Metal Electroplating

Metal electroplating have been applied over recent decades. Many application on using ofelectroplating process have been developed for many purposes like enhance the corrosion resistance, or for decorative purposes to make some metal have better appearance.

For other purposes the characteristic of electroplating often use because of electroplating is often also called as electro deposition. Electro deposition is the process of producing a coating, usually metallic, on a surface by the action of electric current. The deposition of a metallic coating onto an object is achieved by putting a negative charge into one electrode cell. The metal ion like salt carry a positive charge and are thus attracted to the object. This method often use on collecting metal from the solution that may be have high concentration. The result like to extract something from mixing solution then we can collect of just metal that dissolve in the solution.

Electroplating uses a form of electrolysis in which the electrodes play a bigger role than just conducting the current. Using electric current we can coat metal of one electrode with the metal of other. Jewelry and silverware can be silver, or gold plated, while zinc is often used to coat iron to protect against rust.

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The Electroplating Process and Trends

Electroplating, as used today, is the process through which a conductive object is coated with a layer of a different material to transfer properties of the new material to the surface of the object. The process, called electrodeposition, relies on electrical currents to coat the object, also known as the cathode, with positive cat-ions, transferred from the positively charge anode, (the other material). By using an electric charge to oxidize the anode, cat-ions with a positive charge are formed and then reduced at the cathode, thus depositing a coating of the anode’s material on the cathode.

Recent Electroplating Trends

 

 Although electroplating, as patented by the Elkingtons, spread quickly and successfully across Europe, the process remained relatively unchanged until the 1940s, when a surge in the electronics industry lead to the replacement of traditional cyanide solutions with safer acid baths, at least on the commercial level. The 1970s saw the development of safer water disposal regulations and continual hardware upgrades, which streamlined the process by enabling faster and more efficient electroplating

 

 Today, new chemical developments make it possible to electroplate a wide range of materials, including platinum and osmium. The electronics industry continues to rely on electroplating for products such as connectors and circuit boards, and as the telecommunication industry expands, so does its dependence on the process. In addition, waste-water recycling and attempts to minimize work-place chemical exposure are helping ensure that electroplating continues to be safe regardless of chemical changes and ongoing developments.

 

 

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Zinc Phosphating

Our zinc phosphating services strictly adhere to military standard specifications. Our job shop accommodates large zinc phosphating tanks, which yield smooth, uniform coatings on metal surfaces. Automotive, aerospace, military, and electronics industries use our zinc phosphating services extensively.

Zinc phosphate coatings are electrochemical conversion coatings used in applications that demand high corrosion resistance. We are equipped with two zinc phosphating tanks with depth of about 4/3/30 inches.

Zinc phosphating is generally conducted as a pre-treatment process over the surface of iron and steel parts prior to painting. They function as oil-based corrosion inhibitors. Low-porosity, fine-grained zinc phosphate coatings act as excellent paint bases and reduce paint consumption substantially. Light to medium, non-reflective gray finish with appealing appearance is obtained using our zinc phosphating services.

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What is Passivation?
In simplest terms, in order to protect against corrosion of stainless steels, we must remove free-iron ions and other potentially corrosive elements from the surface. In addition, the passivation process provides a thin, transparent oxide film that protects the stainless steel from further oxidation or corrosion.

The type of stainless steel being treated determines the most effective passivation process and bath chemistry. Within the bath, control of process variables such as time, temperature and concentration are paramount. Improper bath and process selection and/or process control will produce unacceptable results, including the potential for pitting and etching of the surface and possible partial or total dissolution of the entire part.

Passivation Process Parameters
Nitric acid is typically used for passivation of the various grades of stainless steel in concentrations of 20-50% (by volume) range. Typical immersion times in the bath are between 20-120 minutes. Typical bath temperatures range between room temperature and 70°C (160°F).

Many specifications include the use of sodium dichromate in the passivation solution or as a post-passivation rinse to aid in the formation of a chromic oxide film. Careful solution control, including water purity, ppm of metallic impurities and chemical maintenance, are critical for success.

How Heat Treating Plays a Role
Perhaps the most overlooked variable in the entire passivation equation is the negative impact of heat-treating practices. Poor machining can also play a significant role. Cross-contamination introduced by these manufacturing steps results in a failure to properly passivate and resultant corrosion.

The following practices will reduce cross-contamination during manufacturing and increase the chances of successful passivation and tests results.[1]

  • Thorough cleaning prior to any thermal processing is critical. Stress relieving, annealing, tempering or hot-forming processes can actually draw surface contaminants deeper into the substrate, making them almost impossible to remove during passivation.
  • Care should be taken during all thermal processes to avoid the formation of oxides. Passivation is not designed to remove discoloration and will not penetrate heavy oxide layers. In extreme situations, additional pickling and descaling operations are required prior to passivation to remove the discoloration. Controlled atmospheres are highly recommended for all thermal processes to reduce airborne contamination and prevent oxides from developing.
  • Use only clean, unused abrasives such as glass beads or iron-free silica or alumina sand for abrasive blasting. Never use steel shot, grit or abrasives that have been used to blast other materials.
  • Never use grinding wheels, sanding materials or wire brushes made of iron, iron oxide, steel, zinc or other undesirable materials that may cause contamination of the stainless steel surface.
  • The use of carbide or other nonmetallic tooling is recommended.
  • Grinding wheels, sanding wheels and wire brushes that have been previously used on other metals should not be used on stainless steel.

 

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What you Need to Know about Conflict Materials

Have you heard about conflict minerals? Recently, the issue of conflict minerals has become a hot topic across all American industry and is something that we need to address for all of our business moving forward. This past January, the U.S. government put into law the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, part of which focuses on the use of conflict materials and, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is an act that promotes “the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end ‘’too big to fail’’, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” In other terms, what does this mean for manufacturers like you?

The act specifically outlines the materials cassiterate, columbite-tantalite (coltan), gold, wolframite, tin, tantalum, and tungsten, as seen in this article. The law prohibits companies from acquiring these materials from a specific set of countries mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because of the various human rights and armed conflicts that are ongoing in these areas. As these minerals are used in a variety of manufacturing processes and devices, the use of conflict-free materials touches all areas of the industry. Companies and manufacturers, then, must comply and certify they are receiving materials from other areas.

For a company like us, this is sometimes difficult to confirm, for we often receive chemicals and metals from other companies, who then receive the materials from somewhere else. Letters of certifications then need to be confirmed on all levels of the supply chain. In order to provide our customers with the assurance that our products and chemicals in our plating tanks meet these standards, we need to receive confirmation from our suppliers that all minerals are conflict-free. As the manufacturing industry moves forward, it is necessary for all of us to steer clear of these “conflict minerals.”

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The Plating Industry Goes Green

In recent years, businesses and consumers alike have been focusing more and more on the environment and sustainable practices in business—for good reason. The planet on which we live, the health of its air, food, and species, and the ways we can protect it all affect us and our children. In the plating industry, the focus on greener practices is an important topic of conversation and one more and more companies are, thankfully, considering.

Specific to our company, we have an ongoing commitment to being responsible, which includes recycling and reusing all possible waste streams and ensuring our personnel are trained in the most responsible practices.

In the industry as a whole, there has been an increasing effort on responsibility, which includes the switch to trivalent chromium in zinc plating. As a rule, most zinc plating has to have chromate for corrosion protection. In the past, hexavalent chromium was used, but it was found that hexavalent chromium has carcinogenic properties. It was found that trivalent chromium, a good replacement, not only doesn’t have the cancer-causing agents, but is more environmentally-friendly. It’s also easier to treat waste with this type of chromium in it, and it leads to longer-lasting products, which in general is more environmentally-responsible. Using this type of chromium for zinc plating and aluminum anodizing is better for people, the planet, and, of course, business. It’s a win/win.

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The A, B, C’s of Electroless Nickel Plating

While each type of plating has its own unique benefits and purposes—from zinc and zinc iron plating through standard nickel and bright brass plating—one interesting type that serves specific purposes is electroless nickel plating. So what exactly is it, and what are its advantages?

In general, all plating has to have a positive and negative charge. Simply put, the AC current will be turned to a DC current through a certain process. However, electroless nickel plating doesn’t have to—it has features within the metal itself that bonds itself, skipping the electricity process necessary to other metals.

So what exactly does this mean for the end user? This type of plating will cover deep recesses and holes, which regular nickel doesn’t do. For instance, you can take a three-foot long tube and with electroless nickel, it will have just as much plating inside as out, whereas regular nickel will only cover a small percentage of the inside. Anywhere the solution can touch, there will be plating. With standard plating, the ends typically have more plating than other, harder to reach areas. This is not the case with electroless nickel. And like other types, you can perform rack or barrel plating for the process.

The true advantages of this translate to excellent hardness and wearability, as well as abrasion-resistance. The applications for this type of plating are far-reaching, and any industry can benefit from these advantages. However, one of the industries for which it is truly useful is the food industry, where it’s extremely important to keep food free of metals. Electroless nickel-plated items—including grills and food utensils—will not leach or cause problems other metals can, and will remain safe for the food they are touching.

It’s just one example of new technology constantly being used by the industry, and the ways companies such as ours can do more for customers as a result.

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Analyzing Anodizing: Hard Coat vs. Clear

Metal finishes and platings are our specialty here at Electroplate-Rite. Our vast capabilities include anodizing services, which differ from normal plating services. Anodizing is more of a heavy oxidation of water and sulphuric acid, which is applied with a negative/positive charge (as opposed to plating, which is a positive/negative charge). When is anodizing a better choice? This process can only be used on aluminum, so the higher grades of aluminum will anodize better than lower grades. Essentially, we take components and dip them in our plating baths/tanks, and the anodized coatings will actually attach to the pores Hard coat and clear anodizingof the aluminum.

Specifically, we utilize two different anodizing processes to plate parts and components for automotive, aerospace, electronics, and military applications – hard coat anodizing and clear anodizing. What are the differences?

Hard Coat Anodizing: Since this is typically a smoother, harder coating, it is most applicable on machine parts that need to meet specific requirements, such as wire resistance, abrasion resistance and friction resistance. These coatings are applied in thicknesses ranging from .001-.003 in. and they are only found as a black hard coat.

Clear anodizing: Clear anodizing, which is more of a heavy oxide coating, is usually .0002-.0006 in. of coating. Since clear anodizing is utilized for stopping corrosion on aluminum, it is recommended for parts in either inside or outside environments, especially in the medical field and architectural applications. Generally speaking, clear anodizing is the more popular choice because colored dyes can be added once the coating is complete.

Have you decided if anodizing is the right coating process for your needs? Let us help you decide which anodizing process will provide your parts with the correct coating!

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We’re ISO 9001-Certified – and Re-Certified – Since 1999!

Electroplate-Rite Corp. has been an ISO 9001-certified supplier for 13 years now – since 1999. Year after year, our certification has been regularly audited every six months, and we’ve been consistently re-certified every three years. Certification is important to us and it allows us to meet the requirements and specifications our customers need.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the ISO certification process, it covers how you manage your business, from your initial contact with customers through the finished product delivery phase. Outside auditors come in every six months and evaluate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Basically, they’re making sure you’re doing what you’ve promised to do for your customers and maintaining high quality standards.

Our customers know that Electroplate-Rite’s main goal from day one has been to present each of our customers with the highest level of quality and service. The ISO 9001:2008 certification proves that we do! At Electroplate-Rite, you can be assured that you’re receiving the highest quality plating and finishing services around, including receiving consistent and uniformly plated parts.

If you’d like to learn more about our certification and high quality standards at Electroplate-Rite and to discover how we can work with you, please contact us for a quick consult with one of our on-staff experts. Hope to hear from you soon!

ISO 9001:2008 certification

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On a Rack or in a Barrel — Which Fits the Part?

At Electroplate-Rite, we offer both barrel and rack plating services, and customers often ask which of the two would be best for their project. To determine the best process, we consider the size and shape of the part, as well as the quantity and finish requirements.

Barrel plating: Barrel plating is an efficient, lower cost method of plating, and is barrel platingespecially suitable for parts that are small and durable, such as fasteners and small stampings. Parts are placed inside a barrel filled with electrolytic plating solutions, and then the barrel is rotated to give all parts a precise, uniform finish. What are the advantages? Barrel plating can accommodate a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as well as different metals and alloys. A high volume of parts can be processed quickly. Zinc, tin, nickel, brass, and copper plating for decorative or corrosion and wear resistant finishes are all easily accomplished with barrel plating.

Rack plating: For parts that are large, complex, or fragile, rack plating is the preferred choice. In this process, parts are arranged on coated metal racks and fixed using screws, rack platingspring fingers, or wires, based on their size, weight, and configuration. The racks are placed in a tank and kept stationary during plating operations. What are the advantages? Delicate parts are not subject to damage, intricate contours are evenly plated, and the finishes are generally higher quality than barrel plating. Rack plating is also an excellent method for producing selective deposits, and a higher quality of finish options are available than in barrel plating. Nickel and chrome are popular rack plated finishes, and we frequently use this process for parts used in the automotive, electronics, medical, and military industries.

Want more information? A quick consult with an expert at Electroplate-Rite will also steer you to the best process, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

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