Interview with Dr Salvador A. Marcilla Gomis, Aludium’s R&D Director
What was the motivation behind Cindal’s decision to develop Decorandum®?
A number of years ago we undertook an analysis of the processes lift makers use to create the decorative panels in elevators. Through these processes, the supplier is looking to create decorative panels which are tactile but durable in high-use areas. Touch is very important for example, the metal needs to feel cold.
At the same time, the suppliers are looking to reduce the weight of the parts they produce, and they also want to reduce costs. One way to do this is to reduce labour costs by automating processes. However, decorative aluminium elements require a lot of manual work. Brushing surfaces is very time consuming and many suppliers still do this by hand.
From this analysis, the Cindal team started to investigate whether we could find answers to these problems, and increase the use of aluminium in decorative applications at the same time.
The result is Decorandum®, a product that our customers don’t need to brush by hand anymore. The aluminium comes directly from the mill in a brushed state and with very consistent quality. Brushing has become an industrial process, but with the look and feel of a handcrafted product.
When was Decorandum® launched?
It took us four years to develop and optimise a completely new production process. Decorandum® was registered last year and officially launched at Automotive Interiors 2015. Although this wasn’t the first application we envisaged for Decorandum®, we are now in the qualification phase with a number of automotive customers. We’re providing them with technical support to fine tune their processes so that Decorandum® can be integrated into their products.
How many finishes are available?
From the start we decided to develop a complete product line. We have created three different grades, each with a different type of longitudinal brushstroke. Two of the grades are available in a standard or vivid finish. Vivid (denoted by a V in the product name) has a deeper, more explicit roughness. The three grades are:
- Decorandum® D10: Provides the smoothest finish, bringing the feeling of luxury to almost any application.
- Decorandum® D30/D30V: The lightweight alternative to stainless steel. Combines the roughest finish with medium track lines to create a sparkling and flashy appearance.
- Decorandum® D50/D50V: Guarantees an elegant and classic appearance with a smooth finish and the longest track lines.
We can supply Decorandum® in a wide range of alloys and thicknesses from 0.10 to 1.5 millimetres (or thicker on request). This ensures it can work in different production processes. Aludium can deliver Decorandum® as coils, slit coils, or sheets.
What the advantages of Decorandum®?
There are many, but the main advantage is thickness. We can deliver Decorandum® in a wide range of thicknesses, including very thin. This allows suppliers to use Decorandum® as a decorative layer on a plastic, moulded component. But it can also be used as a structural (and decorative) part. The aluminium gives strength to the part, but not additional weight. These properties make it ideal for interior decorative applications.
Decorandum® is also available in a wide range of alloys. And it can be anodised or lacquered to add colour or the correct level of corrosion protection for the application.
In which sectors do you think Decorandum® could add value?
We initially developed Decorandum® as a decorative solution. But it has the potential to be used in a wide variety of applications. Decorandum® is very suitable for automotive trim such as dashboards or panels, or as a finish for domestic appliances such as refrigerators. Essentially anywhere stainless steel is used purely for decorative purposes. But Decorandum® has the advantage of light weight, easy formability, and a selection of decorative patterns.
We have already seen Decorandum® used to finish the hall of an office building. There are a lot of structural pillars clad in Decorandum® to give the stainless steel look. In fact, it would have been impossible to clad these pillars in stainless steel because the radius is too small. For Decorandum® this was not a problem thanks to its flexible thickness.
How can our customers get their hands on Decorandum®?
You need to see it, to believe it! That’s why we have implemented a sample service at Cindal. We ensure each of our sales managers has samples that they can show their customers. So ask your sales manager for a demonstration today.