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FAQ

For additional information please contact us, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

What is Scientific Metal Finishing?

Scientific Metal Finishing is your best choice for quality industrial painting, powder coating and silk screening in the Silicon Valley.

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for over 25 years founded in 1987.

Where are you located?

We are located at 3180 Molinaro Street, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Visit our contact page for directions.

What are your terms and conditions?

Our credit terms are Net 30. Contact us for a Credit Application.

How big is your facility?

18,000 square feet with an additional 20,000 feet of secured exterior space.

How secure are my parts at your facility?

We have full interior and perimeter security systems, both fire and burglary, monitored by all local emergency services. In addition, our full coverage insurance specifically includes product liability, flood, and terrorism provisions

Are you ISO and ROHS compliant?

The materials we use at Scientific Metal Finishing are ROHS compliant. While we are not certified, we are ISO compliant per the requirements of  ISO 9001 - 2010

What is your standard turn-around?

Turn around time is based on order size and complexity. With an on-going swing shift and weekend shifts on-demand, average turn time ranges 1 of 3 working days. Turn around for Class A finishes average 5 to 7 working days depending upon the project size and complexity. Standard turn around time does not include outside services or custom material orders, so please advise us as early as possible in your production cycle if other services will be required. We always do our best to accommodate "HOT JOBS... " Contact our Production Department to discuss your individual needs

How can I specify what gloss finish I should ask for?

We have many color and gloss samples available for viewing in our Production Department office and the equipment to accurately measure your gloss needs. We typically categorize the glosses as follows: 

Matte finish: Very flat with no shine or reflectivity. This gloss will result in easier fingerprinting and marring, but no glare of any kind.

Semi-Gloss: The most popular of finishes, typically reads 10-30% on a gloss meter and provides an easier finish to clean and maintain.

Hi-Gloss: High in shine, and light reflectivity. This finish is usually more difficult and, therefore, more expensive to create and used for highly cosmetic results. Gloss reading is generally 60-90%.

What is a Class A, B or C paint finish?

There are only general rules that we can apply to the various classes of finish. In the absence of a documented cosmetic standard, we are guided by the following: Typically each customer will provide us with their cosmetic specifications at the time the project is given to us which outlines their inspection criteria, or we can help create your specifications in the design and prototype phases of your project. 

Class A: Used for high profile, highly cosmetic parts such as front bezels Normally viewed at a 12'' distance for a period of 5-7 seconds, allowing 1 Cosmetic blemish per square foot. 

Class B: Used for parts that are less critical such as side panels, bottom panels, etc. Normally viewed at a 18'' or more distance, for a period of 5-7 seconds Allowing 3 or so blemished per square foot 

Class C: Used for non-cosmetic, interior surfaces such as brackets, shelves, etc. Normally viewed at 18'' or more distance, for a period of 5-7 seconds Allowing up to 10 or so blemishes.

Now that I have picked my color, how do I know what material to use?

The "type" of material you use, i.e. water base, polyurethane, powder coating, shielding etc. depends upon the particulars of your project. Will your part be indoors or outdoors? Will it be subject to chemical cleaning? Is it metal or plastic? (also refer to the section entitled "Powder Coating vs Liquid Paint") For assistance with all of these questions, contact our Technical Support Department at 408.970.9011

Do you provide paint chip samples?

Sample paint chips are generally provided free of charge if requested along with your paint project. Separate requests may require a longer lead-time due to scheduling the application of the particular color/texture you desire, and may result in a minimum charge. Charges for samples which are required during color creation or testing are generally added to the prototype project costs.

What is EFI or RFI Shielding?

These coatings are designed to protect enclosed electronic devices against electromagnetic interference, electrostatic discharge, radio frequency interference, and to ground sensitive electronic equipment. They come in a variety of natural materials, such as Nickel, Copper and Coated Silver, and specifications are available in our Production department office. Often your project may be required to obtain a UL rating, and Scientific Metal Finishing will be happy to assist in this process as well.

What are VOC' s?

''Volatile Organic Compounds'' are used to judge what part of the paint material escapes into the atmosphere. Calculated in pounds per gallon or grams per liter, the standard VOC for most products in our area is 2.8 pounds per gallon or 340 grams per liter, although exceptions and variances are granted for certain projects, i.e. military applications, automotive finishes, low usage products, products required for extreme performance conditions, or products for which there are no reasonable substitute. We maintain a carbon filtered abatement system for these exceptions.

Scientific Metal Finishing adheres to all Bay Area Air Quality Management regulations, and our extensive regulatory library and years of hands-on experience can help guide your design or production project as part of our standard customer service.

What are CARC coatings?

"Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings" are specialized materials primarily used in marine or military applications. We stock many CARC coatings including tan and 383 green.

What if I need UV protection on my parts?

UV protectant is an easy additive to most commercial paints and will protect your parts against solar UV rays, which may be an issue if the parts will have constant outdoor exposure. There is no additional charge if the additive is requested at the time the paint order is placed.

What if I need my parts to be fire resistant?

Fire retardant coatings and additives are available through specialty paint manufacturers. Since fire retardant materials are highly specialized, we recommend discussing your project needs with the coating manufacturer directly.

What are RAL, PMS or Fed Standard colours?

  • RAL colors: are based on an international, European color chart

  • PMS colors: (Pantone Matching System) colors are based on ''ink colors, primarily used by silk screeners or printers. Some PMS colors can be cross referenced to paint colours, but others may present difficulties due to pigment size, and will not produce the color richness desired.

  • Fed Standard colors: (FedStd) colors stem from the U.S. ''federal standard'' color charts, which are produced sporadically every few years. It is important to note that the Fed Standard book from 2008 may not match the Fed Standard book created in later years and you should always specify which year sample book you are viewing.

What are my texture choices?

Powder coating is known for its outstanding durability, but it can be damaged and is much harder to repaint, usually requiring beadblasting, sandblasting or other extreme removal methods prior to re-paint. Although, this is not always the case, and we can do a certain limited amount of touch up. 

Some liquid coatings, such as polyurethane or epoxy are durable as well, and more easily and quickly repainted if necessary. Durability is dependent upon the coating chemistry. For instance, the high bake or low cure water products are not as durable and probably not recommended for outdoor uses.

What are the coating performance differences?

Powder coating is known for its outstanding durability, but it can be damaged and is much harder to repaint, usually requiring beadblasting, sandblasting or other extreme removal methods prior to re-paint. Although, this is not always the case, and we can do a certain limited amount of touch up.

 Some liquid coatings, such as polyurethane or epoxy are durable as well, and more easily and quickly repainted if necessary. Durability is dependent upon the coating chemistry. For instance, the high bake or low cure water products are not as durable and probably not recommended for outdoor uses.

What are the curing differences?

Powder cures at 325-450 degrees, depending upon the product and is ready to ship as soon as it cools. Liquids can be baked or air cured. Although force curing of liquid paints speeds up the curing process considerably, most manufacturers indicate complete curing times from 15-30 days. Air curing at ambient temperatures is dependant upon atmospheric conditions and mil thickness, among other things, and could be 24-48 hours.

What is the best end use function of each?

Typically, any plastic or decorative or cosmetic finish is best suited in a liquid process. For example, an inner frame might be powder coated for durability, but the cosmetic skins would be liquid sprayed because of the "Class A" cosmetic requirement. 

A "Class A" finish is difficult at best to produce in powder products, as any powder manufacturer will warn. Also, stock color choices in powder coatings, although expanding, is limited, and custom color can escalate costs to a minimum purchase of 250 pounds at a cost of $2500 or more. Not exactly what you are looking forward to in a prototype situation. You might also be looking at a 3 to 7 week lead time for custom powder materials. When deciding powder versus liquid consider the following:

color choice 

substrate materials 

color choice 

substrate materials 

product end use and functionality

design limitations 

durability requirements 

time and price constraints 

We offer design and finish consultation as part of our regular customer service and would be happy to assist with your concerns and questions in this area.

Which process is better suited for interior or exterior use?

The durability of the coating is dependent on the coating chemistry. Both products stand up well inside or outside, but you will, more importantly, need to determine how the subject parts will be used. For example, if you are a family of 5 and your patio furniture takes a real beating you probably need powder coating. 

If, on the other hand, enjoy hosting a fabulous garden party and have your furniture match your BBQ apron, you probably would be happy with a durable liquid coating (especially if your furniture is plastic).

Can you mask or fill in either process?

Masking certain areas of a part to keep areas free of paint or to allow for a two or three tone paint pattern is easily accomplished in either process.

 Filling for powder coating is very limited, although hardware filling is generally acceptable. Extensive filling generally resists powder adhesion. However, liquid spraying can easily tolerate the patching or filling process.