Find informative answers to all your questions about Plating below.

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In terms of our work flow, we are totally at the mercy of our clients. Unlike manufacturing operations, we do not enjoy the luxury of planning. “I must have this job urgently “is a typical demand that we often hear. We are more than willing to help with your emergency and our lead times are exceptionally good, yet it is important that platers do not have to compensate for the lateness of the entire purchasing and manufacturing chain. Constantly expanding and contracting workloads with spikes at month end and year end as well as seasonal fluctuations means that lead times can vary from a few hours to a few days in busy times. Good forward planning with adequate lead times will ensure the service and quality you expect.

This is a critical and often overlooked aspect of efficient plating design. in a plating operation, your product will move from tank to tank, sometimes from highly alkaline to highly acidic solutions. If these chemicals are not rinsed out of a cavity or allowed to drain away, their retention will result in seepage and corrosion of the plated surface later on. To get the best results, as well as to assist your plater, you will need to achieve "free rinsing" of the inside surfaces of the components. Don't assume that any weld is water tight, even a microscopic pinhole will allow aggressive chemicals to be drawn into a cavity, only to corrode the part away from the inside out. Often the results of a correctly drained job, versus a poorly drained job are startling. Many so called "poor" plating jobs, are actually attributed to bad drainage.

Every plater dreads these words and let's face it, plating is a bit of a black art to most people. The words "alchemy" and "witches brew" spring to mind; nothing can be further from the truth! The fact is that electroplating is a combination of several complex and highly technical processes that need to function together to produce a good result.  

It's no good asking the plater for the dimensions of his tank; what is important is what size cube he can safely accommodate between the anodes. Construct an imaginary box around your product. Then take the dimensions of this cube you have constructed. Your plater will decide if your cube can fit into his tank.

No, penetration into hollow pipes and sections is limited to roughly the size of the opening, for example a 50mm tube that is 600mm long will only plate inside for 50mm at either end. The rest of the inside will be left raw.

  1. NB. This can be overcome in certain instances by making use of an internal anode (electrode); this is however a costly exercise.

Even expert welders can leave pinholes. These pinholes draw chemicals into the cavity as the parts move through the process. As this trapped solution usually leaches out later, often much later, contaminating coated surfaces in the immediate vicinity, including surfaces of other components that are in close contact (as in when parts are stacked for delivery). It is safer to provide drainage holes.

Any enclosure with an opening only on one side will be a real challenge to your plater. There are two reasons for this:

  1. It will more than likely trap air creating an air pocket in one of the corners and prevent plating in that region.
  2. The Faraday cage effect which will not allow the current to go into sharp corners.

No. A certain amount of leveling occurs on some types of plating – nickel, zinc, acid zinc, acid copper but that is limited, As a rule of thumb you can level a 220 grit finish but no more under normal circumstances.

Yes, platers can remove all but the heaviest encrusted rust easily with mineral acids, but the damage to the underlying material will be visible afterwards and this can only be corrected by mechanical means such as grinding and buffing.

Most times leave it alone. The plater will generally be far better qualified to know what is required. Unfortunately, customers often cause irreparable damage to parts by trying to help.

Try and use the best material that you can afford. It is poor engineering practice to buy inferior material and attempt to ‘fix’ it with plating. The same rule applies to manufacture and fabrication – a good plating job will not fix a poor welding job! Material and manufacturing faults cannot be corrected by plating! In fact the plating operation often exposes defects such as very bad welding and heavily scratched material. Remember the shinier and smoother a part becomes the more noticeable defects become. It is quite simple from a platers perspective - good material = good plating and bad material = bad plating.

Plating, galvanizing, zincing, dipping and nickelling are all loose terms often used to describe one or more types of electroplating. The word Electroplating describes the deposition of metal onto a substrate by means of chemicals and electric current. Galvanizing describes coating with zinc and this can mean either” ‘hot dip” or the “electro” method. Electrogalvaizing describes electroplating specifically with zinc. Likewise, there are a multitude of other surface treatments in everyday use that are not electroplating, but are often grouped into the same family. Wherever possible, try to agree with your plater on an applicable specification or standard; this will protect both parties in the event of a dispute. There are many types of electroplating and other surface treatments ranging from common to exotic. It helps a plater enormously when a client is properly informed and requests a specific finish, preferably referring to a recognized specification.