Metal plating is the process of coating a conductive metal surface with a thin layer of metal like chromium or gold. Metal plating companies have grown in demand because of the benefits this process provides, including:
- Metal plating increases surface thickness and surface hardness, including corrosion resistance
- Provides incredible strength, durability, and solderability
- Improves electrical conductivity
- Increases electrical resistance, chemical resistance, and wear resistance
- Increases torque tolerance
- Enhances appearance and reduces friction
- Helps in radiation shielding
- Improves paint adhesion
The coating can be commercial or industrial. For instance, the commercial coating process helps decorate items to give them a better appearance, meaning silverware, tools, and jewelry make better use of it. In contrast, industrial coating involves custom stamping dies that aim to protect metal parts from harsh conditions like wear and tear and environmental factors.
Components of Metal Plating
- Preparation and cleaning of metal surface: Oxide removal, electropolishing, alkaline cleaning.
- Metal plating
- Treatments for finishing and protection: Phosphating, chromate conversion, anodizing.
Metal plating is also valuable for the custom stamping die process to coat the shaped metal suitably.
Types of Metal Plating
Types of metal plating prevalent in metal plating companies are:
Electroplating is standard in metal plating processes. It involves dipping two metal electrodes in an electrolytic solution called cathode and anode. The cathode is the metal to be electroplated, and the anode is the metal used for electroplating. When current passes through the whole setup, the electrolyte splits the anode into metal ions which move to the cathode and get deposited there.
Electroplating can be further subdivided based on the type of metal used for plating by metal plating companies:
- Industrial Plating
Copper: Copper is a great conductor of electricity. So it is preferred to make circuit boards, semiconductors, and other electronic parts. It is lubricious, provides high adhesion, and has antibacterial qualities. It is compatible with an extensive range of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Tin: Tin is found in abundance so much that often it is more cost-effective than other metals. It is preferred for affordable corrosion protection, non-toxicity, high ductility, and good solderability. It can be used to get a matter, silver-white Or bright appearance.
Zinc: Zinc is also a readily available metal and thus less expensive. Its prime benefit is that it provides strong protection against corrosion. Galvanization is a prevalent metal coating process in which zinc is coated on iron to prevent rusting. It is also a widely used method for coating steel.
Nickel: Nickel has a high degree of corrosion resistance. It prevents substrate migration. It helps the substance retain its surface appearance, protective qualities, and brightness for an extended time. It is even possible to coat some plastics with nickel for more extended usage.
Cadmium: Cadmium is a soft metal used to coat steel, cast iron, copper, and other metals. It has exceptional bonding abilities and conductivity. It also improves paint adhesions and lubricity. Aerospace, transportation, marine, and electronics industries use cadmium extensively.
- Plating with Expensive Metals
Gold: Used to make fine jewelry. Increases resistance to corrosion and tarnishing. It also has good electrical conductivity and contact resistance and thus is often used for making semiconductors and connectors.
Silver: Silver is ductile, malleable, and often used for gold for its greater hardness. Also, it has high electrical and thermal conductivity.
Platinum: Though being a rare metal, it is highly popular for its durability and appearance. Various metal plating companies for industrial applications use the metal as it provides high resistance against corrosion and tarnishing.
Suggested Read: Brief Details on the Precision Stamping Process
2. Electroless Plating
Also known as autocatalytic plating, this process doesn’t require an external power source. Plating occurs in an aqueous solution. It involves metal atom reduction and uses non-conductive substrates.
3. Immersion Plating (Displacement Reaction)
The metal ion is reduced from the solution by exchange with a metal atom from the substrate.
There are a few other types of metal plating like carburizing, physical vapor deposition, and plasma spray coating.
Methods of Metal Plating
The metal to be plated is hung from a rock or frame to control rinse water and drag out.
- Occurs in a closed barrel
- To electroplate smaller parts
- High rinse water and drag out rate.
- To plate larger parts and lower production rates.
- Semi-automated requires manual control of rails and hoists.
Metal plating is a process that has been in use for decades, just like metal stamping with custom stamping dies, and both are equally essential manufacturing processes. It provides superior benefits and increases the utility of substances.