Tag Archive for electroless plating

Electroplating and Electroless Plating – Less is More!

less-is-more-electroless-nickel-plating

The success of many products, which a lot of us are probably unaware of, are dependent on the application of surface engineering.  Such a huge amount of products, both commercial and industrial, are needy of it.  These include aeroplanes, computers, cars, trains, buildings, medical implants, mobile phones, and electronic devices – what would you do for a week without having just the products that have been listed?

The Electroplating Process

Electroplating is a process of surface engineering.   This is where metal coating is applied to a metallic or other conducting surface by and electrochemical process.  This process uses electric current in order to form a coherent coating on an electrode.  Electroplatings number one use is to change the surface properties of an object, such as the wear resistance, lubricity, corrosion protection and abrasion, for example.  It also builds up the thickness on objects, too.

The Electroless Plating Process

Electroless plating is a high quality, cost effective and eco-friendly solution to coating metals like stainless steel, as it can dramatically enhance the life expectancy.   The main difference between electroplating and electroless plating (yes, is in the name!) is that no electricity is used in the process of electroLESS plating.  Electroplating baths are used and are closely monitored as the parts must have a constant power supply directly provided to them in order for the ion attraction to be initiated in the bath contained solution on to the metallic surface of the submerged object.  This is when the chemical reaction occurs as the ions are being reduced and oxidised.

What does Plating help with?

  • Creates adhesion
  • Creates even coverage
  • Can add thickness to plated object
  • Weep holes can be added for drainage
  • Plating can carried out on many types of metal including electroless nickel plating
  • Conductor
  • Has low friction
  • Adds strength
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Makes objects hard wearing

Electroless Nickel Plating

NiTEC are experts in Electroless Nickel Plating, also known as ENP.  We are leading suppliers in Derbyshire who perform the electroless nickel plating process as well as many other processes to the highest of specifications to suit your needs.  We undertake diffused nickel plating, copper plating, nickel diamond plating, tin plating and many other processes.  If you are interested in these processes and want to ask us to perform these processes for your company or wish to find out more information then why not contact us today.  Call our highly respected staff on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or you can go directly to our website by clicking here to find out more about whichever process you desire.

 

Electroless Plating Vs Electroplating: Which is Best?

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

Metal Coatings Applied Using the Electroplating Process

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

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

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

Metal Coatings Applied Using the Electroless Plating Process

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

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

Which is Best?

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

UK Electroless Nickel Plating Specialists

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

15 Reasons To Choose Electroless Nickel for your Metal Plating Needs

electroless nickel plated componentWhen considering a plating method, there are lots of options you can consider. Here at NiTEC, we are experts in electroless nickel plating and consider the process superior to many other coatings on the market.

There are many advantages to electroless nickel plating that in our opinion make it a cut above the rest.

For example, electroless nickel:

  • Allows the deposit to coat a variety of surfaces, many of which would be difficult if not impossible to plate using the process of electroplating.
  • Is a very cost effective solution to coating metals such as mild or stainless steel.
  • Can substantially extend the life of a component.
  • Produces a metal layer with a very even thickness over all surfaces of the component, regardless of its shape or dimensions. This means that there is little or no excess deposit at high points on the component.
  • Deposits of electroless nickel have excellent physical and chemical properties, including hardness, wear resistance and lubricity.
  • Creates a uniform coating that makes it ideal for critical high-end engineering items, especially those used in the defense, automotive, healthcare and aerospace industries.
  • Has a high level of corrosion resistance making it perfect for extending the life of anything that it coats. This makes it the perfect solution for parts that are exposed to harsh environments such as the marine, oil, gas and defense industries.
  • Because of its ability to extend the life of components due to its high levels of corrosion resistance, electroless nickel coatings can reduce the cost of repair and replacement parts.
  • Prevents the formation of rust on a component, therefore preventing the parts around it from rusting too.
  • Tight manufacturing tolerances can be achieved with an electroless nickel coating because of its ability to deposit nickel evenly on the surface of a component
  • Can be used to improve the surface of a component so that it is back within the specified tolerances.
  • Provides the surface of the component with a surface layer that allows post finishes to be carried out effectively.
  • Has self lubricating properties which reduce the wear of a component through friction, creating minimal coating weight loss.
  • The use of electroless nickel on a component creates a coating that will not flake or chip off like some paints and lacquers will.
  • Can be hardened up to 950vhn with the appropriate heat treatment.

Choose electroless nickel for your metal plating needs by calling the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.