The Basics of Electroplating

Even though many people refer to plating as an “art”, there is no doubt that sound scientific principles and practices are critical to successful plating finishes. The basics of electroplating start with an understanding of the metallurgical properties of the substrates to be plated. This is crucial because the most important process in plating is the pre-treatment of the substrate. The choice of cleaning chemistry is dictated by the alloy of the metal as well as the soils to be removed. Soils such as oils, paraffins, and buffing compounds are normally encountered in the plating process, … [Read more...]

The Basics of Alkaline Cleaning in the Electroplating Industries

The most important phase of metal working, fabricating and finishing is cleaning.  Alkaline cleaning is the mainstay of industrial cleaning and may employ both physical and chemical actions.  Cleaners are many in number and vary in type and formulation.  Alkaline cleaners are specifically formulated (proprietary) chemical blends which consist of alkaline builder salts, surfactants, sequestering agents, emulsifiers and chelators .  Wetting agents, soaps and synthetic detergents, allow oil to be removed by displacing the oil from the surface of the part being cleaned by creating an emulsion win … [Read more...]

Hard Chrome Plating

The process of hard chrome plating has been used since the early part of the 20th century. It is a process that is used in nearly every aspect of manufacturing where wear resistance and lubricity are critical.  Typically coating thickness deposited are between 8 to 250 mm (0.00032”-.0098”) and hardness between 800-1000HV. High hardness and resistance to abrasion are retained unchanged up to 200oC. Early processes were standard chromic acid and sulfate processes.  The late 1940’s gave to processes that used anions such as fluoride to improve plating rates and finish quality. Evolutions in the … [Read more...]

Bury the Dog Bone

There has been a push in the plating industry to electroplate a given metal at a faster pace to ramp up production rates.  Unless you are willing to construct enormous plating lines, the only way to speed up plating production is to plate faster. Plating faster means plating at higher amps per square foot (asf). Seems to be a simple a simple task, but there are obstacles that need to be considered. One issue, and probably the most significant is the “dog bone effect”.  When plating occurs at higher ASF and plating times are compressed, larger amounts of metal are deposited in the high … [Read more...]

Acid Wetter vs. Acid Inhibitor

In the process of electroplating of most ferrous substrates the pretreatment is extremely important since this is where it all begins. The pretreatment process is the foundation to the rest of the process being successful.  Improper pretreatment may lead to poor plate coverage, poor adhesion, premature corrosion failures, and the list goes on.  In the ferrous pretreatment process the typical process consists of an alkaline soak clean to remove surface soils such as cutting and lapping oils, stamping lubes, buffing compounds, heat treat oils, and rust preventatives. The soak clean provides for … [Read more...]

Rack or Barrel Electroplating?

Electroplating may be defined as a deposition process where a thin coating of metal is deposited on a surface by passing an electric current through a solution in which the plated part acts as the cathode. The anode is often composed of the metal being deposited. The solution, or plating bath, contains dissolved salts of the metals being deposited. There are two basic types of deposition methods commonly used for electroplating, rack or barrel, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are dependent on the parts (being plated) seeing a DC current while in contact with the … [Read more...]