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The Composition and Structure of Electroless Nickel Plating

Component plated with high phosphorus electroless nickelThe structure of electroless nickel is responsible for the unique properties it possesses, making it such a useful metal coating. Electrodeposited nickel typically has a crystalline structure, whereas an electroless nickel deposit is normally described as having an amorphous structure or one consisting of ultra-fine crystallites. The amorphous nature of electroless nickel deposits become more dominant as the phosphorus content increases, and phosphorus contents above 10.5% are typically considered truly amorphous.

The absence of a well-defined crystal structure eliminates the possibility of inter-granular corrosion that can be a problem with crystalline deposits, such as electrolytic nickel. Electroless nickel, therefore, provides a barrier that is more effective at protecting a substrate from corrosion.

Heat Treatment and Electroless Nickel Plating

Heat treatment can also be used to change the properties and structure of nickel phosphorus deposits. High temperature heat treatment solutions for sustained periods can be used to diffuse the electroless nickel layer into the steel, giving a degree of flexibility to the coating. This process does not affect the increased corrosion protection offered by this type of deposit.

The Composition of Electroless Nickel Coatings

The phosphorus content of an electroless nickel coating has a great effect on the properties of the deposit, and can be varied over a wide range.

High Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Coatings

For example, high phosphorus electroless nickel typically contains a phosphorus content of between 10-12%, making it ideal for applications where a uniform, hard and highly corrosion resistant coating is required. Other advantages include low porosity, pit-free deposits and a very stable and robust coating.

Medium Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Coatings

Medium phosphorus solutions contain between 6 and 10% phosphorus and produce a coating which effectively combines intermediate hardness with good corrosion resistance. Medium phosphorus coatings deposit rapidly and produce a bright or semi-bright coating.

Low Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Coatings

A low phosphorus electroless nickel coating typically contains 2.5% phosphorus. This produces a very uniform porous free coating which uniformly covers the complete surface of the component, including inside recesses. It has excellent corrosion resistance in alkaline conditions, but the coating is relatively soft, below 235VPN, and is therefore not particularly wear resistant.

Worldwide Electroless Nickel Plating Service

Contact us today on 0845 224 3571 or email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk to talk through your electroless nickel plating requirements.

Top 5 Properties of Electroless Nickel Coatings

No other metal coating has the combination of properties offered by electroless nickel, which is why it is such a popular coating for a number of industries. As specialists in the process, we’ve put together the top 5 properties of electroless nickel plating.

Uniform Thickness

nickel plating technical figureElectroless nickel coatings can be applied in a variety of coating thicknesses. Electroless nickel can be deposited uniformly, with minimum variation from point to point. Regardless of the size and shape of the part, including recesses, holes, and complex dimensions, the uniformity of the coating can still be maintained. The range of thicknesses for electroless nickel coatings in commercial applications is 0.1 to 5 mils, however deposits as thick as 40 mils can be achieved.

Corrosion Resistance

One of the main reasons why electroless nickel plating is such a popular coating is the fact that it provides incredible corrosion resistance and corrosion protection. This property makes components coated with electroless nickel commonplace in functional applications. It is able to effectively withstand the combination of abrasion and corrosive chemicals, even in the most corrosive environments such as those encountered in drilling and producing oil wells.

Density

The density of electroless nickel coatings decline with increasing phosphorous content. That means that the higher the phosphorous content, the lower the density of the electroless nickel coating.

Adhesion

The surface preparation and activation of the electroless nickel plating is one of the most important factors for producing excellent adhesion. Electroless nickel deposits provide excellent adhesion to other substrates, for example steel, aluminium, copper and copper alloys. Heat treatment at a low temperature is commonly used to improve the adhesion of electroless nickel on all metals, especially on light metals such as aluminium or titanium. During this heat treatment, diffusion can occur between the atoms of the coating and the substrate.

Hardness

The hardness of electroless nickel coatings depends on the phosphorus content, and can be increased by heat treatment which will in turn increase wear resistance. Generally, low phosphorous electroless nickel coatings have a high hardness of 700-750 VPN and medium phosphorus electroless nickel has a hardness of 500-550 VPN. High phosphorous coatings are not usually heat-treated, but left as-plated for their superior corrosion protection.

Metal Plating Company in Derbyshire, UK

Here at NiTEC UK, we are experts in the process of electroless nickel plating. To find out more about our electroless nickel plating and other metal plating services, please call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

5 Reasons to Choose a Composite Diamond Coating for your Nickel Plating Needs

composite diamond coatingNickel diamond coatings are a popular composite diamond coating which combine an electroless nickel deposit with fine particles of diamonds. This type of coating provides a practical and affordable solution to using the fantastic properties of diamond on the surface of components. As experts in the process of nickel diamond plating, we’ve put together our top 5 reasons to use a composite diamond coating for your nickel plating needs.

Can be used to Coat a Variety of Substrates

Nickel diamond plating can be used to coat a variety of substrates including metals such as carbon and tool steels, aluminium, alloys, copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel and titanium.

Increases the Lifespan of Coated Machinery Parts

Nickel diamond plating provides a highly corrosion and wear resistant coating. By providing maximum protection to the surface of the substrate, coated machinery parts have an increased lifespan. This helps to keep maintenance and related downtime due to the replacement of high wear parts to a minimum, reducing costs.

Uniformity of Coating

Due to the electroless chemical method of deposition, nickel diamond plating is able to cover surfaces with perfect uniformity. Therefore, regardless of the geometry of the component, the nickel diamond coating creates a uniform deposition on all areas of the part, even on recesses and holes.

Can be used for a Variety of Applications

Nickel diamond can be used for a huge range of applications across a variety of industries. Common applications include high speed machinery parts for the textile industry, wood working tools, computer parts, paper handling equipment, mechanical shaft shields for automotive water pumps and chemical process pumps and gage blocks.

Nickel Diamond Plating and Composite Diamond Coating Services

If you are interested in the process of nickel diamond plating, NiTEC can help. To make an enquiry or simply to have a chat with one of our friendly team about your requirements, call us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

 

UK Industrial Output Increased by Rise in Oil and Gas Extraction

 

The UK’s industrial sector has received a significant boost thanks to an increased output of oil, gas and manufacturing. The Yorkshire Post has reported that industrial output grew at its fastest rate in six months in March, after an unexpected bounce in oil and gas extraction.

offshore oilrigOfficial data from the Office for National Statistics has showed that industrial output rose 0.5% in March, after creeping up by only 0.1% in February. This is the strongest growth since September, and has exceeded leading economists’ forecast of that it would remain the same.

Oil and Gas Extraction

Oil and gas extraction rose to 4.9%, which was its fastest rate since February 2014. Falling oil prices and rising production costs as North Sea oil gets scarcer had previously contributed to a general downward trend.

Britain’s economy grew by 2.8% in 2014, the fastest growth rate of any big advanced economy. It did lose pace in the first quarter of 2015 when total output rose by just 0.3%. However, recent data shows that manufacturing output rose by 0.4% after upwardly revised growth of 0.5% in February, which was slightly faster than expected.

Marine Corrosion Protection for the Oil and Gas Industry

Here at NiTEC UK, we carry out a significant amount of metal plating work for parts and components to be used in the oil and gas industries. A common requirement for plated components used in these industries is their ability to resist corrosion for a substantial amount of time, especially in subsea conditions.

Our commitment to research and development allowed us to create SeaTEC100, a metal coating that protects mild steel from salt spray corrosion and marine corrosion for an extensive period of time. SeaTEC 100 has been independently tested to withstand salt spray conditions for over 25,000 hours, a period of time that is unprecedented within the engineering industry.

Metal Plating for Oil and Gas Applications

We provide a range of metal finishing and metal plating services for both onshore and offshore oil and gas applications. For more information about corrosion resistant coatings, please call NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Fast Turnaround Metal Plating Services

As one of Europe’s largest electroless nickel plating specialists, NiTEC UK are proud to be able to offer a 24 hour turnaround on our metal plating services. Up until recently, we outsourced testing to an external company with a lead time of up to 2 weeks, but our new on-site laboratory means that we have access to in-house testing facilities including phosphorus levels, micro-section testing and hardness tests.

micro section testers chesterfieldOur laboratory specialises in the testing, validation and certification of specific customer requirements associated with various aspects of the plating industry. We decided to set it up in order to fill the gap in response in lead time processes, certification and verification.

  • Phosphorus testing
  • Kesternich testing
  • Hardness testing
  • Salt spray testing
  • Micro-section testing

Quality Director Paul Allen said, “The lab is a fantastic step for NiTEC. Not only can we reduce offsite costs for testing, we can offer our customers a much faster service. Completed plating jobs would often have to wait to be dispatched until the required test results and paperwork had been completed by a third party laboratory. Now that we do the necessary testing in-house, our service is so much quicker. So far, our customers are very happy!”

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Since the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been a considerable refocusing in the oil industry on the verification and traceability in subcontractor processes. The metal testing services available at NiTEC UK will ensure that your metal plated parts and components are safe, reliable, and fully certifiable to meet regulatory standards.

Accurate, Certifiable Testing

The specialist metal testing laboratory available at NiTEC UK has facilities ensure that all our testing methods are closely controlled. In addition, our ongoing investment in instrumentation means that thickness, micro-hardness and phosphorous analysis measurements can be obtained using non destructive testing methods, ensuring that we maintain a high level of quality.

Worldwide Metal Testing Services

The metal testing services at NiTEC UK are available throughout Europe and the rest of the world including the UK, France, Holland, Brazil and Germany. Once we receive your samples, we can turn around most tests in just 72 hours, with the exception of salt spray and sulphur dioxide (Kesternich) testing, which by definition will take a number of days. Once the tests are complete, you will receive your results in the format you have requested, including photographic evidence should you require it.

To find out more about our metal testing services, please call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

 

Top 3 Benefits of Applying Corrosion Resistant Coatings

Corrosion resistant coatings are incredibly useful in a variety of industries; from aerospace and defence to engineering and automotive. They are able to effectively protect metal parts and components against corrosion, which may include degradation due to moisture, oxidation, salt spray and exposure to a range of industrial or environmental chemicals.

electroless nickel plated componentOur metal plating experts at NiTEC UK use a variety of different anti-corrosion coatings depending on the specification and requirements of the customer. This allows for the added protection of metal surfaces and has the advantage of acting as a barrier that will inhibit the contact between the chemical compound of the component and the corrosive material that it is exposed to.

Of course, many of the coatings we offer are not exclusively corrosion resistant; many also offer the qualities of abrasion resistance, chemical protection and non-stick performance.

Resistant to Harsh Chemicals and Extreme Temperatures

Corrosion resistant coatings such as electroless nickel plating and nickel PTFE are resistant to environmental and industrial chemicals, as well as extreme temperatures.

Extended Life Span of Components

One of the major benefits of corrosion resistant coatings is their ability to extend the lifespan of components, ensuring that parts have the longest service time possible.

Servicing Costs Reduced

As parts last longer, the costs of servicing components can be reduced significantly. Downtime as a result of corroded parts is severely reduced or avoided altogether. The use of a corrosion resistant coating means that the costs of repairing, replacing or maintaining parts can be dramatically reduced or avoided altogether.

If you are looking for metal coatings that have outstanding levels of  corrosion resistance, electroless NiTEC UK have the perfect solution. Call us on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

Benefits of Corrosion Resistant Marine Coatings for Sub-Sea Components

As experts in a variety of corrosion resistant coatings, NiTEC UK have extensive experience in the oil and gas industry. Our metal finishing specialists understand the hostile environments and challenges that are presented by this industry, which is why we have taken the time and effort to develop a coating solution that has been specifically designed to address corrosion problems that arise in this area.

Increase the Lifespan of Sub-Sea Components

Corrosion resistant coatings are a great way of increasing the lifespan of subsea components within the oil and gas sector. Our metal coatings and metal finishing services have been designed and developed to address the wear, abrasion and deep sea corrosion issues that critical components are exposed to during their lifespan.

SeaTEC100 Marine Coating for Corrosion Resistance

seatec marine corrosion resistant metal coatingNiTEC UK’s SeaTEC100 can extend the life of mild steel operating in marine environments, and it is a very cost effective way of doing so.

Developed and tested by our specialist team, this product is able to protect mild steel from salt spray corrosion for an unprecedented length of time. Perfect for use in sub-sea conditions, SeaTEC100 increases the strength of items such as pipeline connectors, where the material is at its weakest level.

Protecting Mild Steel in Marine Environments

SeaTEC100 can effectively plate metal components, valves and connectors, making it the ideal plating for oil rigs and pipes used to transport oil and gas. This coating has also been tested to withstand salt spray conditions for over 25,000 hours, longer than any other coating has been tested for within the industry with positive results.

For more information about using our metal plating services and SeaTEC 100 to extend the life of parts exposed to subsea conditions, please contact the expert team at NiTEC by calling 0845 224 3571 or email us at web@nitec-enp.co.uk. Alternatively, you can visit the Nitec website for more information.

Top 5 Industries Using Electroless Nickel Plating

offshore oilrigElectroless nickel is an incredibly useful plating technique. Its advantages include corrosion resistance, uniformity of coating, and wear resistance, which are desirable attributes to a number of industries and applications. Here at NiTEC, we’ve put together a selection of the top 5 industries using electroless nickel plating as a coating, including application examples.

The Oil and Gas Industry

Components used in the oil and gas industry, especially those that are exposed to off shore environments, demand a very high level of protection and corrosion resistance. Electroless nickel plated components for pipelines and valves within this field have been used successfully for years. Electroless nickel plating on steel has excellent resistance in marine environments.

Engineering

Electroless nickel deposits are great for protecting components made of steel, aluminium, brass and alloys from abrasive and corrosive wear. As long as the plating solution can circulate freely in order to come into contact with all surfaces, it’s possible to achieve a specified thickness and even coating on the even the most complicated shaped components.

The Automotive Industry

Applications for electroless nickel plating are in abundance within the automotive industry due to electroless nickel plating’s good corrosion and abrasion resistance. For example, the plates of a viscous clutch can be coated, the parts for ABS systems can be nickel plated, as well as fuel injection pumps and carburettors.

The Textile Industry

Electroless nickel plated components are frequently used in the textile industry. Electroless nickel plating is very hard and has a high level of abrasion resistance. Therefore, heat treated deposits of electroless nickel and the use of composite coatings are perfect for extending the working life of parts that are in contact with fast moving textile products.

The Chemical Industry

Electroless nickel coatings are suitable for many applications in the chemical industry. This is because the coating is resistant to a wide variety of chemicals. It is often possible to use electroless nickel plating as a substitute for stainless steel. For example, it can be used for stirrers, valves, reaction tanks and covers.

UK Based Electroless Nickel Plating

Our high quality electroless nickel plating service is the perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the engineering, automotive and oil and gas industries. For more information, please call NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Electroless Nickel Plated Steel for The Darwin Centre at The Natural History Museum

Although this isn’t a recent project for our electroless nickel plating specialists at NiTEC UK, it’s definitely worth talking about on our blog! We were involved in a very exciting project in conjunction with The Natural History Museum and the development of their new extension, The Darwin Centre.

the natural history museumThis building consists of a glass structure attached to the famous London museum, and stores vast collections and housing new laboratories for scientists with ‘behind the scenes’ access for visitors. Our expertise was required to electroless nickel plate a series of steel ‘spiders’ which would hold the panels of glass together that the extension is constructed from.

Environmental Architecture

Phase I of the project was designed by the architectural firm HOK and completed in September 2002. It includes storage for the Museum’s collection of 22 million zoological specimens stored in spirit, and is a great example of a new wave of environmental architecture.

The 120,000 square feet/ 11,150 square metre building is faced by a large glass solar wall, held together with the electroless nickel plated ‘steel spiders’, and is designed to reduce heat in summer and heat loss in winter. It has a ‘caterpillar’ roof made of recyclable materials, which lets in lots of natural light, and reduces the need for electricity.

HOK used zoomorphic brackets in the solar wall of The Darwin Centre. These are sun-tracking metal louvers which move and change the appearance of the building. The centre also has a triple-skin, caterpillar like inflated roof. HOK used these techniques to reflect the centre’s work and ideals.

The environmental features of The Darwin Centre follow the designer’s wish to re-create ‘architecture parlante’. This is when the external appearance of a building reflects what happens inside, an idea which Alfred Waterhouse practised on the exterior of the main building with his use of animal sculptures. The designers also wanted to provide a visual connection to the main museum building by Waterhouse. It therefore incorporates terracotta, and the steel frame echoes the blue terracotta of the Victorian building.

Electroless Nickel Plating Services

As experts in electroless nickel plating and various other metal plating techniques, we have carried out a number of special projects in the fields of architecture, sculpture and engineering. For more information about our services, please visit our metal finishing website, call us on 0845 224 3571 or Email: info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Specialist Electroless Nickel Coatings for the Automotive Industry

brake caliper nickel plating

As experts in corrosion resistant coatings, NiTEC UK have developed a range of metal plating techniques and finishes that enhance the performance and aesthetics of parts used in the automotive industry.

Our advanced metal coatings have lead to us being trusted by worldwide automotive manufacturers, and we regularly plate components used by leading makers of cars.

Increase the Corrosion Resistance of Brake Calipers with Electroless Nickel Plating

As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating, NiTEC UK regularly plate arguably the most important part of a cars’ brake part; the brake calipers. High performance brake calipers are a key part of a modern car, and nickel is excellent for protecting steel, so is the perfect coating for applications of this sort.

As brake calipers are a necessity to allow your vehicle to stop, it is essential for them to be hard wearing and long lasting. Brake calipers are a vital part of your vehicle’s breaking system as they squeeze the brake pads against the surface of the brake rotor to slow or stop the vehicle.

Most cars on the road today have disk brakes. In a disc-braking system the car’s wheels are attached to metal discs, or rotors, that spin along with the wheels. The job of the brake calipers is to slow down the wheels of the car by creating friction with the rotors. It fits over the rotor like a clamp, and inside it is a pair of metal plates which have been bonded with friction material called brake pads.

Anti-Corrosion Coatings for High Performance Brake Calipers

nickel plated brake caliperNickel plating is the perfect solution to creating hard wearing, corrosion resistant brake calipers, and is a very effective way of coating and protecting steel.

Brake calipers are also exposed to difficult environments, for example heat, cold, summer, winter, snow and salt. Therefore, a corrosion resistant coating on these parts is very important to ensure the longevity of the cars braking system.

For more information about the variety of coating that we provide, including electroless nickel plating and nickel PTFE plating for the automotive industry, please contact us on

Electroless Plating Vs Electroplating: Which is Best?

As experts in the metal plating process, the staff at NiTEC regularly carry out the process using a variety of metals, namely nickel. We use electroless plating methods, but electroplating is also an option when it comes to plating metals. Here is a comprehensive explanation of both processes, so that you can make an informed decision on the right technique for you and your requirements.

Metal Coatings Applied Using the Electroplating Process

copper electroplatingThe process of electroplating uses an electric current to reduce dissolved metal cations so that they form a metal coating on an electrode. When current is applied to the component, it shifts the chemical composition and delivers the coating to the surface, depositing a thin layer of metal onto a metal object or component.

Multiple applications are sometimes necessary to create plating of a specific thickness. This layer can be used to provide corrosion or wear resistance, to build up worn or undersized parts, or for decorative purposes. Electroplating involves potentially dangerous equipment in order to work, and also requires clean conditions and careful procedures.

A common system involves a chemical solution with the ionic form of the metal, a positively charged anode, which may consist of the metal being plated (a soluble anode) or an insoluble anode (usually carbon, platinum, titanium, lead, or steel), and finally, a negatively charged cathode where electrons are supplied to produce a film of non-ionic metal.

Metal Coatings Applied Using the Electroless Plating Process

Electroless plating, which is also known as chemical or auto-catalytic plating, is a non-galvanic plating method that involves several simultaneous reactions in an aqueous solution. They key difference between electroless plating and electroplating is that electroless plating occurs without the use of external electrical power.

The reaction that takes place during the electroless plating process happens when hydrogen is released by a reducing agent, normally sodium hypophosphite, and oxidised, therefore providing a negative charge on the surface of the part. The component is treated with chemicals to remove oils and other corrosive elements first, and is then activated with an acid etch or proprietary solution. The application of anti-oxidation chemicals completes the process, leaving the component with high levels of resistance to corrosion and friction.

Which is Best?

For the process of electroplating to be carried out successfully, it requires complex filtration equipment and possibly dangerous battery applications. Electroless plating, on the other hand, uses no extra equipment. The chemicals can be replenished automatically, and the engineers exercise more control over the deposition process which results in a smooth, even application of the nickel plating. It is also possible to vary the thickness and volume of the plating to exact standards and specifications.

UK Electroless Nickel Plating Specialists

If you are looking for a quality company specialising in the process of electroless nickel plating, look no further than NiTEC. Talk to a member of our friendly team on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk for more information.

The History of Electroless Nickel Plating

The process of plating metal, including nickel plating, has been used to strengthen metal against corrosion and wear for hundreds of years. It has also been used to enhance the appearance of metal, which otherwise may be quite dull and not so pleasing on the eye. There are various methods of plating that have been used over the years, and still are today, including electric and chemical methods of dispersing the layer of metal coating onto a substrate.

An Historical Overview of Electroless Nickel Plating

The electroless nickel plating of metallic nickel from an aqueous solution in the presence of hypophosphite first occurred as a chemical accident by Wurtz in 1844. Progress in the field of electroless nickel plating didn’t progress much until after World War Two, when in 1946, Brenner and Riddell developed a process for plating the inner walls of tubes with nickel-tungsten alloy, which was derived from the citrate based bath using an insoluble anode, bringing out the unusual reducing properties of hypophosphite.

An Alternative Process to Conventional Electroplating

early electro platingDuring the 1954-59 period, Gutzeit at GATC (General American Transportation Corporation) worked on full scale development of electroless plating by chemical reduction alone, as an alternate process to conventional electroplating.

A study was then conducted in 1966, in which the co-deposition of particles was carried out for electrodepositing Ni-Cr by Odekerken. The study revealed that an intermediate layer consisting of finely powdered particles such as aluminium oxide and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin were distributed within a metallic matrix.

This meant that a layer in the electroless coating was composite, but that other parts of it were not. The first commercial application of their work occurred in 1981, when they used the electroless Ni-SiC coatings on the wankel internal combustion engine and another commercial composite incorporating polytetrafluoroethylene (Ni-P-PTFE).

The Co-Deposition of Diamond and PTFE Particles in Electroless Nickel Plating

The co-deposition of diamond and PTFE particles was proven to be more difficult, and The feasibility to incorporate the fine second phase particles, in submicron to nano size, within a metal/alloy matrix has initiated a new generation of composite coatings.

Composite Coatings of Electroless Nickel

Here at NiTEC UK, we provide a number of electroless nickel composite coatings including nickel diamond plating, nickel PTFE and nickel boron. For more information about the composite nickel coatings offered by NiTEC UK, contact us on 0845 224 3571 or email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk. Our staff will formulate the right solution for your application, providing advanced nickel composite plating services to meet your needs.

6 Reasons to Use Electroless Nickel Plating for Engineering Applications

Electroless nickel plating is an incredibly functional finish that can offer massive advantages in the field of engineering. As experts in the process, we’ve put together our top 4 advantages of electroless nickel plating, which we feel prove that this method is superior over conventional plating processes.

nickel plating technical figure1. Uniform Deposition of Electroless Nickel

Electroless nickel coatings provide a uniform deposition on the surface of the component.

2. Strong, Chip Free Coating

With electroless nickel plating, there is no need to worry about the strength of the coating.

Electroless nickel coatings do not chip, peel, flake or rub off like some coatings do, such as paints and lacquers. It can also be applied on its own without any other pre-surface treatments.

3. The Ability to Plate Irregular Shapes

In addition to the uniform deposit of electroless nickel, it is also able to plate irregular shapes uniformly. This means that should a part have recesses and crevices, the coating will be deposited on these parts evenly, regardless of the shape.

4. Heat Treatment to Increase Hardness

Another advantage of electroless nickel coatings is that they can be treated with heat in order to further increase the level of hardness of the deposit.

5. Corrosion and Erosion Barrier

Electroless nickel provides a barrier against corrosion and erosion in especially demanding applications in the marine and offshore industry, and the petroleum industry.

6. Release Properties

Electroless nickel coatings also provide exceptional release properties due to its anti-stick surface. This self lubrication also reduces the wear of a component, which means that there is very little coating weight loss from friction between parts.

Electroless Nickel Plating Services

Here at NiTEC, we provide a range of metal finishing and metal plating services. Our high quality electroless nickel plating service is the perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the defence, healthcare, automotive and aerospace industries. For more information, please call NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

UK’s Largest Electroless Nickel Plating Tanks at NiTEC UK

As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating, NiTEC UK have the largest electroless nickel plating tanks in the UK.

Pre-Treatment for Electroless Nickel Plating

Before a component can be electroless nickel plated, it must be suitably prepared for the process. Firstly, the part is cleaned in a series of pre-treatment tanks and rinsed in water. It then enters the coating tank which is heated to a critical temperature above 90C and contains the plating solution made up of the nickel-phosphorus alloy and a reducing agent.

electroless nickel plating lineThe thickness of the coating that is deposited is dependent on the immersion time, and the phosphorus content of the solution governs its hardness and corrosion resistance.

In order to achieve the maximum thickness achievable, the part needs to be in the plating tank for approximately 9-10 hours, during which time the solution is agitated and continuously re-circulated to prevent debris being incorporated into the coating. The total contents of the tank will be filtered and re-circulated within 10 minutes.

There are three levels of phosphorus in solution that are typically used, each of them having different benefits and attributes.

 

Low Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Plating

A low phosphorus electroless nickel coating typically contains 2.5% phosphorus. This produces a very uniform porous free coating which uniformly covers the complete surface of the component, including inside recesses. It has excellent corrosion resistance in alkaline conditions, but the coating is relatively soft, below 235VPN, and is therefore not particularly wear resistant.

Medium Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Plating

Medium phosphorus solutions contain between 6 and 10% phosphorus and produce a coating which effectively combines intermediate hardness with good corrosion resistance. Medium phosphorus coatings deposit rapidly and produce a bright or semi-bright coating.

High Phosphorus Electroless Nickel Plating

High phosphorus coatings contain between 11-14% phosphorus and produce hard coatings of up to 600VPN. This level of hardness is ideal for wear resistant applications in harsh acid environments typical of the conditions experienced in oil and gas drilling or mining applications. The high phosphorus level also renders them non-ferromagnetic and hence suitable for coating, for example, austenitic stainless steels, for applications where ferro-magnetism cannot be toleration such as MRI scanners. Such hard coatings are also used on stainless steel to improve its galling resistance in wear situations.

Electroless Nickel Plating Service

Contact us today on 0845 224 3571 or email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk to talk through your electroless nickel plating requirements and see how NiTEC can provide high quality processes at a cost to suit your business.

New Aerospace Project Could Revolutionise the Design and Manufacture of Aircraft Wings

A group of 13 partners have been chosen to take part in a new £30 million research programme which could revolutionise the design and manufacture of aircraft wings.

Aerospace Technology Institute Backing

aeroplane-wingBacked by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the VIEWS (Validation and Integration of Manufacturing Enablers for Future Wing Structures) programme will develop wing design, manufacture and assembly technologies so that they are near to being ready for use in the aerospace market.

In addition, they will select some other novel technologies that may be suitable for further development in the future.

Partners of the VIEWS Programme

Partners of the VIEWS programme include the Universities of Nottingham, Bath, Bristol and Sheffield Hallam; as well as five of the UK’s high value manufacturing catapult centres: the National Composites Centre, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (the University of Sheffield),the Warwick Manufacturing Group (the University of Warwick) and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (the University of Strathclyde). The four industrial partners involved are as follows: GKN Aerospace, Bombardier Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, and GE Aviation.

Aircraft Wing Architecture

The programme will be based on technologies emerged from the structures technology maturity (STeM) research programme and will indentify tools and other manufacturing requirements to produce wing architectures and improve the process design and flow of production. It will also study inspection and repair tools and progress various composite and metallic manufacturing and assembly processes.

GKN Aerospace technical director Rich Oldfield said: “STeM saw us make valuable progress and VIEWS will work from that base, taking us nearer to market readiness with a new generation of automated processes and technologies that will extend what we in the UK are able to manufacture, at the same time as increasing the quality, consistency and speed of production.”

Metal Finishing Services for the Aerospace Industry

Here at NiTEC UK, our metal plating services are widely used in the aerospace industry for everything from aircraft engine mounts to aircraft control systems. For more information, please call NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Beat Friction and Wear with Slippery Nickel PTFE

The problems of friction and wear on metal components can inhibit their efficiency and reduce their lifespan. Conventional lubricants can be harmful to some components, so unfortunately they are not always an option. However, the composite coating of electroless nickel PTFE can solve this problem, as the coating is actually slicker than the best self lubricating materials!

Durable Dry Lubrication with Anti-galling Requirements

nickel ptfe plated componentNi-PTFE has fantastic qualities of low friction wear and self lubrication, which make it the perfect choice for sliding wear applications where friction and wear on parts can be a problem.

The hardness of electroless nickel coupled with the low friction release properties of PTFE make it an ideal composite coating for components and assemblies where conventional lubricants are a problem.

The coating of electroless nickel PTFE is created by adding sub micron particles of PTFE to the plating solution, which are then co-deposited with the electroless nickel. This method ensures that an even distribution of the PTFE particles are deposited throughout the plated layer, and can be varied in the solution to give the performance characteristics required depending on what the final plated component will be used for.

Applications of Electroless Nickel PTFE

Electroless nickel PTFE can be used for a wide variety of applications in a range of industries. The coating is often used in the automotive industry, for example, where components including piston rings, valves, injection nozzles, carburetors, and oil pumps benefit from it. When treated with electroless nickel PTFE coatings, these parts contribute to increased fuel management for vehicles, and also demonstrate corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and tribological properties.

Electroless nickel PTFE is often used to coat pistons in the hydraulics industry, as its properties of corrosion and wear resistance are incredibly useful. It is also commonly used in the aerospace industry to coat connectors, again, improving their corrosion resistance and wear properties. When coated with electroless nickel PTFE, cutting tools and guides used in the textile industry show reduced noise and a longer lifespan.

Electroless Nickel with Polytetrafluoreothylene

If you want to beat friction and wear on metal components, electroless nickel PTFE is the perfect solution. Call NiTEC UK on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an inquiry.

Common Applications of Electroless Nickel Coatings

Here at NiTEC UK, we have an impressive total of 7 nickel plating lines, making us one of the largest nickel plating providers in Europe. As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating, we’ve put an article together describing the common applications of this unique metal plating service, illustrating its versatility and wide reaching advantages.

Aerospace Components

Electroless nickel plating is commonly used for aerospace components due to its excellent wear resistance, corrosion protection, chemical resistivity and lubricity. These fantastic qualities are perfect for use on valves, pistons, engine shafts, engine mounts, compressor blades and other flight-critical components.

Oil & Gas Components

Nickel plating is used primarily for corrosion protection in the oil and gas industry. It is incredibly effective at protecting parts used in harsh undersea and underground environments, for example on parts such as valves, pumps, and pipe fittings.

Automotive Components

brake caliper nickel platingElectroless nickel plating is commonly used for the purpose of wear protection and corrosion resistance on components such as pistons, cylinders, gears, differential pinon ball shafts, fuel injectors, ball studs, transmission thrust washers, knuckle pins, hose couplings, heat sinks and others.

Food Service Equipment

With its superior corrosion and wear resistance, attractive finish and cleanliness, electroless nickel coatings are perfect for food service equipment.

Electrical Equipment

Electroless nickel is often used for electrical equipment due to its solderability and conductivity properties.

Packaging and Handling Machinery

Electroless nickel is commonly used to plate components used in the packaging and handling machinery due to wear resistance, cleanliness and attractive finish.

Chemical Manufacturing and Transport Equipment

The chemical resistance of electroless nickel coatings makes them ideal for chemical manufacturing and transport equipment.

Molds and Dies

Electroless nickel coatings provide corrosion protection on molds and dies, and also help to minimise erosion and abrasion. Also, their low coefficient of friction improves release.

Plastics Manufacturing Equipment

Nickel plating is a common choice of plating of plastics manufacturing equipment due to its durability and release properties on injection molds and extrusion dies.

Printing Industry Equipment

It is often used for plating components and equipment used in the printing industry due to its excellent abrasion resistance on conveyance and chemical resistance on printer cylinders.

Salvage

Electroless nickel plating is commonly used to salvage old parts. It naturally deposits a very even layer of electroless nickel, therefore is often used to restore parts to their original dimensions, or bring mis-machined parts into tolerance.

New Corrosion Test Cabinets: Worldwide Kesternich Testing Services Now Available

As part of our long standing commitment to ensuring that the services we offer at NiTEC are of the highest quality, as well as consistently meeting the ever expanding needs of our customers, we are now offering specialist Kesternich testing at our metal finishing factory in Chesterfield.

kesternich testing cabinet

Kesternich testing cabinet for measuring corrosion resistance

Kesternich testing for diffused nickel plating was previously required only twice a year, but now has to be carried out every month. Our new Kesternich testing cabinet will help our customers to meet the standards required of their products with regard to corrosion testing, providing a guarantee that measurements of corrosion resistance are carried out thoroughly.

Corrosion Testing Technology

The Kesternich test chamber at NiTEC is made by VLM, who for many years have been the undisputed technology leader in corrosion testing technology. In addition to providing laboratory technology services, their chambers meet the highest safety standards and create the perfect conditions to carry out accurate and controlled Kesternich testing.

Sulphur Dioxide Testing

Kesternich testing, or sulphur dioxide testing, is commonly used for industrial objects, especially metal objects which are subject to corrosion. Resistance to corrosion is measured in Kesternich cycling, and this method of accelerated corrosion testing is an approved method to perform corrosion tests on metallic components.

To perform a Kesternich test, 2 litres of sulphur dioxide is introduced into a 300 litre test chamber. The dosing of the SO2 gas is controlled during the test, simulating exposure to chemicals that may compromise the surface of a component resulting in corrosion.

The Impact of SO2 in the Atmosphere on Corrosion

Kesternich testing simulates acid rain or industrial chemical exposure to evaluate the relative corrosion resistance of the coating, substrate, or part itself.  Parts or panels are placed inside a specially designed chamber and are exposed to SO2 and humidity before being evaluated for resistance to corrosion.

Worldwide Kesternich Testing  Services

The Kesternich testing service from NiTEC is available to customers worldwide, as samples can be delivered to us from abroad by DHL. To find out more about our Kesternich testing services, please contact us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Latest News: New Services Available at NiTEC

electroless nickel plating logoAs experts in a variety of metal finishing processes and techniques, including electroless nickel plating, diffused nickel plating and copper plating, NiTEC have recently added a few new services to our already comprehensive range.

The processes of nickel boron plating, nickel diamond plating and tin plating are now also available, as well as an aqua blasting service.

As readers of our blog will know, we posted an update in January informing the public of our new factory extension, creating 3,000 square foot of space and 5 new jobs at NiTEC. The extension has allowed us to install a 7th electroless nickel plating line and offer the new services listed above to expand our repertoire and provide customers with a wide variety of metal plating and metal finishing techniques.

Nickel Boron Plating Service

Nickel boron plating can be applied to variety of different metals and is a great alternative to chrome plating. Among its many benefits are excellent wear and corrosion resistance.

Nickel Diamond Plating Service

Nickel diamond plating combines an electroless nickel deposit with fine particles of diamonds. The use of diamond particles contained within an electroless nickel coating offers a practical and affordable way to utilise the properties of diamond on the surface of components.

Tin Plating Service

Tin plating is an industrial process which involves the coating of metal objects with a thin layer of tin. It can be used for the protection of both ferrous and non-ferrous surfaces and can increase the performance and durability of any object it is added to, improving its corrosion resistance at the same time.

Aqua Blasting

Also known as vapour blasting; this wet-blasting process is perfect for gently eradicating surface dirt and grime from metal components. It permits the non-aggressive cleaning of a surface to produce a satin finish on a number of metal materials – which resultantly won’t pick up marks after treatment.

Metal Plating Service Chesterfield

Here at NiTEC, we have more than 30 years of experience specialising in a wide range of metal plating techniques. For more information about our new services including tin plating, nickel boron plating, aqua blasting and nickel diamond plating, please call us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Engineering Coatings for the Oil and Gas Industries

As experienced suppliers of effective engineering coatings for the oil and gas industry, NiTEC have a wealth of knowledge regarding wear resistant, anti-corrosion coatings suitable for harsh and demanding environments. We specialise in a range of engineering coatings including the following:

Electroless Nickel Coatings

Electroless nickel is ideal for precision parts that are in need of anti-fretting and corrosion protection, for example, on parts such as splines, couplings, gasket faces and fibre optic connectors. It is very resistant to corrosion and will, therefore, extend the life of everything it coats.  This makes it ideal for coating parts exposed to harsh environments such as those operating in the marine, oil and gas and defence industries.

Ni-PTFE Self Lubricating Corrosion Resistant Coating

Ni-PTFE plating is a unique self lubricating plating solution that combines the hardness of electroless nickel with the lubricity of Polytetrafluoreothylene (PTFE).  Its properties of low friction wear and self lubrication make it an excellent choice for sliding wear applications, and instances where conventional lubricants would be harmful to components.

It can effectively increase the life span of components due to its properties of corrosion prevention and wear resistance, and provides long life lubrication for inaccessible parts as it dramatically reduces the levels of friction between components.

seatec marine corrosion resistanceSeaTEC 100 Marine Corrosion Protection

SeaTEC 100 is the perfect coating to increase the longevity of components used in subsea conditions. This revolutionary product protects mild steel from salt spray corrosion and provides marine corrosion resistance for an extensive period of time, making it perfect for use in sub-sea conditions.

For more information about our range of high quality engineering coatings specially designed for the oil and gas industry, call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Nickel Plating as an Alternative to Chrome Plating for Classic Car Restoration

Chrome plating is often used in the restoration of classic cars. There are many forums online that talk about the use of chrome plating to restore old vehicles, but if you read carefully, it does have its pitfalls.

Chrome plating is a highly labour intensive and very expensive method of plating a classic car. If you go for an especially cheap price for the service, it most certainly will not last. It’s vital to have other layers under the chrome plating, such as nickel, as this protects the steel below the chrome from corrosion. The shiny layer of chromium is porous and, without a waterproof layer between it and the steel, it will only last a matter of months.

Electroless Nickel Plating

nickel plating classic car restorationQuality nickel plating can really make a classic car restoration project and it is a great alternative to chrome plating. Most brightwork on cars before the 1930s was nickel plated, as opposed to chromium plated.

The process of electroless nickel plating is much cheaper and easier than chrome plating. Good chrome platers would usually apply a layer of nickel under the chrome anyway, so it’s just as effective but only half the work. The car needs to stay in the nickel vat longer than it would if chrome plating was to be applied on top as it needs to be thick enough to last polishing for years to come!

Metal Plating for Classic Car and Motorcycle Parts

Here at NiTEC, we offer a reliable nickel plating service for all classic and vintage car and motorcycle parts. Nickel plating is very hard wearing and offers fantastic corrosion protection. To find out more about nickel plating services for your classic car restoration project, call NiTEC on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

Copper Plating a Laboratory Incubator to Prevent Cell Culture Contamination

copper plated incubator

Here at NiTEC, we love sharing our recent plating projects with our blog readers. This copper plating job has a particularly interesting story behind it!

We were asked by New Brunswick, producers of laboratory products, to copper plate the interior of this incubator in order to prevent bacteria escaping and cell culture contamination.

Incubators such as this provide the perfect environment for cell cultures to grow. However, these warm, humid conditions can also encourage and sustain the growth of microorganisms that can cause contamination. This is where copper can help.

Antimicrobial Action of Copper

Copper has the power to inhibit the growth of many different micro organisms. It can, in fact, slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, algae and yeast. Copper ions are able to bond to contaminants and disrupt the key proteins and processes that are critical to microbial life.

The Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) has recently carried out a study that explored the suppression of bacterial colonization by solid copper, proving that copper piping reduces the growth of Legionella pneumophila, causative agent of Legionaire’s Disease.

The Use of Copper in Incubators

Copper reduces microbes in a wide range of laboratory equipment, including medical and scientific devices such as incubators. Testing, studies and experience have shown that copper wire, copper sulphate or even a simple penny added to a water reservoir of carbon dioxide incubators can significantly inhibit microbial growth. And copper surfaces clearly reduce the number of contaminants present too.

The incubators produced by New Brunswick, therefore, are manufactured using copper interiors, as copper has been proven to have antimicrobial properties. If you would like to find out more about the process of copper plating, its antimicrobial properties and NiTEC’s expertise in projects such as this, call us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Decorative Aluminium Bathroom Sink Nickel Plated for Protection

Most people think of the plating activities we carry out at NiTEC as being purely for engineering applications, but as you may have seen from our last few blog posts, we do plate a lot of items for sculptors and artists too. We occasionally receive enquiries to plate more unusual domestic pieces, such as balustrades, staircases, furniture, and this metal basin.

nickel plated basin sink

Aluminium basin nickel plated for corrosion protection

The sink itself was originally cast out of aluminium and featured a large round inset for the basin itself. The bottom of the sink was a rugged texture that looked a lot like the texture of the surface of a jagged rock. As you can see from the picture, it’s a really impressive piece, and will undoubtedly look fantastic in the bathroom of its new home!

Protection for Prolonged Exposure to Water

Due to the amount of running water and handling that the sink would receive when it was used, the aluminium it was cast from was not really appropriate for a sink. Aluminium is very prone to corrosion and can tarnish and discolour easily. Although it doesn’t rust, the surface of the aluminium could become encrusted with calcium and hard water stains, which would leave it looking dull and possibly even stained.

We plated the aluminium sink with an electroless nickel coating to ensure that the surface of the basin remained bright and shiny, and to ensure that the prolonged exposure to water wouldn’t cause any staining or discolouration of the basin. Electroless nickel plating also ensures that the metal coating it deposits grows at a uniform speed all over the part and covers any crevices and rugged areas evenly and thoroughly.

Total Uniform Coverage with Electroless Nickel Plating

The uniform coverage of an electroless nickel coating doesn’t just benefit decorative items such as this sink, it’s also perfect for ensuring uniform coverage for engineering components too. Electroless nickel deposits do not build up on the edges or ends of components, and leave a uniform deposit both inside and out. This means that components can be plated to tight tolerances, meaning that there is no need to machine the part afterwards. This accurate coverage saves both time and money. It’s also a great alternative to stainless steel, too.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of using electroless nickel plating for corrosion protection and the uniform, even coverage of parts, call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Long Lasting Oil and Gas Components for Subsea Applications

Oil and gas components are exposed to harsh environments, both under the sea and underground. This exposure to such extreme levels of temperature, moisture and pressure can have a detrimental effect on these components in a short space of time.

Corrosion protection in Sub-Sea Environments

seatec 100 marine corrosion resistance

As specialists in the electroless nickel plating process, Nitec have worked tirelessly on developing the latest technology in corrosion resistant marine coatings.

 

Our specialists have developed and tested this revolutionary product, and we consider the coating to be a market leader within our industry.

SeaTEC 100 is our very own development and the perfect solution for corrosion protection and corrosion prevention in sub-sea environments. Not only will it protect mild steel from salt spray corrosion and marine corrosion for an unprecedented amount of time, SeaTEC effectively coats valves, pumps and pipe fittings to ensure that they remain intact and in operation.

Features of SeaTEC 100 Marine Corrosion Resistance

SeaTEC 100 effectively plates metal components, valves and connectors, making it a very cost effective way of extending the life of mild steel operating in subsea, marine environments.

This coating is great for increasing the strength of components. Materials tend to be at their weakest levels in areas where they have joins; therefore, components such as pipeline connectors are often vulnerable to corrosion. Corrosion at vital points such as these can mean failure of a system, so their longevity is essential to the overall lifespan of the system as a whole.

The Ideal Plating for Oil Rigs and Gas Pipes

SeaTEC 100 has also been through an extensive, independent testing process which has confirmed that the coating can withstand salt spray conditions for over 25,000 hours. This period of time is actually unprecedented in the industry, making SeaTEC100 a leading coating. This ability to extend the life of materials such as mild steel in marine environments means the downtime as a result of corroded parts is reduced or eliminated, saving money and time.

If you are looking for a metal coating that provides high levels of corrosion resistance for use in the oil or gas industries, call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Corrosion and Chemical Resistant Coatings

Here at NiTEC, we spend our days electroless nickel plating components for a variety of applications including aerospace, electrical/electronics, the energy industry, and general engineering.

Properties of electroless nickel coatings

Hardness

Electroless nickel coatings produce very tough, abrasion and corrosion resistant surfaces, which can be further hardened with heat treatment. The hardness of the plated surface can also be increased by decreasing the phosphorus content of the coating, usually to around 2%.

Corrosion resistance

They also have a good natural corrosion and chemical resistance. These properties can also be maximised by increasing the phosphorus content of the coating, usually to 10% or above.

Electroless nickel and phosphorous levels

The chemistry of electroless nickel plating solutions can be altered to give the plated coating different properties, for example, a medium phosphorus coating, a low phosphorous coating and a high phosphorus coating.

Medium Phosphorous electroless nickel coating

Electroless nickel coatings with medium phosphorous content are the most commonly used and applied electroless nickel coatings. They generally have a phosphorous content of 6-9% and a VPN of roughly 500. However, this can be increased further with heat treatment. The coating tends to be bright, with a normal plating thickness range of 3-50 microns. Medium phosphorous electroless nickel coatings are very stable and reliable with fast plating rates.

Low phosphorous electroless nickel coating

Low phosphorous electroless nickel coatings contain less than 3% phosphorous and are very hard. With the appropriate heat treatment, a low phosphorus coating can be in the region of 1000 Vpn. The normal plating thickness of this type of coating is in the region of 10-25 microns and is grey/silver in colour.

High phosphorous electroless nickel coating

Electroless nickel coatings with high phosphorous contents typically have very high levels of corrosion and chemical resistance. High phosphorous coatings are non-magnetic, silver/grey in colour and have a normal thickness range of 25-75 microns. Plating rates are typically slow and the plating solution tends to have a short life.

If you would like to find out more about our electroless nickel plating services call us on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

Factory Extension and New Plating Line To Create 5 New Jobs at NiTEC UK

After an eventful 2013, this year is set to be equally as exciting here at NiTEC. We are pleased to have received planning permission to have an extension built onto our metal finishing factory, which will create an extra 3,000 square foot of space.

This extension will allow us to be able to install a 7th electroless nickel plating line, meaning that we will be able to respond even more quickly to our customers’ plating needs.

Specialist electroless nickel plating line

This specialist electroless nickel plating line will create 5 new jobs at NiTEC, and will be in full operation in February 2014. We will also have a state of the art crane installed over the plating line which will allow us to handle components of up to 20 tonnes.

Commercial Director Marcus Hill said: “The market is growing rapidly and our new plating line means that we can accommodate more work in response to this growth. We are really pleased to be able to respond even more quickly to our customers’ plating needs.”

Experts in the metal finishing process

NiTEC have more than 30 years of experience specialising in the electroless nickel plating process, and a comprehensive range of metal finishing processes and techniques. We also offer a variety of surface treatments including electroless nickel platingdiffused nickel platingcopper platingshot blasting and heat treatment. For more information, please call us on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Electroless Nickel Coatings Can Increase the Lifespan of Steam Turbines

 

Here at NiTEC UK, we have a wealth of experience electroless nickel plating components for large multinational companies and a wide variety of industries and applications.

As a leading provider of worldwide metal plating services, we have recently worked with Elliott Turbo-Steam Turbines. Elliot steam turbines are specially built to be able to perform for years, and they have an excellent reputation as being the best in the industry.

Elliot steam turbines are very reliable and hard wearing, and by adding an electroless nickel coating, their life span can be further increased. As the addition of an electroless nickel coating is very hard, it can reduce the wear of the part when friction is an issue.

Elliot steam turbines are used in power generation and food processing,  chemical and petrochemical, pulp and paper, and the oil and gas industry.

For more information on how electroless nickel coatings can be used to increase the lifespan of components and reduce wear through friction, contact NiTEC UK by visiting our website, speak to a member of our specialist team on 0845 224 357, or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Electroless Nickel Plating for an Oil Rig Vortoil Pipe for Marine Corrosion Resistance

Electroless nickel plating is perfect for applications in the oil and gas industries due to its excellent corrosion resistance properties. When used as a barrier layer, electroless nickel provides the highest levels of corrosion and wear resistance, and the thickness of the coating can be adjusted to suit the application.

Corrosion and wear protection

A recent project of NiTEC’s involved the nickel plating of a vortoil pipe for use on an oil rig. Vortoil pipes are used for separating crude oil from seawater, and are therefore exposed to harsh marine environments and susceptible to corrosion and wear due to their surroundings.

The tolerance of the vortoil pipe had to be less than 3 microns over the length of the component, with an overall deposit thickness of 100 microns.

Electroless nickel is an excellent plating method to ensure uniform levels of thickness over a deposit, but when the competent is a large as a vortoil pipe, there may be slight variations in the thickness of the deposit due to localised changes in temperature and activity.

Because of the size of the component, NiTEC manufactured a jig with a motor which was attached to either end of the pipe. The pipe was then electroless nickel plated horizontally, while it was turned very slowly to make sure all of the surface area was covered by the electroless nickel deposit.

Accurate deposit thickness of the nickel coating

The pipe was approximately 4m in length, and needed to be electroless nickel plated internally and externally, including all the attached pipes, holes and fins. The staff at NiTEC were able to work to the tight distribution tolerances using our monitoring system, which enabled us to ensure the accurate deposit thickness of the nickel coating onto the component.

If you are looking for a metal coating that provides high levels of corrosion resistance for use in the oil or gas industries, call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Nickel PTFE Coatings Prevent Seizure in Pistons

Piston ringWhat is a piston?

A piston is a component of a reciprocating engine, and is comprised of a disk or cylindrical part that slides to and fro in a hollow cylinder.

In an internal-combustion engine the piston is forced to move by the expanding gases in the cylinder head, and is attached by a pivoted connecting rod to a crankshaft or flywheel.

These components therefore convert the reciprocating motion into rotation.

Electroless nickel PTFE coatings on pistons

Nickel PTFE combines the lubricity of polytetrafluoroethylene with the hardness and corrosion resistance of electroless nickel.

Electroless nickel PTFE coatings are perfect for use on pistons due to its properties of low friction wear and self lubrication. This type of coating also increases the life of the component because of its wear resistance and high levels of corrosion protection.

Nickel PTFE coatings also provides long life dry lubrication which prevents sticking and galling on the component, making it perfect for improving the efficiency of pistons.

Coating a piston with electroless nickel PTFE will reduce the friction and wear on the surface of the component, and reduce the operating temperature of the part. An electroless nickel PTFE coating can also do the following:

  • Increase horse power and torque
  • Reduce or eliminate detonation
  • Allow higher compression ratios to be utilised
  • Allow tighter piston to wall clearances for a better ring seal

If you are looking for a metal coating that will extend the life and efficiency of pistons, Nickel PTFE is the perfect solution. Call us on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

Aerospace Metals and The Hubble Space Telescope

As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating and diffused nickel plating, the staff at NiTEC like to keep up to date on the various uses of nickel around the globe. As nickel electroforming was used as the plating service of choice on parts of the Hubble Space Telescope, we thought it only right to feature it in a blog post!

The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit in 1990 by a space shuttle and remains there today taking pictures of space. The HST provides scientists and astronomers with exceptional images from space that has contributed a great deal to improving our understanding of the universe.

Named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble, the HST has led to many breakthroughs in the field of astrophysics. Built by NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency, the HST is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Perhaps the most memorable outcome of the images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope was the ability to accurately determine the rate of expansion of the universe.

Nickel electroforming has had an important role in the manufacturing of parts for the HST due to the ability of the process to meet very exact dimensional specifications. The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) consists of a slit wheel that is made up of segments. These were produced by nickel electroforming, and then vacuum-laminated to stainless steel wheel segments.

Obviously a procedure such as this requires high levels of precision and accuracy. Multilayer electroforms with a minute tolerance were required, and were achieved using this process. The application of nickel electroforming has made a big contribution to the success of the Hubble Space Telescope and the high precision obtained by nickel electroforming has made it possible to produce enhanced coronographic HST images.

For more information about the ways in which nickel can be used, and corrosion protection aerospace metals, vvisit the NiTEC website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk

Why Use Electroless Nickel as an Alternative to Galvanisation?

The process of galvanisation

The process of galvanisation applies a protective coating of zinc onto the metal. This type of coating is commonly used on steel or iron in order to prevent rusting. Galvanisation prevents a ferrous item from rusting, as the corrosion resistance of zinc is much higher than that of steel or iron. Advantages of galvanisation are that it is relatively cheap and easily applied. It also has a very long life and needs little maintenance.

Galvanised componentHot dip galvanisation

Hot dip galvanisation is the most common method of galvanisation. The steel part is submerged in a bath of molten zinc, coating the component with a layer of zinc. Hot-dip galvanisation produces a grey, matte coating to the surface of the metal, which is very thick and durable.

Electroplated galvanisation

Galvanisation can also be achieved using electrochemical and electrodeposition processes. Electroplated coatings are generally less durable and not really appropriate for outdoor applications because the deposit is very thin. This can be helped by painting the surface of the component, which slows down zinc consumption, delays the corrosion and extending its durability.

The advantage of electroplating is that it is much cheaper than hot dip galvanising. It is used for many different outdoor applications but despite looking good when it is new, it isn’t very durable and won’t withstand the elements very well.

An alternative to galvanising

Although galvanisation is cheaper, the final finish isn’t as attractive or durable as some other types of metal finishing. Electroless nickel plating can be used as an alternative to galvanisation as it is durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Electroless nickel plating can also be used in harsh environments because of its high corrosion resistance. The uniform coating created by this process can be a perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the defense, healthcare, automotive and aerospace industries.

Considering the extent of its durability and the attractive finish it creates, electroless nickel plating is cheaper than you might think. It is also the ideal plating for a surface exposed to friction and wear, which can also be increased by using heat treatments.

If you would like to find out more about using electroless nickel plating as an alternative to galvanisation, contact NiTEC on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk

Electroless Nickel Plating and Its Use in Aerospace Applications

Electroless nickel has many fantastic qualities which make it perfect for use in the aerospace industry. Below are some of the components used in the aerospace industry that electroless nickel is commonly use to plate.

Turbine blades and compressor blades

Turbine blades and compressor blades are parts of aircraft engines frequently exposed to highly corrosive environments. Electroless nickel is extremely corrosion resistant, making it favourable for this type of use.

Engineers working in the aerospace industry often use aluminium because of its light weight and density. An electroless nickel coating compliments the properties of aluminium by adding solderability, corrosion protection, wear resistance and hardness.

Piston Heads

The combination of electroless nickel and aluminium is often used to make piston heads. Electroless nickel is an effective coating because it prevents wear, and therefore increases the life of the piston. Aluminium is effective because it is so lightweight, meaning that the piston is able to work better.

Aircraft shafts

Electroless nickel is often used to plate the main shafts of air craft engines because it provides an excellent bearing surface. Typically, during air craft maintenance, rebuilding the shaft may be necessary. But with electroless nickel, the surface can be stripped off and re-plated to the thickness needed instead of buying new components, therefore saving money. This technique is also used when reconditioning rear compressor hub sleeves and bearing liners.

For more information about the use of electroless nickel plating in aerospace applications, please contact the specialist team at NiTEC on 0845 224 3571, email: info@nitec-enp.co.uk or visit the NiTEC website.

Quality electroless nickel plating

Here at NiTEC, our staff are thoroughly committed to providing a quality electroless nickel plating service.

All employees at NiTEC are responsible for making sure that Quality Assurance techniques are applied to their work. They are also responsible for achieving the specified quality levels at all stages of work.

In accordance with the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2008we are committed to following our Quality Assurance Program, which is outlined in our Quality Manual.

NiTEC is also well equipped for all aspects of quality control and product testing. We have invested in facilities and equipment meaning that the staff at NiTEC have the ability to carry out non destructive testing for thickness and hardness on components.

Work is regularly processed to the following specifications:

  • Defence Standard 03-5
  • Aerospace Material Specification AMS 2404B
  • US Military Specification MIL-C-26074B
  • International Standard ISO 4527

We are able to tailor numerous in-house specifications in order to meet the customers’ exact requirements. Our policy statements are available to read online by clicking the links below:

View NiTEC’s Quality Policy here.

View NiTEC’s Health and Safety Policy here.

View NiTEC’s Environmental Policy here.

For more information about the services that we offer including electroless nickel plating, copper plating, and diffused nickel plating, please visit the NiTEC website, call our friendly team of staff on 0845 224 3571 or email: info@nitec-enp.co.uk