Tag Archive for electroplating

Why Choose Electroplating?

copper-electroplating-nitecElectroplating is a modern form of metal finishing.  It is commonly used in the automotive, aerospace, medical, army and electrical industries.  It occurs by means of an electrochemical process when metal ions in an electrolyte solution bond to a metal substrate through electrodeposition.   The required metal component is suspended in solution, whereby a direct power supply provides a direct flow of current to the said metal component in the chemical bath.  This current provokes the ions in the solution to attract to the surface of the metallic part, resulting in a metal coating which covers the base metal thoroughly.

Electroplating Benefits

Electroplating is mainly done in order to enhance the performance and longevity of the component part in question.  Certain characteristics can be added to the part in order to create specific needs for the manufacturers.  These can include areas such as:

  • Lower friction through greater lubrication
  • Better wear, abrasion and corrosion resistance
  • Temperature and impact resistance
  • Improved conductivity
  • Improved solderability
  • Porosity reducing
  • Creating added strength and hardness to the component
  • Creating a thicker appearance to smaller or undersized components
  • Increased protection for EMI and RFI shielding

Common Plating

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

As examples:

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

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

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

Copper plating is most commonly used in the automotive industry.

Contact Us Today at NiTEC UK

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

 

What to Consider before you Electroplate

tin-plating-company

Are you thinking about having parts electroplated?  Here are the most important things you need to take in to consideration before and during the process…

What should you consider Pre Electroplating?

 

  • Nesting

Electroplating involves electrical and chemical reactions on the surface of the part you are wanted to be plated, so exposure is crucial to the result of the final product.  Parts which are nesting will lack adhesion and therefore coverage on the final product.

  • Tolerance

The tolerance on vital dimensions on the part in question should be designated with the plating thickness in mind.  This is should be accounted for when the pieces are ready for assembly after the products have been through the chemical process.

  • Environment and exposure

What is your product going to be exposed to?  A high amount of friction, heat or sea spray?  This is essential for negotiating the thickness of the necessary plating required to maintain the resistance, corrosion and rust protection of the part in question.

  • Geometry

Electroplating involves using a current in order for the reaction to be initiated on the surface of a part, which means that the geometry of the parts surface will influence the distribution of electroplating across the surface.  This is called current density.  It is normal that plating builds up in parts which have sharp corners, bends and threads but it can be prevented if specialists use advanced plating processes.

  • Drainage

The preparation of the surface of a part needing plating must be correct so that the inside surfaces of a part will be sufficiently covered when the process is completed.  This is so that the plating will have the correct bond strength for plating to have been carried out correctly and for the part to have ultimate protection and increase its longevity.  This, for some parts, may mean they need to have a weep hole create during their design phase, so that this can be achieved.

  • Usage

It must be clear what your intended use is for the part you are needing plating.  Make it clear to your specialists what the use and required characteristics are of the part.  Important features include conductivity, low friction, high strength, corrosion resistance, wear, exposure to sea spray or water etc.  This will determine which metal your part is made from (eg. Copper, Nickel, Tin, etc), how your part should be finished and plated.

 

NiTEC UK and You

 

NiTEC UK are a Derbyshire based company and we are leading specialists in the plating industry.  We offer an array of well-developed, high-end techniques which are cost effective and reliable.  We have extensive experience working for industries, such as aerospace, medical, army and automotive and offer our services to the UK, France, Germany, Holland and Brazil.  If you need plating services such as electroless nickel plating, copper plating or heat treatments, then contact us today by calling our friendly and professional team on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or alternatively you can click here to be taken directly to our website and view the services we offer for yourself.

 

Electroplating from the Start

electroless-nickel-plated-componentElectroplating is a form of metal plating which is used by many industries in a range of capacities which include the aerospace, automotive, army, space, medical, electronic and engineering sectors, to name but a few.  It is useful due to the fact that it is so versatile and lends itself so because of its electrochemical process where metal ions in solution are bonded to metal substrates by means of electrodeposition.

Before Electroplating

Pre Electroplating, all parts must be thoroughly cleaned and then a process of chemical baths must be followed so that the parts can be prepared and activated so that the adhesion for the strong bond can take hold and become effective.  This is key in the electrodeposition process.  Many variables must be monitored closely during the electroplating bath process, such as the power supply which provides a direct flow of current to the parts in submerged.  This enables ions to be attracted to the surface of the metallic part evenly.  Every mole of electrons that are transferred to the part, allows one mole of metallic ions in the solution to adhere to the part during the bath process.  A chemical reaction can subsequently occur where the reduction and oxidation of ions takes place.

Types of Electroplating

Specialist plating facilities are able to plate a large array of different base materials to protect various surfaces.

Base materials for electroplating include:

  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Stainless Steel
  • Nickel Silver

Surface finishes for electroplating include:

About Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel plating is a high quality but cost effective coating solution which can drastically extend the life expectancy of a stainless steel component.  This is due to the metal layer deposited by the electroless nickel coating creating an even thickness across the components surface, despite its shape.  This makes electroless nickel plating very popular in sectors such as the defence, health, automotive and aerospace industries.

NiTEC UK and You

NiTEC UK are a Derbyshire based company in the UK and are leading specialists in the plating industry.  We offer a large array of well-developed high-end techniques which are cost effective and readily available for you.  We have extensive experience of working for industries, including that of the aerospace, medical, army and automotive sectors and offer our services to the UK holistically, France, Germany, Holland and Brazil.  So, if you are interested or are in need of plating, such as electroless nickel plating, copper plating or heat treatments, then contact us today by calling our friendly and professional team on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or alternatively you can click here to be taken directly to our website and view the services we offer for yourself.

Boeing up in the World

Boeing_777_electroless_nickel_plating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The famous aeroplane makers, Boeing, have found what seems to be the “Lightest Metal Ever” known as microlattice.  This is a material which is 99.9% air!  Developed in California, it is a way for planes and even rockets to have their weight reduced.  This 3D open cellular polymer structure will reduce the amount of fuel a plane needs to use during take off, flying and landing.  Currently, Boeing are looking in to using this structure internally on their planes in areas such as the overhead compartments, under the floor and in other fixtures to create a modern internal environment for passengers.

Boeing and Electroless Nickel Plating

Researchers decided that the 3D open cellular polymer structure should be coated with electroless nickel plating, in order to give the structure the required strength, because the web of nickel-phosphorus alloy lattice tubes are only just 100 nanometres thick.  The theory behind using this new structure coated with electroless nickel plating is a lot more advanced in the theory of aeronautical engineering, so has not been trialed yet for space-bound vehicles.  However, it is known that it would be used for exactly the same weight saving reasons to go to space, but also because it has the ability to compress, too, which could mean that objects sent in to space could expand after launch, reducing cargo hold space.  More, evidence will be needed though, before this is trialled as part of a space-bound launch, but nevertheless is a very exciting move forward in science.

Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel plating as a high quality, cost effective solution for metal coating, elongating the life of a component dramatically, because it leaves an equal thickness metal layer deposit all over the surface of a component, no matter what size or shape it is.  It is ideal for use in harsh environment as it is corrosion resistant, rust is prevented from forming and does not chip or flake which reduces the cost and frequency of repairs and replacement needed.  Electroless nickel plating can be hardened up to 950vhn, is self-lubricating and is non-magnetic.  These are just some of the advantages of electroless nickel plating.  If you would like to find out more then you can find out more by contacting NiTEC UK, the leading suppliers of electroless nickel plating.

Contact NiTEC UK Today

NiTEC UK are experts in the process of electroless nickel plating (ENP) and have a friendly and professional team who are more than happy to help you with any query you may have at any time.  If electroless nickel plating is something you or your business would like to find out more about, then please contact us on 0845 224 571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or alternatively you can click here to go directly to our website.  Our website contains information about other services we provide, such as diffused nickel plating, copper plating, shot blasting and heat treatment.

Witches on a Silver Platter

witch-silver-plating

Products that have been silver plated have the highest conductivity of all metals.  Their best attributes are that they can be used for soldering, are corrosion resistant, are durable, are wear resistant and can be used by an array of consumers for many different reasons, such as electronics, jewellery and in the automotive industry.

The Golden History of Silver

Silver Plating was historically used in ancient civilisation where the noble metals where seen as objects of great beauty.  They were believed to contain the mystic qualities of distant heavenly bodied.  Gold was seen symbolically as the sun and silver as the moon and the Ancient Egyptians called silver “white gold”.  The most famous mythical attributes of silver are its powers against enchantment and it is thought to contain powers against witches and vampires in other cultures, too.

How Did Silver Plating Occur?

Silver plating was originally used because it was a cheaper equivalent to the use of solid gold, usually in the home, for decorative objects, such as cutlery and candlesticks.  The earliest type of Silver plating was Old Sheffield Plate but in the 19th Century new methods were introduced, such as electroplating.

Silver Plating

Silver plating occurs when Silver cyanide is used in the electrolyte, as opposed to other compounds of Silver such as Silver Nitrate because the cyanide ion reacts with the Silver ion, forming a complex ion, limiting the supply of free Silver nitrate ions in the solution.  This enables them to deposit themselves on to the cathode creating a shiny and adherent silver plating available and great for use in many industries.

The benefits of Silver plating are:

  • That it is very soft
  • Has very low shear strength
  • Acts as a solid lubricant
  • Has low friction (it’s lowest when it is dry)
  • That is doesn’t oxidise particularly at temperature (good for exhausts)
  • Doesn’t need lubricant
  • Can be made in to a paste to perform as a lubricant, known as ‘silver-doped paste’ (for industrial usage)
  • Used for soldering
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Durable
  • Wear resistant

Who or which Industries reap the benefits of Silver plating?

  • Electronic
  • Costume Jewellery
  • Industrial
  • Telecoms
  • Automotive
  • Fasteners
  • Decoratively

NiTEC UK, Your Specialist Plating Company

NiTEC UK are leading specialists in the plating industry and specialise in electroless nickel plating based in Derbyshire, England. We have a wide range of developed techniques available to provide high-end, cost effective services for you.  We have considerable experience working with companies in the automotive, aerospace and military industries and offer our services to the UK, France, Holland, Brazil and Germany.

Contact NiTEC UK today

If you are interested in finding out more about our alternatives to Silver plating, such as electroless nickel plating, Copper plating or Tin plating, then why not get in touch with our friendly and professional team today?  Contact us on 0845 224 3571, email us at info@nitec-enp.co.uk or alternatively click here to go directly to our website to explore for yourself.

 

 

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.

Long Lasting Components with Increased Performance

The process of electroplating is very cheap and very popular. But many customers come to realise that nickel electroplating, chrome electroplating and stainless steel do not last as long as they had hoped. Their original goal with electroplating or using stainless steel may have been to reduce costs and ensure that the part stayed in good condition for the entirety of its life, but sadly this is not always the case.

Electroless nickel plated componentThe importance of plating components

Plating components is really important to ensure their longevity because it provides a barrier between the component and the atmospheric working conditions. If plating isn’t applied to end products, corrosion and wear will cause the functionality of the part to deteriorate very early on its life.

This often has a knock on effect to the unit it was assembled into as well, causing it to be much less effective and eventually unusable. But keeping your parts from failing doesn’t have to mean that you have to settle for expensive metal alloys, stainless steel, or an electroplated finish. You can use electroless nickel plating instead.

Why should I choose electroless nickel plating instead of electroplating or stainless steel?

The electroless nickel plating service from NiTEC UK is of an exceptionally high quality and meets the required engineering specifications. This means that you will have the peace of mind that your plated components will last indefinitely, effectively protected from corrosion and wear for years to come.

For more information about the process of electroless nickel plating and the benefits that it will have on the longevity of your components, call the NiTEC team on 0845 224 3571, email info@nitec-enp.co.uk or get in touch via our contact page.

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 NiTEC. Talk to a member of our friendly team on 0845 224 3571 or email info@nitec-enp.co.uk for more information.