Communicating Surface Finishing Standards to Your Manufacturer

Shannon Pelky 2 Comments

When working with a manufacturer, it’s important to understand your options when it comes to surface finishing standards. If you leave your finishing expectations up to your manufacturer to decide, you’ll end up paying for parts that are overpriced because they’ve been over processed. On the other hand, you could also receive parts that are under processed and have to be reworked. The following guidelines will help you communicate your finishing needs, so you can cut costs on your industrial products.

Provide Images

If your manufacturer is only making a part of your industrial project, they’ll need your help understanding where that piece fits into your end product. Providing them with a photo, drawing, or any kind of visual can help them determine the correct finishing quality for each piece.

Determine External and Internal Parts and Expectations

Whether the part will be external or internal will play a big role in the type of surface finishing quality you’ll need. Because external parts are visible and may have to face environmental conditions, they require a better finish. Internal parts that will not be seen—or touched—typically do not require a high finishing standard. When the parts are hidden inside, you don’t have to worry about minor imperfections or scratches. However, keep safety in mind. Make sure to let your manufacturer know whether or not a person will be working around an internal piece, so they can determine the best edge requirements to prevent potential injuries.

Use a Specification Sheet

Some manufacturers lay out their finishing standards in a specification sheet, which is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect. See an example of HUI’s specification table below. We divide our choices into A, B, and C quality levels to help explain the details of our surface finishing standards.

HUI’s Finishing Standards

Characteristic A-Finish: Best Surface Finish B-Finish: Some Imperfections Allowed C-Finish: Multiple Imperfections Allowed
Dents None allowed None allowed None allowed
Die Marks None allowed Visible but UNABLE to catch with fingernail Visible and ABLE to catch with fingernail
Grind Marks
(All Material)
None allowed Visible but UNABLE to catch with fingernail Visible and ABLE to catch with fingernail
Scratches None allowed Visible but UNABLE to catch with fingernail - Visible and ABLE to catch with fingernail
- No gouges or pits
Material Edges (Edges/Burrs) - No start/stop tabs (micro joints) from lasering
- No Burrs (punching)
- No slag (lasering)
- No blown out edges (lasering)
No slag or burrs that would tear/snag a rubber glove when slid across No slag or burrs that could cut a hand when touched
Spot welds on ALL materials - No Discoloration
- Dents/Marks and remains flat on good side
- No evidence that spot weld existed
- Re-grain as necessary
- Discoloration and distortion IS ALLOWED
- On Stainless Steel discoloration is NOT ALLOWED, but distortion is permissible
- Convex OK on good side
- Must not feel sharp to the touch
Welds Mig/Tig on ALL materials - Grind and blend weld to match entire part
- No discoloration or distortion allowed
- Knock down high spots
- Discoloration & distortion allowed
- On Stainless Steel discoloration is NOT ALLOWED, but distortion is permissible
Bleed-through permissible
Weld spatter/ spray None allowed None allowed Permitted

Always share as much information as you can about your finishing standard expectations for your industrial parts with your manufacturer. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask. Addressing issues upfront will save you time and money. At HUI, we want you to get the best price for your industrial parts by providing you with the best quality for your needs. If you have any questions about finishing standards or how our standards can help benefit your industrial project, contact us today.

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