For prototype and production, there are a variety of metal plating options. However, not all of them are compatible with all items. Many surface treatments are designed to enhance the appearance of your goods. Others focus on improving the product’s functioning, while others combine the two.

What Are Metal Plating Finishes?

Metal plating is a post-production procedure. It entails the application of a thin layer of metal to the surface of a workpiece.

Metal plating is defined as the application of a thin layer of one metal to a substrate.  The goal is to increase the product’s overall quality. The several advantages of metal plating finishes are:

  • Corrosion resistance improvement
  • The material’s surface is hardened
  • Increasing the adherence of paint
  • Increasing the solderability of a product
  • Improving the part’s wearability
  • Friction reduction
  • Changing the conductivity and conductibility of a substance
  • Strengthening heat resistance
  • Providing radiation protection

Metal plating Finishes for Industrial Use

The typical plating finishes available at the industrial level are listed below.

1. Metal plating with zinc

Zinc is one of the most cost-effective materials for covering metal substrates with galvanised coatings. Zinc is applied by immersing it in a molten bath and spraying it on. In a soluble zinc salt electrolytic bath, the substrate is the cathode and metallic zinc is the anode. The zinc plating technique results in an extremely ductile finish. It is simple to manage the thickness and consistency of this metal plating finish.

2. Metal plating in chrome

To create an overlay on metal objects, this plating method often requires the use of chromic acid and trivalent chromium baths. The primary goal of chrome plating is to enhance the material’s appearance. However, chromium metal plating treatments improve the material’s corrosion resistance and toughness. Those chrome-plated pieces are appropriate for industrial use. It may also aid in the restoration of tolerances on worn components.

3. Metal plating with copper

Copper plating is the way to go when your applications need cost-effectiveness and good conductivity. This method is commonly used as the first coating preparation before the plating finishes. It is a common metal plating treatment for electronic components such as circuit boards. Because of its cheap material cost and good plating efficiency, it is a preferred option.

4. Plating with nickel

Nickel is another common plating metal due to its use in electroless plating. Nickel plating is used to improve the appearance and wear resistance of household items such as cutlery, shower fixtures, and doorknobs. Aluminum and copper are the ideal metals for this plating process. It does, however, work on a variety of other metals. It also acts as the chromium plating’s foundation.

5. Plating in gold

Gold is prized for its strong electrical conductivity and oxidation resistance. Gold plating is a straightforward approach to give these crucial qualities to silver and copper metals. It has a wide range of applications in enhancing conductivity in electronic components such as electrical connections.

6. Plating in silver

Silver plating, like gold plating, increases the visual appeal of the substance in question. When it comes to silver plating, electrical conductivity is also a factor. Silver plating is used by many producers because it is less expensive than gold plating. It also plates copper-based items more effectively.

Metal Plating Finishes: Pros and Cons

Plating is a useful post-processing technique that has a number of advantages. It does, however, have drawbacks. We’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of metal plating in this article.

Pros

  • It’s possible to plate a broad variety of materials.
  • It features a broad variety of architectural and specialised finishes.
  • It’s a low-cost finishing approach.
  • Protects against abrasion and corrosion.
  • Increases the material’s toughness and strength.
  • Increase the material’s decorative attractiveness.

Cons

  • Some wearing situations may cause chipping and cracking.
  • It may take a long time.
  • If not handled correctly, it may be marred by machining flaws.
  • Points to consider before metal plating
  • Plated materials have several advantages, ranging from beauty to better functioning.

Material conditions prior to plating

Any material that will be plated must first be in a plating-ready condition. Oil buildups, oxides, heat treatment scales, and other residues, for example, may cause the plated deposit to fail to adhere to the substrate’s surface. As a result, you must use pretreatment procedures to eliminate these buildups. Chemical descalers, acid pickles, deoxidizers, alkaline presoaks, vapour blasting, and other treatments are among them.

Tolerance for thickness

Plate plating difficulties are likely to occur if the coating thickness is too thick or too thin. The objective outcome is to find an appropriate range of maximum and minimum thicknesses. To make the range specific and realistic in your metal finishing request, keep the following in mind.

Roughness of the surface

Prior to plating, you must also consider the texture of the product’s surface. The surface roughness chart is an excellent resource for this. It’s more probable that handing over items with smoother surfaces will result in a superior plating outcome. However, owing to various levelling qualities, the precise results vary depending on the metal used in plating.

Founded in 1998, Smart Microns is a leader in the electroplating sector, specializing in precious metal platings, such as silver and gold, for the electrical and electronics industries. Over 22 years ago, Smart Microns started researching and developing microns. It is the parent company of Smart Microns, Smart Creations, which was the first company in South India to develop electroplating and electrophoretic lacquers, commonly known as ED lacquers. Over 7 metals are available in a variety of textured textures with Smart Microns’ precision Micron electroplating services.