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The majority of modern door handlesets are manufactured from metal components, with brass being used most frequently. Processes for producing door handles include pouring molten metal into molds, or casting, as well as the more commonly used forging process. In forging, metal is heated and then pressed into dies of various shapes. This efficient process makes exterior door handlesets and interior door handles that are up to 250% stronger than those made with a casting process.
Forging consists of several key steps:
1. A piece of metal is heated to extreme temperatures in a furnace and then placed in a shaped die. Intense pressure is exerted on the die, thus forming the heated metal to the die cavity shape.
2. The new door handle is then taken out of the die press, cooled, trimmed, and washed.
3. Now the door handle is ready for its surface to be finished. Processes involved to prepare it for polishing include drilling, milling, tapping, and coining. The thumblatch and locking mechanism are now assembled, and the handle is buffed for shine.
4. To protect the door handle finish, an organic or inorganic coating is put on using physical vapor deposition or electroplating. Inorganic coatings are becoming more widely used since the solvents in organic coatings (such as acrylic and polyurethane) can hamper quality and generate hazardous materials.
5. Manufacturers then examine the completed door handleset for quality control issues such as surface finish, dimension consistency, and building code compliance.