With the successful release of SilverAnt’s titanium crystallization range, I thought this week to release a blog piece. The first purpose is for the blog to accompany our titanium crystallization video. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it below.
Secondly, with the crystallization release, SilverAnt has received a lot of feedback and questions from customers wanting to know more. With this, my aim is to explain further the intricacies of titanium crystallization.
So without further delay below is a summary of the areas we shall cover.
What is Titanium Crystallization?
The Titanium Crystallization Process
Sandblasting VS Crystallization
Advantages of Crystallization
Disadvantages of Crystallization
What is Titanium Crystallization?
Titanium crystallization is achieved by time, pressure, and heat. It's three elements working in harmony together.
The crystallized finish required SilverAnt to make an investment in a new piece of machinery last year. Only using specialized equipment can this effect be achieved. Due to the heat, and pressure needed the machine works in a vacuum.
The titanium crystallized pattern on the titanium products is totally unique. By this I mean no two products are the same. Under a microscope or close up with the naked eye the crystalline pattern will never be identical. It is like the human fingerprint or a snowflake. There are many similarities but each crystalline pattern is totally different.
This is what makes this process so special. Not only is it the added production process to achieve the titanium crystallized finish, but more so the precision needed.
To create the effect I already mentioned the heat, pressure and time, but there is much more. Every product SilverAnt makes is different and therefore every titanium product requires a different amount of pressure, heat and time.
Inside the vacuum we can utilize temperatures of up to 1200 degrees celsius. This creates immense pressure which in turn creates the crystalline effect.
When we first received the equipment a lot of trial and error was needed because we had to work out specifically the time frame for each product. The larger the product the longer time needed as well as temperature. This is in part due to the titanium products surface area. For example a titanium tea cup requires a lower temperature and time in contrast to our large titanium kettle.
The Titanium Crystallization Process
To achieve the titanium crystallization effect every titanium product follows the same manufacturing process.
1. Sourcing - All SilverAnt’’s titanium either comes from Sichuan province in Western China or from South Korea. We purchase our titanium firstly as sheets.
2. Cutting - After receiving the titanium sheets we need to cut identical sized product shapes into the titanium. Each product will have many different parts which later will be welded together.
3. Pressing - With the titanium sheet sizes cut the next step is to press the titanium. The press machine ensures identical copies of each component for that product. Excess titanium after pressing is then cut and removed where necessary before being recycled.
4. Welding - At SilverAnt we use laser welding technology to weld all the titanium product components together. We do this for every product to ensure precision and strength.
5. Buffing/Sandblasting - After welding we need to buff the welds smooth and then every product is sandblasted with abrasive microparticles.
6. Cleaning - With the product assembly complete it is time for a deep clean in an ultrasonic bath. We thoroughly clean and rinse every product before drying.
7. Crystallization - With crystal clean and dry products we then send the relevant products for the titanium crystallization. This takes up to 15 hours and then a little longer for the products to cool down after being exposed to sustained temperatures of 1200 degrees celsius.
8.Cleaning (Round 2) - With the titanium crystallization complete all products are then sent to be cleaned again.
9.Laser Logo Engraving - Now the crystallized titanium products are dry we apply the SilverAnt logo user laser log engraving. To watch the laser logo engraving process you can watch our manufacturing video here.
10.Packaging - The final step is packaging and placing into boxes ready to be shipped worldwide.
Sandblasting VS Crystallization
In the titanium outdoor industry all companies finish their products with sandblasting. This isn’t a coating or lining, but an abrasive finish to give the titanium an even look.
Sandblasting is the use of abrasive microparticles in an enclosed machine to remove the natural titanium discoloration. Unlike stainless steel which is regularly coated and then after a while peels. Titanium should never be coated or lined to protect the integrity of its natural biocompatibility.
Now I want to make a distinction.
Before titanium crystallization all titanium products need to be sandblasted. This is because the product before crystallization needs to have an even finish. If the product wasn’t sandblasted the crystallized effect would be patchy due to the various shades of grey that titanium naturally has.
So although the heading title states sandblasting versus crystallisation. The actual fact is that without sandblasting you wouldn’t have the cool even titanium crystallized finish.
Advantages Of Crystallization
Crystallization has been around for a long time and the one item I think about when I see this finish is titanium knives. There are some absolutely beautiful and ornate knives made from titanium that look epic!
But the main question is what are the advantages of crystallized titanium? And why SilverAnt decided to invest in this equipment to produce crystallized titanium outdoor products?
Firstly the look is super cool and adds a really high-quality appearance to any item of titanium gear. Ultralight titanium gear is built to be used for a lifetime so why not have it looking epic as well?
Also from the initial release of SilverAnt’s crystallized titanium range we have had a lot of reviews saying friends or family are quite envious of the look and quality. Amongst friends at the campsite titanium gear already has a stand-out effect so why not enhance it?
Secondly, every crystallized titanium product is totally unique. This makes it the perfect gift for family and friends. Whether you are gifting a titanium hip flask or a crystallized titanium tea set. Every crystallized pattern is different.
Thirdly, a big factor to think about are the natural properties of titanium. Titanium is biocompatible, anticorrosive, and mold/bacteria resistant, as well as strong, durable, and ultralight. With the crystallization process, because the effect is achieved with time, pressure, and heat, it isn’t a coating or lining. Over a lifetime of use, the effect will never fade, discolor, or be removed. With titanium anodization, the effect can discolor and fade over the years. In contrast to titanium crystallization, this doesn’t happen.
Lastly, with the classic titanium sandblasting a common issue for people getting their first piece of titanium gear is fingerprints. The effect can look dirty and fingerprints are clearly visible. This can be off-putting for some customers.
A titanium-crystallized product doesn’t have this issue.
Fingerprints are much less visible if at all.
Disadvantages Of Crystallization
Titanium crystallization as with everything in life, there are of course disadvantages.
The first one is cost. Titanium is more expensive than other materials such as stainless steel and plastic. Adding further steps to the manufacturing process only increases the price. Therefore, not everyone is willing to pay extra for a novelty item of gear.
The second disadvantage is SilverAnt doesn’t advise using the crystallized titanium gear on a campfire.
When selecting the products we would crystallize we selected hip flasks, tea and coffee sets, as well as a select couple of water bottles. This is because on a campfire you can’t control the flames and the flames can lick the bottom and sides of the product leaving black soot marks. This is hard to remove as well spoiling the epic looks of the crystallized titanium.
The same applies to anodized titanium products. You want to maintain their colorful appearance and if the product is used for cooking or boiling water you want to use only gas. At present SilverAnt hasn’t released any titanium camping cookware with a crystallized finish because of this very reason. Only for our large titanium kettle have we offered the crystallized finish.
How to Care and Clean Crystallized Titanium
A titanium product will last you a long time. Think decades. They are not only durable but mold/bacteria resistant too. This means that for even those amongst us who detest cleaning, your titanium gear will still be doing all right .
Nevertheless, with regular cleaning and, some care a SilverAnt crystallized titanium product will last longer than a lifetime.
How to Clean
The cleaning process for a Crystallized titanium product is simple.
The best way to clean a crystallized titanium product is to use a non-abrasive cloth and warm soapy water. Classic home dishwashing detergent is great.
For some titanium crystallized products you can place in a dishwasher. For example the titanium beer cup and tea cups. However, you cant dishwash the crystallized titanium flasks or titanium water bottles. These have a silicon seal which can be affected by the heat inside the dishwasher.
When cleaning avoid using abrasive cloths, scourers, and steel wool. This can scratch the crystallized finish leaving marks on the surface.
Best Care Practices
As I’ve already mentioned to use a titanium crystallised product on a campfire isn’t the best choice. The uncontrollable flame will leave some nice black marks on the crystallized surface which are very hard to remove. For cooking and boiling always use a gas stove with an adjustable flame.
Another tip is to make sure you don’t bang the product against a hard-surface. You can put a knock or dent in it. This applies to all types of titanium gear, not just crystallized.
Lastly, as with all products of fine quality, store your crystallized titanium products properly. For products such as the crystalized titanium hip flask, you’ll want to make sure the lid is screwed on tightly and kept away from direct sunlight to protect the alcohol inside.
Due to the simplicity of the products very little care and maintenance is needed. If you need a new leakproof silicon seal just send our team a message.
Titanium crystallization is an awesome finish! It looks great and boasts sweet properties in terms of biocompatibility, anticorrosion, and mold/bacteria resistance. And of course, it’s ultralight and strong.
For those that love novelty high-quality gear, the SilverAnt crystallized range is the perfect gift.
Thanks for reading if you have any further questions regarding the titanium crystallization process leave a message below.
To your next adventure.