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Have you ever wondered how objects like architectural cladding, elevator doors, artistic, jewelry, electronics, and even car parts achieve their sleek and shiny appearance?

The answer lies in the world of surface finishing. This process can transform raw materials such as metal or plastic into high-value products through multi-techniques like polishing, plating, and coating. In this blog post, we’ll explore how surface finishes can elevate ordinary materials to extraordinary levels of property and aesthetic appeal.

What is Surface Finishing?

Surface finish is the property of material interfaces defined by lay, surface roughness and waviness. It is form by small local deviations. People judge the precision of machining by the surface texture. Surface textures have the same or opposite direction, even heliciform. It depends on processing crafts and working methods.

decorative stainless steel sheets

Surface finishing is any process that alters the workpiece’s surface that involves removing, adding, or reshaping to achieve a desired result. It may be improved appearance of workpieces, improved functionality, or both. The raw materials, including metal, plastic, wood, and other hard materials, can be finished.

Metal surface finish is the most common processing craft. It is also widely used in appliances, architecture, artistic, and aerospace industries. Common surface finishes include polishing, brushing, plating, anodizing, embossing, etching, PVD coating, etc.

Types of Surface Finishing

Each manufacturing process produces a surface texture. Combined with further surface finishing techniques can transform raw materials into high-value products. This process is usually optimized to make sure that the resulting texture is what we want.

There are a variety of surface finishing techniques that can be used to transform raw materials into high-value products. Some of the most common surface finishing techniques include polishing, plating, and anodizing. The following will take metal as an example to show you to various surface finish techniques.

Hairline Finish

Hairline finish is a very simple and versatile polishing technology that works on stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, copper, brass and more.

brushed stainless steel elevator


Mirror finish is the highest gloss metal finish, processed with a non-directional polish to remove scratches or dents on the surface. This processing doesn’t need any finishing or coating media to assist. Mirror finish has high reflectivity and brightness, making it the perfect material for both interior and exterior applications.

The material most commonly used for mirror finishing is stainless steel. Additionally, aluminum and copper are also available.

does your stainless steel tarnish

PVD Coating

PVD coating, also known as vacuum coating, is to vaporize solid coating materials into molecules or atoms in the vacuum, and use deposition technology to sputter them onto the surface of the substrate.

PVD coating metal sheets have excellent properties, including great weather and rust resistance. It is commonly used for cladding and protective panels. With the development of PVD technology, most fabricators can custom PVD coating metal according to project requirement, such as color, thickness, shape, and properties.

pvd escalator


Can achieve various graphics, text, or rich imagery on metal surfaces? The answer lies in metal etching. Metal etching is a technique to remove excess material by using chemical reaction or physical impact. It can be classified into wet etching and dry etching.

The etching process can produce sharp details if properly applied without fundamentally transforming its structure. With the highest decoration, etching metal sheets become perfect for ceilings, cladding, and sculptures. The Common substrate of etched metal is stainless steel, such as stainless steel 304 and 316.

etched metal cladding design

Benefits of Surface Finishing

There are many benefits of surface finishing, but the TOP 3 benefits are:

  1. a. Can improve the appearance of a product.
  2. b. Surface finishing can protect the underlying material from corrosion or other damage.
  3. c. Surface finishing can improve the performance of a product by increasing its resistance to wear or improving its electrical or thermal conductivity.

Cost Evaluation of Different Processes

Different surface finishing will result in different costs. It depends on the complexity of the process and whether other media are needed. For example, polishing may be less expensive than plating.

Second, the choice of the substrate also affects the final cost. Generally speaking, aluminum is cheaper than stainless steel. Both belong to stainless steel, stainless steel 316 is more expensive than 304. The reason is that the nickel content 316 is higher than 304. And the mechanical properties of stainless steel 316 are better, which is suitable for marine engineering, medical equipment, and aviation fields.

Therefore, the cost of the process and the substrate should be considered when deciding which process to use for a particular application.


Surface finishing is an important step in the manufacturing process of many products. By choosing the right surface finishing process for your project, you can improve the quality and value of your finished product.

Metal surface finish has the ability to transform raw materials into high-value products. From polishing for a smooth finish, to plating for improved corrosion resistance, surface finishing can provide long lasting protection and aesthetic appeal.

As always, if you have any questions regarding how TOPSON can help turn your ideas into reality through our various services, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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