Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Creating sustainability and reliability with light metal finishings for aluminum

Henkel offers a varied portfolio of metal pretreatment solutions customized for various aluminum applications, which could enhance aluminum properties, saves costs and time, and supports sustainability.



5 min.
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Aluminum is one of the most versatile, and abundant, materials in the world. It’s used in everything from metal packaging to industrial components. And that usage will continue to increase as industrial manufacturers look for ways to lightweight their components. 

The environmental benefits of aluminum

Over 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today, showing just how versatile and infinitely recyclable it is. According to European Aluminium, “recycling could reduce CO2 emissions by 39 million” metric tons per year by 2050. That’s a reduction of 46% a year.

As it’s 100% recyclable, it reduces energy costs by 90% compared to primary production.

No matter how many times it’s recycled, it retains its properties. Metal pretreatments can further enhance its properties and prolong its life, making it even more eco-friendly and economical for businesses.

Properties of aluminum

"The lightweight aspect of aluminum is driving a shift towards it across industries. The automotive industry, for example, has embraced aluminum because it’s  lighter compared to the same parts made out of steel, reduce the weight by 1/3. These properties make it much more attractive for electric cars, which need to be as lightweight as possible for better handling and battery efficiency.

For example, Tesla now uses aluminum in nine different car parts1 because of how lightweight, cost-effective, and conductive it is. It’s even a component in Tesla’s new car batteries, replacing manganese and reducing the amount of cobalt used.

Aluminum’s malleability also makes it easy to work with, which can reduce the time it takes to create a finished product, or even, reduce the number of steel parts vs aluminum ones."

What do metal pretreatments do?

This is a photo showing metal pretreatment.

Pure Aluminum protects itself by creating an oxide layer which will provide a barrier against environment, preventing oxidation. That’s also valid for some alloys, such as 6000 series aluminum.

Nevertheless to protect and warrant the best performance under environmental conditions, the metal pretreatment is the best option to protect against corrosion. Those kind of aluminum metal pretreatments could be summarized as Anodizing, Conversion Coating and other specialty treatments.

Metal pretreatments enhance the performance of the aluminum to ensure it lasts longer by protecting against corrosion. For example, it can guarantee the life of aluminum used in building industry for 10-15 years, or even more. This is important for any goods that offer a long warranty.

As well as the architectural industry, metal pretreatments are often used in aeronautics, building and construction, industrial, and even mobile phones. Wherever you look, you’ll find aluminum.

There can be several steps involved in adding light metal finishing, depending on the requirements of the final product. Each step is designed to enhance the metal’s properties to make it more efficient, more durable, and save money.

Removing contaminants like oil, for instance, can prolong the life of aluminum, as can treatments which are designed to make it more corrosion resistant. Adding corrosion resistance can be done on a temporary or permanent basis, offering protection during transportation and warehousing as well as long-term usage.

Anodizing converts the natural oxide layer of the aluminum into a thin and smooth oxide layer industrially produced, which protects the surface from further corrosion. This is an effective way to extend the life of aluminum. Anodic layers are primarily used for high corrosion demands, durability or performance, but, it can also be used to enhance aesthetic appearance. For example, perfume industry packaging, industrial or architectural.

Conversion coating can be applied on almost any metal alloy. This helps to increase paint adhesion, leads to a smoother paint application, and improves corrosion resistance.

Aluminum painted surfaces offer a wide range of colors for use on end products. With the right metal pretreatment process we can fulfil several architectural, OEM and industrial  standards which at the end will warrant the life of the goods used for such industry, and save costs long term.

Conclusion

Properly treated aluminum can enhance aluminum properties, save businesses money, save time, and contribute to sustainability efforts. Henkel specializes in a broad portfolio of metal pretreatment options, tailored to a range of aluminum applications.

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