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UK’s Largest Electroless Nickel Plating Tanks at NiTEC UK

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

Pre-Treatment for Electroless Nickel Plating

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

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

Common Applications of Electroless Nickel Coatings

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

Aerospace Components

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

Oil & Gas Components

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

Automotive Components

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.