Archive for April 25, 2016

Rising Base Metals Rocketing to the Top?

nickel-plating-plated-nitecBase metals are essential in the growth of the infrastructure, manufacturing and utilities sector of the UK.  The mining of base metals refers to major industrial non-ferrous metals like nickel, copper, tin and aluminium.  It is the dramatically increasing energy and urbanisation demand which are making the need for the metals rise, as well as the fact that they are used for automotive systems, metal coatings, electrical systems and make many goods more durable.  But will fluctuating prices negatively impact the base metal market?

 

Nickel Plating is Key

In 2014, Lead-zinc accounted for 24% of the global market and copper accounted for 16%.  Zinc was popular due to its specific characteristics, such as its unique bonding abilities with other metals, anti-corrosive properties and it has the ability to galvanise well.  The attributes have boosted its use considerably.  Copper is predicted to rise, forecast until 2023, thanks to its proven strength in the infrastructure sector.  The use of tin is also set to rise through the use of tin coating for electronic components in the automotive sector.  However, the most interesting sales increase seems to be a very specific area of the Nickel world to increase its sales – this seems to be nickel plating – though the reasons or sectors remain unspecified.

 

Information Regarding Nickel Plating

There are two types of Nickel Plating – Electroless Nickel Plating (ENP) and Diffused Nickel Plating.

Diffused Nickel Plating is a simple process which is the most effective nickel coating, ensuring a high resistance level against corrosion.  This is thanks to its total encapsulation plating method.  It has been proven that their corrosion resistance is more effective than that of the highest grade stainless steel, whilst at the same time being much cheaper.  Diffused Nickel Plating is the perfect plating method if your components are used in marine or salt environments.  This gives them a 30 year sub-sea guarantee.

In a similar way, Electroless Nickel Plating is a high quality but cost effective solution to metal coating which can extend the longevity of components dramatically.  It is creates a good resistance against corrosion and is often used in marine, oil and defence industries.    Electroless Nickel Plating prevents rust, wear and friction.  It can also be hardened through the use of heat treatment and is guaranteed not to chip or flake, like paint or varnish does.

Electroless Nickel Plating and Diffused Nickel Plating

A question often asked is…What is the different between the two types of Nickel Plating?  The basic answer is very simple – the plating processes used are very different.

It has already been deciphered that Diffused Nickel Plating occurs when the encapsulation plating method is performed but this is not the same as Electroless Nickel Plating.  The process for this occurs when a layer of even thickness metal is deposited evenly over the surface of a component, no matter what its shape.  The uniformity in its coating means that it is the perform plating method for components which are used in particular industries, such as Healthcare, Defence, Automotive and Aerospace, where the components are often not standard, need to be hygienic, regularly cleaned and are under constant stress.

Contact Us Today at NiTEC UK

If you or your business are interested in plating, be it electroless nickel plating or diffused nickel plating or copper plating, then get in touch with NiTEC UK?  A Derbyshire based company, we are leading specialists in the plating industry offering a wide range of well-developed, tried and tested techniques which are high-end and also cost effective.  We have experience of working for many different industries, including the aerospace, medical, army and automotive industries, to name but a few.  We offer our services to the whole of the UK, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland.  Call us today on 0845 224 3571 or alternatively you can email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk

 

Bronze, Silver, Gold

nickel-silver-gold-copper-plating-nitecAmerica, pre-1965.  Everyone had some silver coins, saved silver coins and spent silver coins – silver money was a part of natural, normal everyday life.  Nowadays, the choice you have for acquiring gold and silver bullion, is best if you do so via historic metal, like silver coinage.  This occurred in America, when their government cut their ties with gold in 1933, but they continued to have access with ease to silver for the next three decades.  This however, was abandoned in 1965 due to America slipping in to irreparable bankruptcy.

Gold Price Sells Silver

It’s a known fact that the higher the price of gold, the more silver is sold and copper plated currency isn’t used at all.  The ratio of silver to gold today is 79:1 with prices estimated $16 : $1,250.  So obviously in an economic meltdown, cheap silver will be chosen over the more expensive (90 per cent) and once these have both been exploited they will then turn to the gold.

Common Plating

Plating facilities match base metals with a wide array of coating surface metal finishes.  The most commonly used are copperbrassnickel, steel and bronze.  In order to decide which surface metal is used to coat for the finish, the components uses are highly considered so that the manufacturer can get the highest performance and longest lasting component part electroplated.

As examples:

Gold plating is the perfect solution for electrical conductivity, heat protection and corrosion and can survive in a multitude of environments and temperatures.

Silver plating is commonly used in the electrical industry dues to its low electrical resistance.

Nickel plating is ideal for the chemical industry.  It protects against chemicals and is corrosion and wear resistant.

Copper plating is most commonly used in the automotive industry.

Contact Us Today at NiTEC UK

If you or your business are interested in plating, be it electroless nickel plating or copper plating or heat treatment which may require specialist assistance, then get in touch with NiTEC UK?  A Derbyshire based company, we are leading specialists in the plating industry offering a wide range of well-developed, tried and tested techniques which are high-end and also cost effective.  We have experience of working for many different industries, including the aerospace, medical, army and automotive industries, to name but a few.  We offer our services to the whole of the UK, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland.  Call us today on 0845 224 3571 or alternatively you can email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Heat Treatment and Homogenising

aluminium-heat-treatment-alloy-nitecWhen you think of heat treatment, I wonder what type of metal you associate it with?  Aluminium is probably not the first metal that springs to mind.  Why?  Because it is thought of as being a soft metal.  But there are certain, specific alloys which respond incredibly well to heat treatment, in fact, they actually respond in almost the same way as steel and iron.  So, what are the specific types of aluminium alloys?  They are aluminium alloys containing copper, zinc, or a blend of magnesium and silicon which enable them to respond well to the heat treatment process.  Be aware that pure aluminium and aluminium alloyed with manganese or magnesium does not work under heat treatment.  Therefore, when referring to the heat treatment process during this article, it is aluminium alloys containing copper, zinc or a blend of magnesium and silicon that is being referred to.

Harmonious Homogenising

Aluminium alloys come in to contact with the mold via their outside edge first, which forms a layer or skin of aluminium crystals, which are called grains.   This occurs when aluminium alloys are being cast.  They cool from the outside in, with the elements of the alloy precipitating which locks crystals in regionally.  This is how some areas become hard and some remain soft.  To even this imbalance out, we need homogenizing, so that redistribution of the precipitation can occur.  This means that the temperature needs to be taken to just below melting point which is between 900 and 1000 degrees farenheit.  Having reached the homogenizing temperature, the component is left to cool slowly, so that the internal structures uniformity is reached.

Annealing Aluminium Alloys

If you then require you aluminium alloys to be shaped, you will then require another process which is known as annealing.  The alloys must be heated once again to 570°F to 770°F for anywhere between thirty minutes to three hours, depending on the alloys composition and the component part.  Unlike the heat treatment or homogenising processes, the cooling process post annealing is not a critical factor in this process.

NiTEC UK and You

If you or your business are interested in the heat treatment process, or plating whether it is tin plating electroless nickel plating or copper plating, then why not get in touch with NiTEC UK.  A Derbyshire based company, we are leading specialists in the plating industry offering a wide range of well-developed, tried and tested techniques which are high-end and also cost effective.  We have experience of working for many different industries, including the aerospace, medical, army and automotive industries, to name but a few.  We offer our services to the whole of the UK, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland.  Call us today on 0845 224 3571 or alternatively you can email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Aluminium and Copper – Which and Why?

copper-wiring-plating-nitecThey are both metals – yes – but other than that they have many differences, the main ones of which are their weight, cost, appearance and their capacitance which, to the average Joe, is a metals ability to store electrical chargeAluminium was, in days gone by, the metal of choice but it seems today that Copper is making a comeback and the designers are switching over!

Copper used in wiring and electrical equipment is nominally pure which is why it is being chosen over Aluminium because Aluminium in its purest form does not seem to be strong enough to cope with many electrical applications.  Different Aluminium alloy properties change depending on the process they are subjected to.  If they are subjected to heat treatment for example, Al6101 becomes harder and stronger.

It has been a rather common misconception that Aluminium has been too soft for some uses and therefore compression connectors must be used to overcome this.  But, with design and plating changes, these compression connectors are no longer necessary.  Alloys and processing can instead be used in order to make Aluminium become just as useful, as good and as strong as Copper…ALMOST!

Copper Coating and Copper Plating

Sounds familiar but this is the opposite way round.  In order to reduce the corrosion of Aluminium and Copper, they are coated in Tin or Silver to reduce their corrosion, because without this Aluminium and Copper are both prone to oxidation and are therefore likely to rust and parts not work appropriately or safely.

All About Copper Plating

Copper Plating is decorative but normally used as it is an extremely functional metal.  It is often used for electricals, road mending techniques, medics and in telecommunications, it really is a multifunctional plating technique.  This is thanks to it being such an excellent conductor, its ability to shield against electro magnetic interference and radio frequency interference, and its excellent levelling properties.  Copper plating is highly thought of in the medical world especially due to the fact that it naturally kills bacteria, thus making it a great protector against infections and diseases, so often also used in laboratory settings, too.

Contact Us Today at NiTEC UK

If you or your business are interested in plating, be it copper platingelectroless nickel plating or heat treatment which may require specialist assistance, then why not get in touch with us, here at NiTEC UK?  We are a Derbyshire based company and are leading specialists in the plating industry, offering a wide range of well-developed, tried and tested techniques which are high-end and also cost effective.  We have experience of working for many different industries, including the aerospace, medical, army and automotive industries, to name but a few.  We offer our services to the whole of the UK, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland.  Call us today on 0845 224 3571 or alternatively you can email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk