A study by Tracc, has found that non agricultural raw material prices including industrial metals have increased by 117% since 2001, till the opening quarter of 2020. With the Covid19 pandemic creating an unpredictable ebb and flow of demand and supply both in raw materials and consumer products. The highly volatile supply chain has made it difficult to procure high quality materials.
The Pandemic has directly affected the availability of manpower, with restrictions in personnel present in the factories. This has led to high overheads while trying to find the demand for the finished products. The manufacturing costs have consequently reached a new high that can surprisingly be mitigated with none other than Electroplating.
What is Electroplating?
Electroplating is the name given to any process that creates a coating of metal on a different substrate material with the help of Electrochemistry. It is one of the best methods to provide a uniform metal finish with the desired properties for which the end product is intended for. This has found application in nearly every industry that involves metal raw materials and in some cases even non metal components.
One may wonder how this in any way related to manufacturing costs. Some even view it as an additional expense that seems impossible to budget. But electroplating has proved to be a boon to those businesses by directly impacting the quality of the product and the reputation of the company. In this article, we shall discuss how Electroplating can lead to a significant reduction in manufacturing expenses.
The bulk of any manufacturing firm’s costs go into procurement. A fair share of this procurement cost is incurred by the raw materials required for the production of the end products. With the low availability of quality materials, their sourcing poses both logistics and financial problems to the company. This cuts into company profits. If the product needs to be of a certain thickness, then the base material use can be lowered, while the electroplated finish compensates and makes up the requisite thickness.
Certain products require specific properties to be exhibited which may not be possible with the base metal. Replacing the base metal with the desired metal is not a cost effective option. For example, an electronics component is better off, when produced in steel and plated with copper or silver than making them completely of those metals. The raw material cost is greatly reduced.
Higher Quality in Surface finish:
The finish of the raw product is questionable at best, especially in a manufacturing factory environment. It needs to be prepped for the purpose it was intended for. Electroplating the product or component prepares it for the environment it would be placed in. It improves the longevity of the component reducing the maintenance cost. This is indirectly cost saving to the manufacturer by improving their credibility. Customer retention and referrals work to make good profits just by making a simple addition of Electroplated surface and leads to continued business.
People are attracted to aesthetic appeal over functionality. Electroplating with precious metals complements the product’s functionality with a distinctly enhanced appearance. One cannot hope to manufacture components from solid gold, silver or platinum as it would escalate the costs exponentially. There is also the problems that come with manual handling, that are inclusive of scratches, abrasions, chipping etc. These mar the appearance of the product and reduce the buyer’s appeal. Instead coating them with precious metals which only requires a thin layer will keep things within budget as well as attractive to the user. This not only reduces production cost in achieving a suitable finish with the base metal, but reaps in profits to cover any overheads created in the pandemic.
Plating a component or product with an inert metal like Gold, will make it more stable. It becomes corrosion resistant and stronger than the raw product. Most industrial components are exposed to high friction, corrosive materials, environmental exposure and handling damages. Any material directly in contact with chemicals will deteriorate. The Electroplated metal layer acts as an additional buffer to delay the corrosion. It makes the substrate stronger, helping it endure repetitive mechanical impacts and other abrasive forces. Even industrial strength cleaning materials can harm the substrate, which is protected by the metal plating. The life of the product is increased by even the most minimal electroplated layer.
Electroplated materials like copper, silver etc actually boost the conductive properties of the product. Practically we may not be able to either fabricate the part to the required strength with Copper or silver, nor will it be within budget as they are high value metals. Electronics and electrical components are being rendered in Steel and finished with a coating of copper, silver or gold to ensure required conductivity. This is possible only through Electroplating.
Smart Microns is a leading South Indian Industrial Plating expert, that has been in business for well over 20 years. We create project specific, and affordable solutions to your metal plating needs, placing the highest priority on quality. Learn how to reduce your manufacturing costs through electroplating alternatives through our Expert consultations. Reach out to us at https://www.smartmicrons.com/contact-us/ to schedule a meeting of your convenience.