Making our anodised aluminium dials in Scotland
The anodising process
The name ‘anodising’ comes from the fact that the material in question needs to be treated as anode. It is then dipped into an acid bath containing a cathode, causing a current to pass through the material. This controlled oxidation process causes an oxide to form on the surface of the anode, in this case our newest watch dials.
Before the anodising process, the aluminium is cleaned with an acid or alkaline to remove dirt and grease. Materials can also be pre-treated to achieve specific finishes, like matt or high-gloss finishes.
Aluminium blanks undergoing pre-treatment in degreasing solution
NPI Solutions Limited is perhaps not an obvious choice for watch manufacturing. Specialising in precision machining, sheet metal fabrication and PCB (printed circuit board) assembly, the connection to our newest watch is not obvious. We needed people who could work with anodised aluminium, one of the cornerstones of the production of the Neo.
Located in Irvine, just outside Ayr, the factory was a good fit for Paulin because we were looking to work with local manufacturers and creatives.
Managing director Kevin Priestley took some time to answer a couple of our questions.
What sorts of projects does NPI usually take on?
All kinds of work, as long as it is small to medium in physical size and low to medium in volume. We are also more than happy to take on conceptual projects where the exact form has not been settled upon or fully design freeze level work.
Fibre laser, cutting aluminium blanks
Is there anything that NPI is particularly known for?
In general, our customers tend to prefer to take credit for the success of the specific product or the projects might be covered by national security regulations. This is all part of it though and I am quite happy with that.
We are most prevalent in the audio, national grid, defence and creative industries. Our work regularly features in industry specific publications in front cover positions.
Securing the dials before they are dipped into the chemical solution
Anodised dials being removed from the chemical bath
What benefits does anodising add to the properties of aluminium parts?
Anodising creates a barrier that protects the substrate against many harsh environments and chemicals, making it very stable. It also electrically insulates the item and allows the addition of coloured dials - like the new dials for the Neo watch.
What appealed about working with Paulin?
Paulin matched our desire to work within creative industries and local companies.
Finished anodised aluminium dials
To see our new anodised aluminium dials in action find the Neo watch here.