The 3 P’s – Plating, Process and Products

After only a couple of decades, the metal finishing world has been transformed.  Electroplating is the most modern form of metal finishing which is used in a wide array of industries such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare and military defence, to name but a few.  During this electrochemical process the metal ions in solution are bonded to a metal substrate via the process of electrodeposition.

Pre-Electroplating

Before electroplating was a front runner in the metal finishing world, parts had to be properly cleaned before entering a series of chemical baths to prepare and activate in order to prepare and activate the metal to create strong adhesion created during the process of electrodeposition.

The Plating Process

Electroplating baths involve multiple variables and components which must be closely monitored constantly.  The parts have a constant power supply provided directly to them which initiates the ion attraction in the solution towards to metallic surface.  Every time a mole of electrons is transferred to the part in question, one mole of metallic ions in solution adhere directly to the part as well.  Whilst this happens a chemical reaction also occurs on the surface of the part which includes ions being reduced and oxidised.

What do you need to consider before electing to use Electroplating?

  • Because electrical and chemical reactions are both involved in the electroplating process, exposure is critical to the finished product. The nesting of parts will create a lack of adhesion and lack of coverage which should be avoided.
  • Plating thickness should be kept in mind when dimension tolerance is designated and the extra room for electroplating should be left so that parts fit together after the process has occurred.
  • What environment are the parts going to be exposed to? This will help you to decide what level of thickness you will require in order for your part to be made corrosion proof.
  • The geometry of the part in relation to the current distribution aka current density, across the surface of a part. Plating builds up on sharp corners, bends and threads for example.
  • Do you need to think about the drainage of plating solutions the addition of a weep hole may need to be added during its design phase in order for it to be successful.
  • Think about the type of metal you should be using in relating to the job you want it to do for you! What characteristics do you need the surface to have for the job in question?  Does it need to be a conductor, have low friction, be strong, corrosion resistant, hard wearing etc?  This should make you therefore lead you in to thinking about the types of plating which would be effective – Gold plating, Silver plating, Nickel plating or Copper plating

Electroplating Suppliers at Your Convenience

NiTEC UK are a Derbyshire based company, who are experts in the Electroless Nickel Plating process or ENP.  If you are interested in finding out about Electroless Nickel Plating or other process we supply, such as Diffused Nickel plating, Shot blasting or Heat Treatment, then why not give us a call on 0845 224 3571.  Alternatively, you could get in touch with our friendly and professional staff via email at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or click here to go directly to our website to extensively discover our services.