Plating Methods

Plating is a centuries-old procedure that involves joining a metal coating to a conductive surface. There are a few types of plating methods. Many people connect plating with jewellery. Adding gold or silver plating to an object to make it look more valuable and appealing is a very popular use for plating. However, there are a slew of additional applications, including corrosion prevention, radiation shielding, and paint adhesion, to name a few. There are a few different sorts of plating methods that might be beneficial.

In other terms, plating is the process of applying a different metal to the surface of a substance or object. Inhibiting corrosion, modifying conductivity, improving wear, increasing solderability, lowering friction, increasing heat resistance, and hardening the material are all advantages of plating. Plating may alter the material’s properties and performance, limiting its usage in precision machining. We’ll look at the many forms of plating methods and how they affect the material, as well as how these procedures affect precise machining.

1. Electroplating 

One of the most frequent plating methods is electroplating. Electroplating is a method of dissolving positively charged metal particles (ions) in a chemical solution using an electrical current. The positively charged metal ions are drawn to the negatively charged side of the circuit, which is the material to be plated. The plated item or product is subsequently immersed in the solution, and the dissolved metal particles are attracted to the material’s surface. Electroplating coats the plated substance in a smooth, even, and quick manner, essentially altering the surface of the material. Cleaning, striking, electrochemical deposition, pulse electroplating, and brush electroplating are some of the various plating methods and procedures involved in electroplating.

Electroplating is used to cover a material with a protective coating, give it a decorative look, or modify its characteristics for engineering purposes. Electroplating increases the workpiece’s chemical, physical, and mechanical qualities, affecting how it performs when machined. Plating the workpiece may be used to boost solderability, conductivity, and reflectivity, as well as to build it up from a smaller size.

2. Electroless Plating 

Electroless plating gets its name from the fact that it is one of the various plating methods that does not need the use of external electric power. A chemical process causes metal atom reduction in electroless plating. In other words, when metal ions (particles) are combined with a reducing agent and come into touch with the catalytic metal, they are transformed into a metal solid (which triggers the reaction). This results in a solid layer of plating metal being applied to the metal.

Electroless or autocatalytic plating may be used on a wide range of materials and does not need external power or plating baths, lowering expenses. Electroless plating is slower, unable to produce thick plates, and more difficult to regulate than electroplating. Electroless nickel plating is the most prevalent autocatalytic plating process. These plating methods, however, may also be used to apply silver, gold, and copper plating.

Protecting the base metal from corrosion, expanding the size of the workpiece, and changing solderability, reflectivity, and conductivity are all effects of electroless plating on the finished result.

3. Immersion Plating

Immersion plating is the process of immersing one metal in a solution containing metal ions from a nobler metal, one of the other plating methods. Because the ions from the nobler metal are more stable, there is a natural ‘pull’ to displace the less noble metal’s surface metal ions with a thin coating of the nobler metal’s ions. Immersion plating is a more time-consuming method that can only be used to coat less noble metals with nobler metals. Metals that are chemically inert are known as noble metals. Gold, platinum, and silver, for example.

Immersion plating leaves just a thin layer of plating on the surface, after which the plating process comes to a halt. Immersion plating also seems to have a worse adhesion quality, with the plating not adhering as well to the base metal. Improved corrosion resistance, altered electrical conductivity, altered appearance, increased hardness, torque tolerance, and modified bonding capabilities are all benefits of immersion plating.

Smart Microns, a pioneer in the electroplating industry, was founded in 1998 and specialises in precious metal platings, such as silver and gold, for the electrical and electronics sectors. Smart Microns began studying and creating microns over 22 years ago. Smart Creations, Smart Microns’ parent company, was South India’s first electroplating and electrophoretic lacquer maker (ED lacquers). With Smart Microns’ precise Micron electroplating services, over 7 metals are offered in a range of textures.