ABEL Black: Unique Coloring Technology for Stainless Steel Creates Beautiful Black Effect

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ABEL Black: Unique Coloring Technology for Stainless Steel Creates Beautiful Black Effect

ABEL, which provides surface processing for stainless steel, has developed a unique technology called ABEL Black, which combines stylishness with functionality.

"For coloring stainless steel, the first methods that come to mind are plating and coating, but with stainless steel, platings and coatings flake off quickly. Stainless steel in its original silver color is very attractive, but it also gives a cold impression. So, there’s long been a need to color stainless steel to make it look more ornamental. But because coloring soon flakes off, there haven’t really been any good methods for making stainless steel look decorative. To remedy that situation, we’ve developed a coloring technology for stainless steel."

With ABEL’s method for coloring stainless steel, an oxide film a few hundredths of a micron thick is formed on the surface, to produce various colors through optical interference. Until now, oxide films were usually formed using chemicals, but ABEL utilizes electricity in addition to chemicals, to control the thickness of the oxide film. This unique technology makes it possible to create a deep, beautiful black effect.

"To date, we’ve mostly used this method with construction materials, both for indoor and outdoor use. A black, lustrous finish gives a very luxurious impression. We call this color “Piano Black,” and it really does have a luster like a piano. In a luxury boutique where the signs and walls were that color, the merchandise really stood out well. So, this effect can be used in high-end stores, and recently, it’s also been used in the elevators at SkyTree. It creates a luxurious, stylish effect."

Another advantage of this technology is that forming a thick oxide film on stainless steel also gives the steel even greater resistance to corrosion. Also, because this method can minimize reflection, it can be used for optical components in devices such as cameras.

"As a future development, we’d like to not only undertake surface processing, but gain more orders for entire projects, including material selection and processing. To advance to that stage, we’re developing a new product – a coiled stainless steel material called Black Belt SUS. This is an outstanding material, which can be shaped after coloring it black. We’d like to see this new material come into widespread use."

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