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The Composition and Structure of Electroless Nickel Plating

The 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 our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.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

Electroless 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 us, 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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Latest Photos of New Electroless Nickel Plating Factory Building

As you can see from the latest photos, the structure for the new factory extension is well on the way. As readers of our blog will know, it’s all part of a massive expansion phase for us, which will create 4 new plating electroless nickel plating lines and room for plenty more heat treatment processes.

Biggest Plating Line in Europe

The new factory extension will create an extra 3,000 square foot of space and will allow us to handle components of up to 30 tonnes. We think that this will make us the proud owners of the biggest plating line in Europe, making us industry leaders in the process.

Electroless Nickel Plating Services

We have more than 30 years of experience specialising in the electroless nickel plating process and we also offer a variety of surface treatments including diffused nickel plating, copper platingnickel PTFE, nickel diamond, tin plating and nickel boron. For more information, please call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

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

Nickel 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, us can help. To make an enquiry or simply to have a chat with one of our friendly team about your requirements, call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.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.

Official 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 us, 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 us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

The Biggest Electroless Nickel Plating Line in Europe Well Under Way

Here is the latest photograph of the new factory extension which is soon to be completed at us. After lots of hard work and extensive building work, the new factory extension will create an extra 3,000 square foot of space, and create another electroless nickel plating line. In fact, we have a suspicion that it will be the biggest plating line in Europe, making us industry leaders in the process.

Specialist Large Capacity Electroless Nickel Plating Line

The specialist electroless nickel plating line should be fully operational in the next few weeks and will include the installation of a state of the art crane, allowing us to handle components of up to 20 tonnes. Marcus Hill, the Commercial Director at us 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.”

Increasing Demand for Nickel Plating

“Due to the increasing demand for a nickel plating line that can take very large components, we have met the needs of our customers with exactly that. The new nickel plating line will adhere to our usual high standards of quality and safety, and will mean that size will never be a limit for plated parts. We believe that we now have the largest electroless nickel plating tank in Europe, with the capacity to plate items 12 metres in length.”

Metal Finishing Services at us

Here at us, we have more than 30 years of experience specialising in the electroless nickel plating process and we also offer a variety of other surface treatments. Just last year, we expanded our services to include nickel PTFE plating,nickel diamond platingtin plating and nickel boron plating, in addition to our already well established services of diffused nickel platingcopper plating and electroless nickel plating.

All our line staff are time served in their own disciplines, meaning that every job is managed by personnel with a knowledge and understanding of the specialist process of electroless nickel plating. For more information, please call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

5 Great Properties of Electroless Nickel Plating

No other metal coating has the combination of properties offered by electroless nickel, which is why so many industries use the coating and reap the benefits of it. As specialists in electroless nickel plating, us know that the properties of nickel plating are incredibly useful to our clients, enabling parts coated to have the highest levels of corrosion protection and hardness. Here are the top 5 great properties of electroless nickel, and why they are so important.

Uniform Thickness

The metal layer deposited by the electroless nickel plating process has an even thickness over all surfaces of the component, virtually regardless of its shape. This uniform coating is the perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the defence, healthcare, automotive and aerospace industries.

Electroless nickel can be deposited to produce a wide range of coating thicknesses. Even when plating large and small parts and on components that are fairly complex with recessed areas, the uniformity can be can still be maintained. The range of thicknesses for electroless nickel in commercial applications is 0.1 to 5 mils, although it is possible to create deposits as thick as 40 mils.

Corrosion Resistance

Electroless nickel coatings are often used in functional applications because of its excellent corrosion resistance. Electroless nickel coatings are able to withstand the combination of abrasion and corrosive chemicals, even in the very corrosive conditions encountered in drilling and producing oil wells.

Adhesion

Excellent adhesion of electroless nickel deposits can be achieved on a wide range of substrates, including 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. The surface preparation and activation of the electroless nickel plating is one of the most important factors for producing excellent adhesion.

Tight Manufacturing Tolerances

Tight manufacturing tolerances can be achieved as the electroless nickel is deposited evenly on the surface of the part. It can be also used to improve the surface of a component so that it is back within the specified tolerances, and provides a surface that allows post finishes to be carried out effectively.

Chip Free Coating

When using electroless nickel to plate a component, the coating provided is guaranteed not to chip or flake like other top coats such as paints or lacquers.

Electroless Nickel Plating Service

Contact us today on our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk to talk to us about your electroless nickel plating requirements.

Fast Turnaround Metal Plating Services

As one of Europe’s largest electroless nickel plating specialists, us 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.

Our 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 us. 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 us 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 us 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 us 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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

 

us Sponsor Second African Water Well

As experts in metal finishing services including electroless nickel plating and diffused nickel plating, we carry out metal plating for a variety of industries all over the world. Last year, we shared the news that the water well we sponsored for AquAid had been built and was in full working order out in Africa.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Those Less Fortunate

Our relationship with AquAid remains the same; they do an excellent job of supplying the us offices with water coolers, so we decided to go ahead and sponsor another well. We were really pleased to learn that our last well made a huge difference to people’s lives in that village, so we decided to continue with the good work. Obviously, we are very proud to be associated with such an amazing project, and delighted to be able to make such a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

You may have noticed that we have a badge of support on our website, to let people know about this great cause, and show our commitment to helping Aquaid’s recent project installing the elephant pumps in parts of Africa.

Who are AquaAid and What Do They Do?

Aquaid raises funds to build fresh drinking water wells in areas of Africa where it is needed the most, such as schools and villages. And for every water bottle that we get from Aquaid for the us offices, a donation is made to the The Africa Trust.

UK Metal Plating Services

For more information about us and the metal plating services that we offer, including electroless nickel plating, diffused nickel plating, and copper plating, please call us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry. Our AquAid badge of support can also be viewed on the homepage of the us website.

New Ultra-Large Electroless Nickel Plating Line at us

We are pleased to announce the installation of a new, ultra-large plating line at our metal finishing and plating factory in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. This will be our 6th nickel line and has been designed to accommodate very large pieces of up to 12 metres long and 3 metres high.

World’s Largest Electroless Nickel Plating Tank

Commercial Director of us, Marcus Hill said: “Due to the increasing demand for a nickel plating line that can take very large components, we have met the needs of our customers with exactly that. The new nickel plating line will adhere to our usual high standards of quality and safety, and will mean that size will never be a limit for plated parts. We believe that we now have the largest electroless nickel plating tank in the world, with the capacity to plate items 12 metres in length.”

Expansion of Production Capacity

2014 was a busy year for us when we closed the deal on a funding boost that allowed us to expand our nickel plating services. As leaders in the market place for providers of electroless nickel plating services, we were really pleased to be able to expand our capabilities and production capacity. And this new, large nickel plating line will expand our services even further!

Metal Finishing Services at us

Here at us, we have more than 30 years of experience specialising in the electroless nickel plating process and we also offer a variety of other surface treatments. Just last year, we expanded our services to include nickel PTFE plating, nickel diamond plating, tin plating and nickel boron plating, in addition to our already well established services of diffused nickel plating, copper plating and electroless nickel plating.

All our line staff are time served in their own disciplines, meaning that every job is managed by personnel with a knowledge and understanding of the specialist process of electroless nickel plating. For more information, please call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Top 3 Benefits of High Phosphorus Electroless Nickel

The phosphorus content in an electroless nickel coating is a key component in the determination of the properties of that coating. There are varying levels of phosphorus content, and each provides unique properties. 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. Here are the top 3 benefits of a high phosphorus electroless nickel coating.

Hardness

Electroless nickel coatings with a high phosphorus content offers high levels of hardness and a lack of porosity, which makes it an ideal barrier coating for components, especially those that are used in hostile environments or are subject to aggressive use. The as-plated hardness of electroless nickel is approximately 48-52 Rc, but it can be heat treated to 68-70 Rc for a more wear resistant finish.

Corrosion Resistance

High phosphorus electroless nickel coatings are recommended where the maximum level of corrosion protection is needed. This makes it ideal for industry standards requiring protection from highly corrosive acidic environments such as oil drilling and coal mining.

Uniformity

The process of high phosphorus electroless nickel plating involves a chemical reaction, rather than electricity which is used in electroplating. Electroplating often produces a number of unwanted effects such as edge build up, uneven thickness, no plating in corners and recesses etc.

But electroless nickel plating, on the other hand, guarantees full coverage that is so uniform that the surface finish is normally duplicated. This also eliminates the need for post plate grinding or polishing. Even complex shapes such as threads keep their original geometry after plating.

Other advantages of high phosphorus electroless nickel are as follows:

  • Low porosity
  • Non-magnetic
  • Less prone to staining
  • Pit-free deposits
  • Fast deposition rate throughout life
  • Consistent deposition rate throughout life
  • Very stable and robust

Corrosion Resistant Metal Coating

If you are looking for a highly effective corrosion resistant metal coating, high phosphorus electroless nickel is a great solution. Call the us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

How to Get the Best Results from Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel plating is a cost effective and high quality solution to protecting metals from corrosion and increasing their life span. Nickel coatings have a variety of fantastic properties from wear resistance to hardness, making it a popular choice of metal plating for the defence, automotive, aerospace and healthcare industries.

However, electroless nickel plating is quite a complicated process that involves precision and careful execution. As experts in the process, we’ve put together a few top tips that will ensure that the best results are achieved during the process of nickel plating.

Continuous Monitoring of the Plating Solution

For the electroless nickel plating process to be effective, the chemicals in the plating bath need to be of a precise balance. This requires continuous monitoring of the plating solution to ensure that the chemicals a replenished sufficiently.

Filtration of the Plating Bath

In order to remove insoluble materials that can cause substrate roughness, the plating bath needs to be filtered continuously.

Correct Preparation of Parts

Components should be chemically pre-treated and rinsed thoroughly before the plating process to ensure that any surface contaminants are removed. There are other mechanical finishing techniques that can also be used to prepare the surface of the part for electroless nickel plating and improve the condition of the service, for example shot blasting.

Plating Bath Temperature Control

The temperature of the nickel plating bath needs to be monitored closely throughout the plating process. If the temperature is too low, it will have the effect of lengthening the plating process and in extreme cases may prevent the metal coating from depositing properly. If the temperature is too high on the other hand, the speed of the deposition will be speeded up beyond a level that is optimum for quality, and may result in the substrate blistering.

Bath Water Purity

Any impurities in the water used for the EN bath can result in unacceptable plating results. The water should be free of metal ions, particulates or other foreign matter.

UK Electroless Nickel Plating Service

Contact us today on our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk to talk through your electroless nickel plating requirements and see how us can provide high quality processes at a cost to suit your business.

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.

Our metal plating experts at us 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 us have the perfect solution. Call us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.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, us 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

us’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 us by calling our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk. Alternatively, you can visit the us website for more information.

Top 5 Industries Using Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless 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 us, 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 us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.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 us, 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.

This 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 our phone number or Email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Specialist Electroless Nickel Coatings for the Automotive Industry

As experts in corrosion resistant coatings, us 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, us 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 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 us 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

The 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 us. Talk to a member of our friendly team on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.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

During 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 us, 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 us, contact us on our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.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.

1. 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 us, 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 us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

UK’s Largest Electroless Nickel Plating Tanks at us

As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating, us 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.

The 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 our phone number or email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk to talk through your electroless nickel plating requirements and see how us 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

Backed 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 us, 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 us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.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

Ni-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 us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an inquiry.

Common Applications of Electroless Nickel Coatings

Here at us, 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

Electroless 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.

Funding Deal Boosts Expansion of Electroless Nickel Plating Services

We’re very pleased to have been featured in the Derbyshire Times this week! The paper published an article about our recent factory expansion and our funding deal from Yorkshire bank that made it possible.

Our Commercial Director Marcus Hill told the Derbyshire Times: “We’re pleased to be expanding to meet the growing demand for our expertise and products.

The support from Yorkshire Bank and commitment of the us team has been instrumental in establishing our reputation and place in the marketplace.”

Leading Electroless Nickel Plating Specialists

The electroless nickel plating facility here at us is one of the largest in the world, and we are really pleased to be able to expand our production capacity. As readers of our blog and our customers will know, we provide a variety of services including pipe strengthening and exterior protection to a variety of different industries including oil, aerospace, architecture and art.

Funding From Yorkshire Bank

Our funding support was provided by Yorkshire Bank via Steve Wicks at the Bank’s South Yorkshire Business and Private Banking Centre in Sheffield. Kevin Elliot, head of the South Yorkshire Business and Private Banking Centre, said: “We are proud to be supporting a highly regarded business that combines technological expertise with an impressive entrepreneurial flair. Yorkshire Bank remains committed to investing in business growth ambitions.”

Electroless Nickel Plating

We have more than 30 years of experience specialising in the electroless nickel plating process and we also offer a variety of surface treatments including diffused nickel plating, copper plating, nickel PTFE, nickel diamond, tin plating and nickel boron. For more information, please call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

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 us 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 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 us 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 us 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 our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

5 Things You Need to Know about Electroless Nickel Plating

As specialists in electroless nickel plating, us have put together 5 things we think you need to know about the process!

Auto-Catalytic Chemical Reaction

Electroless nickel plating is an auto-catalytic chemical reaction used to deposit nickel onto a wide range of substrates. It uses a solution containing nickel phosphorous alloy, which can be specially tailored to suit the application it is being used for.

Can be Applied to Range of Substrates

Electroless nickel can be applied to wide range of substrates, including the following:

  • Aluminium and aluminium alloys
  • Copper and copper alloys
  • Ferrous and stainless metals
  • Beryllium copper
  • Zinc
  • Titanium

Superior Corrosion and Wear Resistance

Electroless nickel plating has many key properties that make it an excellent choice for any metal plating project. For example, electroless nickel coatings are incredibly corrosion and wear resistant, as well as being very hard.

Accurate, Uniform Deposit

Electroless nickel plating provides a highly accurate and uniform deposit onto the surface of a component, regardless of the complexity of the part. It can easily plate sharp angles and curves, deep holes and recesses, making it a fantastic choice of plating for unusually complex parts.

Applications for Electroless Nickel Plating

Typical applications for electroless nickel plating include valves, pumps, mould tools, gears, sprockets and splined shafts, and electronic components. The process has been widely used throughout most engineering disciplines; especially automotive, offshore, defence, aerospace, petrochemical, electronics, plastics and nuclear. It is highly recommended for offshore applications as it offers the very best levels of protection.

Electroless Nickel Plating Vs Galvanisation

Electroless nickel plating and galvanisation are both effective metal finishing techniques for the prevention of corrosion and rust on the surface of metal. If you’re trying to decide which would be a better coating for your application, we’ve put together a bit of information comparing the processes so that you can make an informed decision.

Protecting Metal Using Galvanisation

When a metal is galvanised, a protective zinc coating is applied to it. This zinc coating is applied to steel or iron in order to prevent the surface of the metal from rusting. Galvanisation is an effective way of preventing the ferrous item from rusting, as the corrosion resistance of zinc is much higher than iron or steel. It is also a cheap process, easily applied and has a long, maintenance free service life.

Hot-dip galvanisation is the most common method of galvanisation. During this process, the steel parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc. This process is also achievable through electrochemical and electro deposition processes but there are some differences between them.

Hot-dip galvanisation produces a grey, matte coating to the surface of the metal, which is very thick and durable. Electroplated coatings are less durable and unsuitable for outdoor applications because of the thinness of the deposit. This can be overcome to some extent, however, by painting the surface which slows down zinc consumption, therefore delaying the corrosion and extending its durability.

Electroless Nickel as an Alternative to Galvanisation

The electroless nickel plating process is a high quality, cost effective solution to coating metals such as mild or stainless steel and can substantially extend the life of a component. It is an excellent alternative to galvanisation as it is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. Not only does electroless nickel plating provide enough corrosion resistance to be used in harsh environments, the uniform coating it creates can be a perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the defence, healthcare, automotive and aerospace industries.

Electroless nickel plating is also much cheaper than you would imagine, considering the extent of its durability, and the wear resistance of the surface can be increased by using heat treatments. This makes it an ideal specialist plating where friction and wear may be problematic with regard to the use of the component.

To find out more about electroless nickel plating and how it can be used as an alternative to galvanisation, contact the experts at us on our phone number or email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Engineering Coatings for the Oil and Gas Industries

As experienced suppliers of effective engineering coatings for the oil and gas industry, us 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 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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.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

Quality 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 us, 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 us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

Copper Plating a Laboratory Incubator to Prevent Cell Culture Contamination

Here at us, 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 us’s expertise in projects such as this, call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Decorative Aluminium Bathroom Sink Nickel Plated for Protection

Most people think of the plating activities we carry out at us 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.

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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Electroless Nickel – Every Engineer’s Dream!

Here at us, we are extremely proud of our high quality electroless nickel plating services. We routinely nickel plate items for a wide and wonderful variety of applications and industries. This method of plating has so many advantages – which is why we like to call it every engineers dream!

What’s so Great About Electroless Nickel?

Electroless nickel coatings are comprised of a mixture of nickel alloy and phosphorus. This superb combination offers high levels of corrosion protection that are particularly useful in extreme conditions.

Electroless nickel is the perfect metal coating for working to close tolerances, meaning that post-plate grinding is rarely needed. It can be applied to a variety of base materials including stainless steel, iron, steel, brass and copper.

The Advantages of Using Electroless Nickel on Large Parts

Electroless nickel plating large components is a highly efficient method of plating, and can be extremely cost effective too.

us are one of the only electroless nickel plating companies that have the capacity to process large parts. In fact, we have never been approached with a project that we couldn’t fulfil because of its size!

Our staff have even been known to construct bespoke specialist plating tanks to accommodate larger items of unusual dimensions, such as sculptures. Of course, plating large components isn’t all about the size of the plating tank; there are lots of other practical issues to consider as well.

The mass of the part is a factor that needs to be considered. The larger and heavier the part is, the more consideration needs to be taken when moving the part in and out of the plating solutions and around the shop floor. Therefore, care must be taken when thinking about the selection of cranes and fixtures needed to lift the component.

Luckily, here at us, we have plenty of experience handling large parts, and the equipment and man power we need to do so. If you would like to find out more about the process of electroless nickel plating call us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

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

As specialists in the electroless nickel plating process, us 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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

African Well Sponsored by us Up and Running

We are pleased to announce that our water well has been built in is in full working order out in Africa!

Last year we sponsored a well for AquAid, the company who supply the us offices with water coolers.

We recently received confirmation that our well has been built and is up and running making a real difference to people’s lives.

We are very proud to be associated with such an amazing project, and delighted to be able to make such a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Aquaid and the Africa Trust

Aquaid raises funds to build fresh drinking water wells in areas of Africa where it is needed the most, such as schools and villages. And for every water bottle that we get from Aquaid for the us offices, a donation is made to the The Africa Trust.

Also, we recently put a badge of support on our website, to let people know about this great cause, and show our commitment to helping Aquaid’s recent project installing the elephant pumps in parts of Africa.

“I’m absolutely delighted that we can help to support such a worthwhile and needy cause,” said us Commercial Director Marcus Hill. “It’s fantastic to be involved in supporting AquAid and The Africa Trust, everyone at us is thrilled to be involved and doing their bit to help.”

For more information about us and our services, including electroless nickel plating, diffused nickel plating, and copper plating. Our AquAid badge of support can also be viewed on the homepage of the us website.

Common Applications of Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel coatings can be used in a wide variety of common applications. The superior corrosion resistance, hardness levels and wear resistance make it a very versatile coating.

Aerospace

Electroless nickel coatings have the perfect properties for use in the aerospace industry, for example, they can be used in the protection of hydraulic control systems.

Nickel coatings can also be used for the refurbishment and the recovery of worn machined parts. They can also be used to correct incorrectly machined parts enabling the component to be used.

Electrical and Electronics

Nickel coatings are used for electrical and electronic applications due to their ability to protect the components successfully. For example, electroless nickel coatings may be used for electrical connectors and hard drive computer components in order to impart corrosion protection and wear resistance. They are also useful for providing solderability and a non-porous barrier layer, and to otherwise enhance the performance or useful life of a particular component.

Automotive

The automotive industry has specified electroless nickel plating on brake, transmission and steering assembly components, in addition to other parts. Electroless components enhance performance, and with longer lasting parts, they can help automakers to extend their product warranties.

The energy industry

Electroless nickel coatings can be used for chemical and wear resistance to equipment in the oil and gas industry. It is also useful for coalfield cutting tools, as it provides a wear resistant coating that doesn’t carry the risk of sparking.

General engineering

Electroless nickel plating can be used in a wide variety of applications within general engineering. For example, it can be used for wear resistance in plastics and textile handling equipment, corrosion resistance in chemical handling plants, appearance, and wear resistance in automotive applications.

If you are looking for a metal coating that is suitable for a variety of applications and industries, electroless nickel is the perfect solution. Call us on our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

 

Corrosion and Chemical Resistant Coatings

Here at us, 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 our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.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 us

After an eventful 2013, this year is set to be equally as exciting here at us. 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 us, 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

us 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 plating, diffused nickel plating, copper plating, shot blasting and heat treatment. For more information, please call us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Electroless Nickel Coatings Can Increase the Lifespan of Steam Turbines

 

Here at us, 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 us by visiting our website, speak to a member of our specialist team on 0845 224 357, or email info@metal-finishing-company.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 us’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, us 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 us 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 us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

Common Applications of Electroless Nickel Coatings

Electroless nickel plating can be applied to a variety of components. Its fantastic properties make it the perfect plating solution for a variety of applications, including the following:

Electrical equipment

Electroless nickel coatings are perfect for electrical equipment due to their solderability and conductivity properties.

Applications include heat sinks, computer drive mechanisms, memory disks and drums, terminals and lead wires, chassis, connectors, diode and transistor cans, interlocks, junction fittings and printed circuit boards.

Packaging and handling machinery

Packaging and handling machinery can benefit from an electroless nickel coating due to its properties of wear resistance, cleanliness and the attractive finish it provides.

Chemical equipment

Nickel coatings have excellent chemical resistance, making them perfect for applications in the chemical and petroleum industries. This includes ball, gate and plug valves, chokes and control valves, oil field tools, oil well tubing and pumps, drilling mud pumps and blowout preventors.

Molds and dies

Electroless nickel coatings are used for molds and dies due to the lubricity of nickel that minimises erosion and abrasion. This coating is commonly used on zinc die cast dies, glass molds, plastic injection molds, and plastic extrusion dies.

Food service equipment

Electroless nickel is commonly used to plate food service equipment due to its superior corrosion and wear resistance, its an attractive finish and high degree of cleanliness.

Salvage

Electroless nickel coatings can be used for restoring parts to their original dimensions, for example, molds, shafts, landing gear and gears. They can also be used to repair mis-matched parts as they are a cost effective alternative to hard chrome and often eliminate subsequent machining or grinding operations.

If you are looking for a metal coating that provides high levels of corrosion resistance, lubricity and wear resistance, call the us team on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

us Shortlisted for Excellence in Manufacturing Award at Sheffield Business Awards

We are pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted for The Wake Smith Excellence in Manufacturing Award at the 2013 Sheffield Business Awards.

The Wake Smith Excellence in Manufacturing Award is presented to the company that is able to demonstrate the following:

  • A modern, efficient and innovative approach to manufacturing.
  • Exhibits best practice to build a sustainable operation either by the development of new manufacturing techniques, new products or capital investments.
  • A track record for training and passing on skills to future generations and the desire to promote the region as a center for manufacturing excellence.

Commercial Director Marcus Hill said, “We are delighted to have been nominated for such a prestigious award. us have had a very successful year and achieved a lot. It’s great to be recognised for our innovative approach to manufacturing and we are very much looking forward to the big night.”

us have over 30 years specialising in the process of electroless nickel plating. Over the years we have developed a range of metal finishing and metal plating processes and techniques. In addition to electroless nickel plating, we also offer the services of diffused nickel plating, copper plating, shot blasting and heat treatment.

Worldwide metal plating service

Our plating and delivery service is worldwide, available throughout Europe and the rest of the world including the UK, France, Holland, Brazil and Germany. If you would like more information about our services, feel free to call the friendly team at us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk. Alternatively, visit the us website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk

Nickel PTFE Coatings Prevent Seizure in Pistons

What 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 our phone number, email us at info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the contact page on our website to make an enquiry.

us sponsor Tupton RUFC

We’ve got a great team here at us. As well as working hard electroless nickel plating and all the other types of metal finishing services we carry out, we’ve also got 6 members staff on a local rugby team, Tupton RUFC.

us electroless nickel plating sponsor Tupton RUFC

 

us sponsor the team with hats and training tops, and obviously, we also provide them with loads of support whether they win or lose!

If you are looking for a quality, reliable metal plating company, who are also dab hands on the rugby pitch, contact us on our phone number or email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Aerospace Metals and The Hubble Space Telescope

As experts in the process of electroless nickel plating and diffused nickel plating, the staff at us 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 us website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk

Nickel and Computer Hard Disks

It’s truly amazing how far the IT industry has advanced over the past few decades. Laptops, computers and tablets continue to reduce in size, but despite shrinking, they can actually hold more data than ever before.

IBM invented the very first computer disc storage way back in 1956. The disks were about 150cm in diameter, which is roughly twice the size of an old vinyl record, and they could store 100 kilobytes of data. The computer hard disks we use today can be as small as 1cm wide and hold more than 400 gigabytes!

Hard disk drives work by using a magnetic head to move to a location where information is stored. As experts in electroless nickel plating, us have a wealth of knowledge about the use of nickel and the benefits of using nickel in everyday items such as hard drives.

Nickel really is a critical part of the technology involved in hard drives and is used in the film heads. It is applied to the magnetic heads using a plating process that uses heat, not electricity, to deposit the nickel layer.

This film head technology means that the storage density of hard drives has increased by 10 every 8 years since 1979! It also means that hard disk drives can now be used in mobile phones, video games consoles and iPods.

If you would like to find out more about us’s plating services and metal finishing services, call us on our phone number or email: info@metal-finishing-company.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.

Hot 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 us on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Nickel Plating – The Cheaper Alternative to Stainless Steel

Electroless nickel plating can be a great alternative to stainless steel. It’s much more cost effective and it still offers amazing corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is very expensive and it’s often hard to find a source to cast very large components made of stainless steel.

Making large parts out of cast iron and then electroless nickel plating them is a cheaper and quicker solution.

Hardness and Wear Resistance

It’s also perfect for plating large machined parts that need to be resistant to corrosion. Electroless nickel plating is also a great alternative to stainless steel because of its hardness and wear resistance.

Here at us, we’re experts in the process of electroless nickel plating and our equipment means that we can plate even the most difficult large parts accurately and consistently.

If you would like to find out more about reducing costs by using electroless nickel plating as an alternative to stainless steel, contact us on  our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Reduced Lead Time for Nickel Plating

The last few months have been a really exciting time here at us. The new laboratory is finally finished and it has made a dramatic difference to the way we run the business. Before the lab, nickel plating jobs often took up to 2 weeks to complete, because we had to send samples off for testing before returning them to the customer.

But now we have a brand new lab and we can do this testing in-house, which has reduced our lead time to 24 hours! It really is a massive improvement on the turnaround time of our work, and in turn benefits customers a great deal too.

Quality Director Paul Allen said, “The lab is a fantastic step for us. Not only can we reduce offsite costs for testing, we can offer our customers a much faster service. Completed metal 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 new lab has the facilities to perform all the tests that verify hardness, phosphorus levels and diffusion layers. We have also invested in a Mitutoyo Micro Hardness Tester and we use colour metrics to measure the phosphorus levels of diffused nickel.

If you have a project that requires a fast turnaround for your plating needs – we can meet them! For more information about our new laboratory and the positive impact it will have on your metal plating order, please call our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk.

Electroplating and Electroless Nickel Plating – Advantages and Disadvantages

There are two methods of depositing a thin layer of nickel onto the surface of a metallic object. One is electroplating, the other electroless plating. So what is the difference and why would you use one over the other?

In this post we’ll look at the differences between these two types of nickel plating, from the chemistry behind the processes, to the ideal uses for each.

Electroplating

The process of electroplating occurs when a rod of the plating method is used as an anode. The anode is immersed in a bath of electrolyte which contains the salt of the metal to be plated. For nickel plating, the salt used is Nickel Chloride.

With electroplating, two or three plating processes may be used, sometimes with a layer of a different metal underneath to improve adhesion.

Disadvantages of electroplating

Electroplating may result in hydrogen embrittlement, where the hydrogen gas leaks out at the surface of the cathode and diffuses into the surface of the component to be plated, making it brittle.

This embrittlement can be reduced by post plate heat treatment at a low temperature, which reverses the process of hydrogen diffusion into the surface layers of the component.

 

 

 

Electroless nickel plating

The other method of plating with nickel is electroless nickel plating. This type of plating doesn’t need an electric current because it happens using a chemical reaction.

The electroless nickel solution consists of nickel ions, reducing agents and other chemicals. The most commonly used reducing agent is sodium hypophosphite.

Advantages of electroless nickel plating

Electroless nickel plating has many fantastic properties which makes the process superior to other types of metal plating.

  • The process extends the life of any component that it coats.
  • The metal layer deposited by the electroless nickel plating process has an even thickness over all surfaces of the component.
  • This effect cannot be achieved with electrodeposited coatings.
  • Electroless nickel plating also provides excellent wear and corrosion resistance, as well as hardness and lubricity.

Another advantage of the process of electroless nickel plating is that the parts to be plated do not need to conduct electricity. This means that electroless nickel plating can be applied to ceramics, composites and polymers.

This method of plating is great for producing prototypes of metallic parts by plating a polymer casting or part to give some idea of the finished piece.

Disadvantages?

It is still possible for electroless nickel plated parts to suffer from hydrogen embrittlement, so for parts that are prone to corrosion through use, post heat treatment may be needed to improve the adhesion of the nickel and reduce the internal stresses within the nickel that has been deposited. When heat treating electroless nickel, it is also important to ensure that the heat treatment doesn’t temper-soften the existing material.

If you are looking for a quality company specialising in the process of electroless nickel plating, look no further than us. Talk to a member of our friendly team on our phone number or email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk for more information.

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 us on our phone number, email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit the us website.

Engineering Applications of Electroless Nickel Plating

Over the years the staff at us have developed a wide range of metal finishing and metal plating techniques. We are able to process many materials such as ferrous substrates, plate stainless steel, plate copper and its alloys, and even plate aluminium alloys.

There are endless applications for electroless nickel, and they can be found in a huge number of industries.

Electroless nickel plating is a very common choice for many engineering applications because it has lots of great qualities, for example:

  • Wear resistance
  • Hardness
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Uniform coating
  • The ability to plate non-conductive surfaces

 

 

 

Electroless nickel plating can be used for a number of industrial applications, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Sea water pumps
  • Aircraft control systems
  • Photographic equipment
  • Oil field drilling equipment
  • Aircraft engine mounts
  • Undercarriage fixtures
  • Hydraulic pistons
  • Valves and pump shafts
  • Printing rollers
  • Machine slideways
  • Excavating equipment
  • Hydraulic cylinders
  • Fine instrument pivots
  • Memory discs
  • Spray nozzles
  • Worm wheels
  • Valve blocks

If you would like to find out more about electroless nickel can be used as a corrosion resistant, hard wearing coating for your engineering application, contact the specialist team at us on our phone number, or email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk

Phosphorous Variations in Electroless Nickel Coatings

As experts in electroless nickel plating, us provide the full spectrum of nickel and phosphorous alloys.

Electroless nickel can be alloyed with between 4 and 14% phosphorous. There are three main types of electroless nickel, which are outlined below.

Low phosphorous electroless nickel coatings

Low phosphorous electroless nickel is alloyed with approximately 4% phosphorous. Electroless nickel coatings of this type are typically very hard, have good corrosion protection in alkaline environments and lowest impact on fatigue. Low phosphorous electroless nickel is best for higher temperatures.

Medium phosphorous electroless nickel coatings

Medium phosphorous electroless nickel is alloyed with between 5 to 9% phosphorous. This is the most common type of electroless nickel plating and is typically very bright. Medium phosphorous electroless nickel plating offers moderate corrosion and wear protection.

High phosphorous electroless nickel coatings

High phosphorous electroless nickel is alloyed with 10 to 14% phosphorous. This type of electroless nickel coating has a glass-like structure with the highest level of corrosion protection. It is also non-magnetic.

If you would like advice from the experts on which type of electroless nickel coating will best suit your product and it’s use, contact us on our phone number, email info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk or visit our website to contact a specific member of staff.

Quality electroless nickel plating

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

All employees at us 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.

us 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 us 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 us’s Quality Policy here.

View us’s Health and Safety Policy here.

View us’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 us website, call our friendly team of staff on our phone number or email: info@metal-finishing-company.co.uk