Military-grade surface finishing specifications – used to protect the surfaces of military equipment – have been developed over the years to ensure the readiness of various branches of the armed forces. In military jargon, these “mil-spec” finishes far surpass those needed in most civilian industries. Many of these mil-spec standards for surface finishing have proven so resilient that many have been adopted for non-military use. All surface finishes for military equipment must meet very stringent requirements to withstand the rigors of the battlefield, which highlights the significance of working with a defense metal finishing company.
Besides making equipment more durable, perhaps more important is the corrosion resistance, lifespan expansion, and maintenance reduction that surface finishing offers.
Advantages of Military-Grade Surface Finishing
According to a 2018 audit by the Department of Defense (DoD), corrosion cost the military about $20.6 billion annually in 2016. The report plainly states that this negatively affects military readiness, as weapon systems and other equipment need to be taken offline for maintenance to deal with the effects of corrosion.
In response, the US Congress has investigated the extent of spending for addressing this, creating a program that would use civilians to oversee the budgeting for preventing and mitigating corrosion to military equipment. Because of this, military-grade surface finishes are likely to see more usage as they better protect the military’s assets. Some of the benefits of military-grade surface finishing for defense applications include:
Corrosion-resistance – It’s common for military equipment and vehicles to be used in humid climates, which can quickly accumulate rust and cause damage to machinery. Surface finishing serves as a barrier to slow or even prevent corrosion from occurring, which can prolong the quality and lifespan of defense equipment.
Friction-resistance – Applications with moving parts can very quickly break down due to continued wear and friction. For equipment that needs to be reliable and sustainable in any circumstance, surface finishing reduces the impact of friction and can add longevity to parts.
Heat protection – Some military equipment can be susceptible to heat during operations, particularly in warmer climates. Surface coatings can help protect parts from extreme temperatures and make them more resistant to damage caused by heat over time.
Types of Surface Finishing for Defense
Below is a list of various types of surface finishes and how they’re used for military applications.
Phosphates – Manganese and zinc phosphates are used as a finishing coat for steel providing corrosion and wear resistance.
Anodize – Used for coating aluminum and its alloys, anodizing is used for non-architectural purposes to protect against corrosion and is commonly found in military and defense machinery and equipment. Anodize can also be dyed in various colors.
Hard Anodized – This method uses a bath similar to the standard anodizing process, creating a hardened coat offering superior wear protection over traditional anodizing methods. Due to a higher current and voltage requirements, hard anodizing tends to cost considerably more due to the increased use of electricity.
Black Oxide – Often referred to as “bluing,” finishing with black oxide is one traditional means by which steel components in firearms can be protected when properly pre-finished. This finishing process oxidizes surfaces on metal via a chemical reaction, transforming surface iron into magnetite. As one of the least expensive finishes for resisting corrosion, this finish also has the added benefit of reducing glare from sunlight. Because of this, it’s often applied to rifle barrels to keep soldiers in the field from being easily seen by enemy combatants.
Defense Applications That Can Be Finished
Military-grade applications that can benefit from surface finishing vary, from small parts to huge pieces of equipment. Some of these applications include:
- Aircraft engines & equipment
- Communication and guidance system components
- Combat vehicles
- Fasteners & screws
- Missile systems
- Naval systems
- Optical devices
- Thermal & night vision devices
- Weapon components
Contact Silvex Inc. for Your Finishing Needs
With over fifty years of experience in providing quality finishes for a number of leading manufacturers in the defense industry, Silvex understands the importance of surface finishing for protecting military equipment and personnel. Further, our company adheres strictly to deadlines, while also offering exceptional customer service and meticulous quality control. As a leading defense metal finishing company in the industry, Silvex also specializes in a variety of firearm finishing treatments.
Continually investing in our facility’s equipment and personnel, Silvex utilizes cutting-edge technology that includes automatic blasting machines, art rectifiers, and x-ray fluorescence. Our company has additionally introduced statistical process control to enable us to perform capability studies for key products, while also certifying multiple staff members as electro-finishers under additional NADCAP (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) certifications. To learn more about how Silvex can assist with your surface finishing needs, contact us today.