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Color Anodize Overview

At AOTCO, we provide a wide range of metal finishing services for an even wider range of industries. Of those services, one of the most popular finishes we provide is anodizing and color anodize. Anodizing is the process of applying a thin, corrosion resistant, oxide layer to the surface of an aluminum or an aluminum alloy. There are several different types of anodize with the most common being sulfuric, Hardcoat, and chromic anodize. 

Anodize is typically applied to a component for its corrosion resistant properties, as well as its ability to greatly improve the strength of its substrate. However, there are several other benefits of anodizing and one of those benefits is its ability to be easily dyed, painted, or powdered.

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What is Color Anodize?

Color Anodize is the application of colored dyes to the surface of an anodized substrate. This process is different from other color applicating methods like painting and powder because it chemically changes the color of the surface of an object, rather than physically applying a layer of paint or powder. 

Color Anodize can be applied to any of the three common anodizing types, however each has their own set of quirks and qualities that cause the coloring process to differ between anodizing types. This is due to the formation of pores on the surface of the oxide layer during the anodizing process. These holes vary in frequency, depth, and width depending on the anodizing process used, and therefore will hold dyes differently, causing the color to alter. 

Note: Type III Hardcoat Anodize has limited dying capabilities due to the thickness of the oxide layer.


Benefits of Color Anodize?

Aside from the assorted benefits unique to each type of anodizing, the main benefit of color anodize is the long-lasting finish it provides. Paints and powders are more prone to physical damage. Chipping and color fading due to sunlight exposure can occur to components that have been painted or powder coated.  Color Anodize, however, doesn’t chip nor fade. 

Since the dye is chemically bonded to the surface of a substrate and then sealed post-anodizing there is no risk of chipping or other surface damage. The oxide layer that builds around a substrate during the anodizing process is resistant to corrosion, this prevents rusting. Color anodized components can withstand a multitude of extreme conditions and still maintain a bright, colorful, and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Types of Color Anodize and Specs at AOTCO:

Type I: Chromic Acid Anodize

  • MIL-PRF-8625
  • AMS 2470
  • MIL-A-8625 
  • AMS-A-8625

Type II and IIB: Sulfuric Acid Anodize

  • MIL-A-8625
  • MIL-PRF-8625
  • AMS-A-8625

Type III: Hardcoat Anodize

  • MIL-A-8625
  • MIL-PRF-8625
  • ASTM B580
  • AMS 2468
  • AMS 2469
  • AMS-A-8625

In Conclusion

At AOTCO, we have a diverse team of senior anodizers, platers and engineers who provide consistent and quality color anodizing, as well as an array of other metal finishing services. We are dedicated to staying up to date and informed on the latest specs and industry trends and are ready to help you with your next metal finishing project. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our color anodizing process or any other metal finishing inquiries.


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