Potential of anodizing aluminum
Clariant has been providing dyes and colorants for finishing anodized aluminium for more than half a century and a unique three-way partnership is highlighting the design possibilities using this special process. Almost one-hundred years ago aluminum revolutionized the world with the discovery of new manufacturing processes and strong alloys that were lighter than steel. Today, its properties make aluminum attractive for many industries including transportation, electrical and packaging, architecture, and food. As it's recyclable it also has environmental and economic advantages.
Aluminum creates a sophisticated look that can transform an application and, in many applications, including architecture, it can be anodized - a process that protects against corrosion, enhances aesthetics, resists scratching and is very durable.
Just over a decade ago the Belarussian aluminum floor coverings company KTM-2000 decided to invest seriously in the construction of its own anodizing line and, in addition to its existing business, it added the anodizing of aluminum façade claddings to its catalogue. The rest, as they say, is history.
"In 2014 I met Clariant and its distributor for its anodized aluminum colors, Omya. After the inspiration of these meetings, we decided that Clariant's dyes could significantly expand KTM- 2000's capabilities, and the three-way partnership would help our business gain the experience to make a unique offer on the market," said Taras Gvozdkov, CEO of KTM-2000. Clariant's portfolio for aluminum finishing for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East is available through its exclusive distributor Omya (Schweiz) AG.
In quick succession KTM-2000 was commissioned to produce the façade of the Office of the 3rd line of the Minsk Metro and the façade of the Primakov school in a region of Moscow.
"Clariant and Omya helped KTM-2000 through these projects in a collaborative way, overcoming challenges through technical consulting and on-site trainings and workshops. The results spoke for themselves with finishes that display excellent light and weather fastness - unique in the industry, scratch resistance, corrosion stability, surface hardness, and heavy-metal free formulation, " explained Andreas van Baerle, Head of Sales Aluminium Finishing EMEA at Omya.
These led to the KTM-2000's most significant project to date, the Palace of Rhythmic Gymnastics in Minsk where experience acquired from earlier commissions proved critical. "We had to complete the project in a very short time and finish a 10'000 square meter facade with 12 different color shades. It was a real challenge, but we developed 18 new work methods and new technological approaches to color anodizing. As a result, we completed the project on time and in just 70 days," explained Gvozdkov.
Clariant's palette of high-quality colorants for aluminum finishing is one of the broadest in the industry, with tailor-made solutions focused on improved sustainability and energy efficiency. The range of dyes and aluminum finishing chemicals are manufactured according to strict Swiss safety and environmental requirements and are suitable for outdoor and indoor architectural applications. The Sanodal range of dyes, used in this partnership, offers exceptional light and weather fastness properties, in a broad range of shades.
In addition, based on clients' complex individual requirements, with Omya, Clariant can offer technical customer services for all the steps in a production process, operation support, and workflow optimization, provided locally by Clariant technical centers and regional exclusive partners wherever possible. This support ensures that dyeing processes are optimized, aiding the development of special products and solutions to enhance end-products such as car parts, electrical devices and appliances.
This three-way KTM-2000-Omya-Clariant partnership shows the advantage and possibilities of working with color and anodized aluminum, and it looks set to continue, "Thanks to the partnership with Clariant and Omya, KTM-2000 has achieved success and completed some significant projects, but we believe that the most interesting projects are still ahead!" concludes Gvozdkov.
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