Metal ElectroplatingWhat is Metal Electroplating – Manufacturer’s Overview

Metal electroplating has been present since old age. Today, electroplating has played a pivotal role in diverse industries. From enhancing aesthetics to fortifying metals against corrosion, electroplating has stood up against other surface techniques.

In this article, we’ll discuss what is metal electroplating, how it works, its advantages, and its applications. Let’s start by defining metal electroplating. 

What is Metal Electroplating?

Metal Electroplating

The electroplating process can be defined as coating a metal surface with a thin layer of another metal. The purpose of this metal surface treatment is to enhance the mechanical or engineering qualities, as well as corrosion resistance and appearance.

Following the explanation of what is electroplating, let’s recognize the different metals suited for electroplating.

What Metals Are Suited for Electroplating?

Each metal with special qualities that fit different applications, is possible to electroplate. The chosen metal for electroplating is determined by the intended result, usability, and aesthetics. Common metals suited for electroplating include:

Copper:

Copper Material

Copper plating metal offers benefits such as malleability, conductivity, corrosion resistance, and anti-bacterial properties. Another advantage is its ability to be used as part of a dual plating. A dual approach means the surface will benefit from two different material coating. 

Brass

Brass Material

Brass electroplating gives your metal craft an added layer of protection against dirt and corrosion. This gives your item a pleasing look over a period of time. It can withstand high temperatures too, making it suitable for automotive industry applications. In addition, brass plating also improves the product’s overall performance while reducing the risks of wear and tear.

Zinc Nickel:

Zinc Nickel Material

The zinc nickel plating is becoming more popular with manufacturers. The reason behind this is its ability for faster casting. Zinc nickel plating also offers amazing corrosion resistance and a hardness of 400 to 500 HV. Another benefit is its excellent resistance to heat. Due to this advantage, zinc-nickel is ideal to use in the baking industry.

Nickel Chromium:

Nickel Chromium Material

Nickel chromium plating offers protection of the metal parts against corrosion, wear, and tear. It also enhances the product’s appearance by giving it a glossy finish. Due to the combination of nickel and chromium, it provides better protection compared to single metal coating. This type of plating is ideal to use in industries like, automotive, marine, aerospace, and medical.

Black Chromium:

Black Chromium Material

A black chromium plating provides a corrosion and wear-resistant surface. The finish can be glossy, semi-glossy, or matte. This metal plating provides better dar chrome coverage without the requirement of a post-dip process.

Gold:

Gold Material

Electroplated gold is a great way to add sophistication to your products. By adding gold plating, your craft can look more appealing, expensive, and most of all expensive. Not only does gold plating play an important part in aesthetics, but it also contributes to the product’s durability. 

Silver:

Silver Material

Silver electroplating is known to offer anti-galling properties, lubricity, heat resistance, and corrosion resistance. Due to these advantages, silver has become a popular choice in the medical, electronic, and automotive industries.

Aluminum

Aluminum Material

Aluminum electroplating is helpful in many industries as it increases corrosion protection. This plating provides excellent wear resistance while enhancing the appearance of a product. 

Steel

Steel Material

One of the disadvantages of steel is it easily rusts or corrode when exposed to moisture. Electroplating steel helps in increasing the material’s resistance against rust and corrosion. Having that said, when steel is electroplated, its longevity and durability increase.

The specific demands of the intended application determine which metal is best for electroplating. Ensuring that the resulting coating aligns with the desired characteristics and functionalities.

Now that we’ve explored the metals well-suited for electroplating. Let’s see the benefits of this procedure in the field of fabrication craftsmanship. 

Advantages of Electroplating

The metal coating process of electroplating is precise and adaptable. It is more important in many different industries. Here are the key advantages of electroplating:

Enhanced Aesthetics:

It gives items a perfect, consistent, and glossy finish that improves their aesthetic appeal.

Improved Corrosion Resistance:

Objects coated through electroplating gain enhanced resistance to corrosion, ensuring longevity and durability.

Increased Hardness and Wear Resistance:

It can improve the hardness and wear resistance of objects. It makes them more robust and durable.

Precise Thickness Control:

Gives exact control over coating thickness, guaranteeing uniformity and fulfilling demands.

Versatility in Material Compatibility:

It can apply to a wide range of materials. Provides flexibility in choosing substrates and coatings.

Selective Plating:

Enables selective plating, allowing for targeted coating on specific areas of an object.

Improved Solderability:

Coated objects often exhibit improved solderability, facilitating the assembly of electronic components.

Decorative Finishes:

Used for decorative purposes, high-quality finish on jewelry, and home decor items.

Increased Conductivity:

Certain electroplated metals, like copper and silver, enhance the conductivity of objects. It makes them suitable for electrical applications.

Applications of Electroplating

Electroplating is a versatile and utilized metal coating technique. Manufacturers and craftsmen have to consider certain limitations and factors associated with it.

Decorative Hardware:

Decorative Hardware

Used on ornamental hardware pieces like hinges, knobs, and handles. To provide an attractive finish, durability, and resistance to tarnishing or corrosion.

Automotive Parts: 

Automotive Parts

Emblems, trim pieces, or interior accents. To improve their resilience to environmental influences, toughness, and appearance.

Jewelry: 

Jewerly

To offer a layer of rhodium, silver, or other precious metals. It enhances the aesthetics and durability of the pieces.

Industrial Components: 

Industrial Components

Such as fasteners, valves, and fittings, may undergo electroplating. To improve resistance to corrosion, wear, and environmental conditions, thereby extending their lifespan.

Consumer Goods: 

Consumer Goods

Including household items, kitchenware, and personal accessories. May undergo electroplating to achieve specific finishes, corrosion resistance, and visual appeal.

Fashion Accessories: 

Fashion Accessories

Like buckles, clasps, and ornaments may electroplated with different metals. To achieve desired colors, textures, and finishes.

Customized Promotional Items: 

Metal Promotional Items

Here at Relia, we offer different electroplated metal crafts specialized for promotion. These crafts include customized keychains, medals, pins and badges.

How Does Electroplating Work?

The electroplating process consists of the following key steps:

Cleaning the Substrate:

To get rid of any impurities, oils, or oxides before electroplating. This ensures proper adhesion of the plated metal.

Electrolyte Bath Preparation:

Containing a solution of metal salts corresponding to the metal to get plated. 

Anode and Cathode Setup:

The cathode of the object that is set connected to it. The anode is crossed to a metal electrode made of the same metal. Both were immersed in the electrolyte bath.

Ion Movement:

An electric current is put into the electrolyte solution. Attracting metal ions to the cathode. At the cathode, these ions gain electrons and reduce to form a metal layer on the substrate.

Metal Plating:

The metal ions are reduced at the cathode, creating a layer of metal on the object’s surface. The length of the process determines the thickness of the metal that put in.

Controlled Parameters:

A uniform and desired coating thickness occurs by monitoring many parameters. Such as current density, bath composition, temperature, and plating time.

Post-Plating Treatment:

After plating, the item may go through procedures like drying, polishing, and rinsing. to improve the plated layer’s appearance and quality.

To give you a clear insight into how we do electroplating, you can watch the video below

 

Metal Electroplating by Relia

Knowing what is metal electroplating and its benefits, you might be thinking of getting your metal crafts electroplated. If so, then it is best to find the right manufacturer who does the job perfectly. Relia Metal is a pioneer in the field of metal electroplating. We produce electroplated medals, coins, keychains, pin badges, and many more. Following strict electroplating process to guarantee excellent quality and client satisfaction. You can rely on us to deliver exceptional results with whatever metal craft you want to produce. For more details on our offered services, you can contact us through our website.

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