"Class A" Finish

Can you tell me the exact definition of a “Class A” finish? What other classes are there and what defines them?


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Q. I’m in charge of metal finishing operations at my plant and responsible for the appearance of products leaving the site. We have a customer who demands a “Class A” finish on his products. He claims the products we are sending him have only a “Class B” finish. Can you tell me the exact definition of a “Class A” finish? What other classes are there and what defines them? Thank you. B.H.

 

A. As I’ve said before, a “Class A” finish, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. “Class A” finishes generally have the fewest surface defects and most consistent color and gloss. A good example would be a refrigerator door or an automobile hood. In essence, a “Class A” finish would be applied to those parts of a product first seen by a prospective buyer. Going back to a refrigerator, the door should have a “Class A” finish (no visible defects), while the sides and top of the wrapper, which are often hidden by kitchen cabinets, could have a “Class B” finish (very few visible defects). Following this line of reasoning, the rear panel, which is hardly ever seen, could have a “Class C” finish (some visible defects).

Did you ever see or discuss your customer’s finish specifications? On the other hand, do you have a written specification? Having one and adhering to it gives you more leverage in helping to determine whether your customer is correct in rejecting your products. To provide a “Class A” finish for any customer, you must know his expectations or his finish specification as to color, gloss, allowable surface defects, etc. These properties often vary from customer to customer. He could use his own company specifications, industry association specifications or others. 

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