Color Range Samples for anodizing

aluminumsheetAbout Color Range Samples from the SAF Color Lab

To begin, SAF (Southern Aluminum Finishing Co.) has been anodizing aluminum sheet & panels for architectural applications since 1946.

We have been open about a simple fact: an anodized coating will always have some variation in color. In earlier times there was no way to accurately measure and describe a color range inherent to anodizing. Visual inspection was the only way to implement quality control in the factory, and the beauty of any anodizing job was in the eyes of the beholder.

SAF was a pioneer in implementing computerized color control to combat wide variations of color during the anodizing process. Today, our anodizing production facilities serving the US, Canada and Mexico, located in Georgia and California, maintain the tightest range of color variation in the anodizing industry.

Computerized color control has truly improved anodizing consistency. Variation in color caused by the anodizing process continues to improve with experience. Yet, another simple but important fact remains for aluminum finishing specifiers: the most significant reason for color variation in anodizing is the metal. Different alloys effect color anodizing results.

SAF Color Anodizing Samples

Different lots of the same alloy can anodize colors differently due to standard alloy tolerance variations. Customer requested anodized Color Range Samples are produced in the SAF Finishing Lab from an in-stock batch alloy 5005 AQ aluminum. Yet, even with color range sample corroboration, an aluminum sheet order based on SAF aluminum sheet in stock at a different time will likely have color variation. Metal supplied at different times will likely be from different coils or extrusion billets, and thus result in color range variation. For example, there are significant differences in color between suppliers of storefront systems.

Because extrusions are never made from 5005, aluminum samples from sheet cannot exactly match the color and texture of extrusions, either from customer inventory or SAF stock.

Note also that SAF Anoding Color Range Samples are lab prepared and are meant to simulate our anodizing process. Final anodized color finish will vary in production. SAF Color Range Samples are meant to represent expected color variation for a given job when SAF supplies all  metal and it can be anodized in the same set-up.

SAF Color Range Samples are not intended to represent color anodizing of customer-furnished (toll coating) metal, where we have no control of the aluminum source or lot. Even though we strive to minimize color variation when toll coating, Color Range Samples cannot be a reliable guide for final anodized color outcome.

Despite some color variation inherent in the process, anodized beauty truly comes from other qualities that make color anodizing the finish of choice for architects, design builders, commercial contractors and other specifiers. Desired anodizing features of color translucence, or depth of metallic color achieved by no other finishing process make color anodizing both art and science. SAF digital color control and advanced anodizing technologies allow precise measurement of color composition variables, and can produce finishes with better color uniformity than ever before, but the metal alloy will itself determine a final result.

Please call for more information on the differences in colors during anodizing, or to learn more about the causes of color range.

Note: Anodizing customers are encouraged to send a target color anodizing sample to help us optimize the toll anodizing process to achieve the best possible finish with the narrowest possible color range variation.