Lumiclad Process

November 01, 2011

Manufacturers requiring same-day black finishing of small lots of aluminum parts now can safely blacken parts in-house and achieve a durable and attractive satin black finish at low cost using the new mini BK-LC line. The LUMICLAD process utilizes a simple dip-tank procedure to form a durable black oxide coating on aluminum. In contrast to the conventional black anodizing, the LUMICLAD process utilizes only one heated tank in the process line and does not require electrolytic current. The process works well on all cast and wrought aluminum alloys and forms a smooth, black finish that is tightly adherent to the aluminum substrate, with no rub-off.

Since the LUMICLAD finish is only 1.5┬Ám thick, it will not shrink hole diameters or add measurable thickness. Part dimensions are easily maintained, without requiring critical surfaces to be undersized to allow for excessively thick coatings, as is often the case with anodizing. Designed primarily for indoor applications, the LUMICLAD finish enhances the overall appearance and sales appeal of the part, with an inherent lubricity that aids in assembly and break-in of mating surfaces. This combination of properties makes it especially useful for pistons, valves, machine components, tooling, fixturing or other precision machined components.

The electroless LUMICLAD process is especially useful for blackening small parts in bulk loads that are uneconomical to anodize. Fasteners, screw machine parts and stampings and other low value parts generally cannot be anodized because the hand racking labor overwhelms the value of the part itself. The LUMICLAD system can process these parts, in baskets or rotating barrels, with excellent results. The LUMICLAD process is fast, 30 minutes for most alloys, and meshes well with workflow patterns, thereby eliminating the lengthy turnaround times and high costs of outside finishing.

In-process inventory levels can be lowered because parts can be blackened on a just-in-time basis. The patent pending LUMICLAD process was developed and is guaranteed by Birchwood Casey, the originator of the patented TRU TEMP low temp black oxide process for ferrous metals. The LUMICLAD process is the first and only high quality method for blackening aluminum that doesn't involve the complexities and high costs of electrolytic black anodizing.

The Mini LUMICLAD line can be purchased online for $848. The kit comes complete with seven 5-gallon immersion tanks, covers, immersion heater and a generous supply of LUMICLAD chemical products to operate the entire process for 2-6 months, depending on workloads. Occupying only about 20 square feet, the mini BK-LC Line fits well almost anywhere in the plant, such as in the tool room, prototype or maintenance area or in a manufacturing cell. It is especially useful in job shops where short run blackening is often needed on a rush basis.

Related Glossary Terms

  • alloys


    Substances having metallic properties and being composed of two or more chemical elements of which at least one is a metal.

  • aluminum alloys

    aluminum alloys

    Aluminum containing specified quantities of alloying elements added to obtain the necessary mechanical and physical properties. Aluminum alloys are divided into two categories: wrought compositions and casting compositions. Some compositions may contain up to 10 alloying elements, but only one or two are the main alloying elements, such as copper, manganese, silicon, magnesium, zinc or tin.

  • black oxide

    black oxide

    Black finish on a metal produced by immersing it in hot oxidizing salts or salt solutions.

  • just-in-time ( JIT)

    just-in-time ( JIT)

    Philosophy based on identifying, then removing, impediments to productivity. Applies to machining processes, inventory control, rejects, changeover time and other elements affecting production.

  • lubricity


    Measure of the relative efficiency with which a cutting fluid or lubricant reduces friction between surfaces.