 2: Environmental Track

Effectively Tracking Environmental Performance under ISO 14001
Brad Waldron, NGE
Most facilities adhere to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard in their own unique manner, but establishing a tool for measuring and improving performance under a management system can be challenging. Experience has shown that a system’s usefulness can be elevated through the use of proper metrics, a normalized grading process, and comparisons over time. If done properly, it can become a powerful tool for tracking compliance, identifying environmental shortcomings, and motivating personnel. A measurement system developed for a facility in Ohio will serve as an example. The system was initially designed to provide monthly feedback using a scoring system under a large set of requirements, and was expanded to include more voluntary initiatives. The process used begins with the identification of criteria to be included, selecting the right performance indicators, the development of a representative scoring system, and culminating in methods for data acquisition.


Evolution of Environmental Compliance Auditing
Leah Blinn, NGE
A standardized comprehensive tool is essential for use in evaluating a facility’s compliance with environmental and safety regulations and company policies and can result in implementing corrective actions quickly and concisely. Involving the key players intimately in the auditing procedure is instrumental in the development of the process. Creating a collaborative environment before, during and after the audit can result in an overall productive process. This presentation will focus on the development of the auditing protocols, achievements directly obtained through implementation of the procedure, lessons learned during the development process, and the procedure for implementation of corrective actions.


Pulse: “How to Use it Effectively”
Anne Deacon Juhl, PhD, AluConsult & Waasy Boddison, MUNK GmbH – American Plating Power, LLC
This presentation will give a brief explanation of the theory of pulse anodizing, how it affects Type II and Type III anodizing and what you should look for when you change your rectifier to being able to run a pulse process. Different alloys, pulse patterns and how you can use it pulse for your benefit. What do the rectifier needs to be able to do, and what will the price be for changing your conventional anodizing or hard anodizing tank into a efficient pulse anodizing tank.


Finishing Applications
Art Brooks, KCH Engineered Systems
The days of exhausting large or even small surface finishing tanks with high ventilation rates should be in the past for all in the surface finishing industry who wish to save tremendous amounts of real money in electrical operational costs.

The Technology of Mechanical Tank Covers has arrived and has been proven effective in an Environmental Technology Study done by the USEPA. The study proves that worker exposure to hazardous chemistries is virtually eliminated in processes such as anodizing, plating and all types of similar applications. But the study also demonstrates the amazing amount of money that can be saved in system operational costs by using an Engineered Systems Mechanical cover instead of leaving the process tanks’ surface area continually open. Anyone interested in drastically reducing their power bills while ensuring that your systems are still properly exhausted should attend this presentation.


Saving Energy in Anodizing Processes and Eliminating Nickel Seals
Eric Olander, Electrochemical Products, Inc.
In today’s world, energy costs have become an increasing cost for manufacturing and finishing processes. Successful companies today have implemented many steps in saving energy and decreasing their carbon footprint in lighting, cooling, heating, and manufacturing processes. Another area being pursued is actual metal finishing lines, including anodizing lines. Anodizing lines have costs for electrical energy for the rectifiers and cooling costs from the heat generated from the large rectifiers used in the anodizing process. Another energy cost in the anodizing process is in the sealer. Most sealers today are nickel based, which has become a carcinogen in the European Union (EU). Now from the Netherlands, there are two potential energy saving anodizing processes - high efficiency anodizing (HEA) process and Hardcoat 93, allows for the anodizing bath to work at high temperature, lower sulfuric acid concentration, and less cooling. The anodizer can eliminate nickel and save energy.


Focus Session 3: Scientific Track

Micro-Crystalline Anodic Coatings
Jack Tetrault, Duralectra
A basic requirement for finishing aluminum is to protect the volatile untreated surface from corrosion attack. However, available solutions have proven to be insufficient to the needs of some applications. The advent of a new technology that retains many of the design, process economics, and engineering characteristics of anodic oxide finishes while fundamentally changing corrosion resistance is described. A patented system is described, where conventional amorphous oxide is converted into closely knit micro-crystalline structures, creating an effective barrier to corrosion attack by dramatically lowering the rate of chemically induced solubility of the oxide while lowering overall surface-to-substrate activity. The coating protects dye colorants in the pores, allowing articles to be sterilized without fading and discoloration. The paper will examine this new oxide, how it is constituted, and the performance results in various application studies compared to conventional anodic oxides.


Physico-Chemical Dynamics of Anodic Aluminum Oxide Growth
Dale Barkey, PhD, University of New Hampshire
Aluminum anodizing occurs under conditions that are far from equilibrium in both physical and chemical terms. Insight into the dynamics of pattern formation and resulting properties of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) coatings can be gained by an analysis of the driving forces and of the rate processes that result. These include very large electrochemical and electrostatic forces, deformation and flow of oxide, dynamic stabilization of a regular nano-porous structure and its transition to a self-limiting structure at long times. The main physical and electrochemical properties of the coating can be understood in terms of simple macroscopic processes such as flow, with reference only to macroscopic properties such as viscosity and conductivity. The process can be monitored and understood experimentally through measurement of the simple macroscopic variables resistance and capacitance of the coating during anodizing. This paper outlines a quantitative model of flow instability and dynamic re-stabilization of the AAO nano-structure. In addition, the experimentally measured resistance and capacitance of AAO films during growth as well as scanning electron microscope images of the oxide layers are interpreted in terms of the model.


Black Anodic Films for Space Applications
Laurent Arurault, PhD, Université Paul Sabatier
Black coatings can be used for managing passive thermal control on spacecraft and for avoiding stray light in optical equipment. Inorganic black anodizing of aluminium alloys is a solution to obtain films with a low outgassing and a sufficient thermal stability for this kind of application. Flaking of these films has sometimes been observed after thermal cycling on 2XXX and 7XXX aluminium alloys. This phenomenon could generate particle contamination on satellites optics and may affect mission lifetime. In this work, the chemical characteristics of these black anodic films, as well as their mechanical and thermo-optical properties have been studied as a function of the operational conditions of the process. Various characterizations and numerical simulations have been performed in order to understand the mechanisms leading to flaking.


PVD Sputter Deposition of Aluminum Layer Prior to Die-Cast Anodizing
Kristian Rechendorff, Danish Technological Institute
Design freedom in aluminum is often achieved through die casting. However, one of the major limitations of this versatile forming process is the inability of anodizing the formed items with sufficiently high visual quality due to the high content of copper (Cu) and silicon (Si). A new process going beyond these limitations has been developed by PVD sputter deposition of an aluminum layer prior to anodization. This surface pre-treatment step is not only enabling the fabrication of high quality anodized surfaces as known from extruded profiles but is also allowing for adding a well-controlled amount of dopants tailoring the corrosion properties of the obtained surfaces. The presentation will address the deposition of aluminum revealing the potential of the concept. Furthermore, the impact on the corrosion and subsequent anodization of highly dispersed impurities such as Ti, Zr and Cu will be addressed.


Dielectric Property on Different Aluminum Oxide Coatings
Leonid Lerner, Sanford Process Corporation
In general, most aluminum hard oxide coatings demonstrate excellent dielectric properties and good thermal conductivity from DC to GHz frequencies. Typical Uses: high temperature electrical insulators, high voltage insulators, electronic substrates, airspace applications, ballistic armor, thermometry sensors, instrumentation parts for thermal property test machines, etc.
The purpose of our study was to identify different processes and aluminum alloys available on the market for successful creation of aluminum oxide with the best dielectric property. In our studies we employed 5 different power supplies 13 different processes and 7 dissimilar aluminum alloys.


The views expressed and the information, materials, processes and techniques described in the papers and presentations planned for inclusion in the Conference program represent the views and developments of the individual authors and/or the companies or organizations indicated. The Aluminum Anodizers Council (the “Organizer”) makes no representations as to the accuracy or sufficiency of any of the information set forth in the individual papers. The Organizer does not necessarily endorse or approve the views expressed in any of the papers. The Organizer and the individual authors/companies/organizations presenting papers assume no responsibility or liability for the use of any information, materials, processes or techniques described. The Organizer and the individual authors/companies/organizations hereby disclaim any warranties, expressed or implied, in connection with any information included in the presentations made during the Conference or in the papers published in the Proceedings.