Southern Aluminum Finishing Co. (SAF) is now incorporating X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) technology into its polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) finishing process. With this process, SAF can now verify that its coatings meet key industry standards for performance and durability set by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

“In the anodized aluminum industry, there is a saying that your finish is only as good as the aluminum you are anodizing. With PVDF paints, your painted finish is only as good as the pretreatment,” says John McClatchey, vice president of sales and marketing at SAF. “A real-time XRF measurement provides a more scientific way of measuring the weight of the chromatic film coating on aluminum.”

For a PVDF coating to be properly applied to aluminum, the metal must undergo a chemical bonding process that forms a complex chromate film on its surface, commonly referred to as a conversion coating. Often, fabricators evaluate the quality of this conversion coating by the color of the metal. However, color does not always correlate with the correct chromatic film coating weight. By using XRF technology, SAF can accurately measure the quality of its conversion coatings, according to a press release.

The XRF analyzer works by emitting X-rays and collecting fluorescence radiation from the metal. The test determines whether the metal meets AAMA 2605. With this analyzer, the results are available in seconds as opposed to traditional laboratory testing, which can take days, the company states.