Electroless Nickel Plating
Nickel electroplating is the chemical deposition of a nickel metal onto a target metal or plastic surface. It is an auto-catalytic reduction, meaning that the necessary chemical reactions take place automatically in the chemical bath in which the substrate is submerged for coating. “Electroless” means that the deposition of metal ions onto the substrate occurs without the addition of electricity to the chemical bath, a necessity for electroplating processes.
Heat Treatment for Metal Finishing & Corrosion Resistance
Post-plating, all coated products are heat-treated to complete the auto-catalytic process. Heat treating sets the crystalline structure of the nickel, hardening it and creating a superior quality coating. Temperatures and times are carefully adjusted based on the substrate material. Heat treating is necessary for a wide range of mil-specs and industry specifications.
Advanced Coating Option
Nickel is a popular coating material for metals and other materials because of its high resistance to many common forms of corrosion, such as oxidation. An electroless nickel coated surface is also lubricious and abrasion resistant. Aluminum is the most common metal that benefits from electroless nickel plating, due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent machinability, and low cost. However, there are many other materials that can benefit from nickel electroplating, they include:
- And more
In addition, following the electroless nickel plating process, the substrate can then be plated with other materials, such as gold or silver. This allows OEMs to utilize the beneficial properties of these supplementary plating materials while minimizing their drawbacks, such as high cost, malleability, or corrodibility.
Nickel Electroplating Vs Powder Coating & Chrome Plating
When compared to powder coating electroplating is typically the better option when coating parts that contain hard-to-reach areas. That’s because the immersion of an object into a liquid promotes a more even and thorough distribution of the coating than can normally be achieved with a spray gun. When compared to chrome plating, nickel electroplating has increased corrosion resistance, but tarnishes easier than chrome.
Industry Standards & Quality Control
To ensure the quality of our electroless nickel platings, we run a series of chemistry tests every day. Test parts are plated and checked in our quality control lab, providing valuable data on adjustments that may need to be made to the plating process. Our electroless nickel chemical baths are pumped and filtered continuously to remove any particulates and other contaminants. Our testing and filtering processes help eliminate skip plating, pitting, co-deposits, occlusions, and other abnormalities in the plating process. Additionally, some of the mil-spec industry quality standards that we incorporate, include:
- MIL-C-26074 E
- ASTM B733
- AMS C 26074
- AMS 2404
- AMS 2405
Nickel Electroplating Advantages
There are numerous advantages associated with electroless nickel plating services, some of which include:
- Automatic chemical replenishment
- Jigs & racks are not required
- Does not use electrical power
- Evenly coats a parts surface
- Bright, semi-bright or matte finishes can be obtained
- Recesses & holes can be plated with stable thickness
- Does not require a complex filtration method
- Completely flexible plating volume & thickness
Electroless Nickel Plating Applications
Nickel is a popular coating material for metals and other materials because of its high resistance to many common forms of corrosion, such as oxidation. An electroless nickel coated surface is also lubricious and abrasion resistant. Electroless nickel finishing creates a smooth, uniform coating across a substrate's surface. A uniform nickel plating will help parts in potentially corrosive environments last longer and perform better than uncoated parts made of the same base material. Nickel metal finishing and plating services are utilized for a wide range of purposes across a bevy of industries, including:
- Military/defense – An effective military coating must address conductivity, insulation, hardness, ruggedness, oxygen deprivation and/or saturation, exposure to various chemical and caustic environments, or other factors.
- Medical – Our electroless nickel plating provides performance and extended working life for parts and components in all types of invasive and non-invasive medical instrumentation, tools, and equipment.
- Aerospace - To ensure operational safety and optimum performance of critical parts and components, we provide high precision, high performance nickel electroplating finishing services that meet or exceed the aerospace industry’s stringent standards.
- Aviation - We provide the highest quality aircraft electroless nickel plating, with perfect uniformity and consistency across the entire surface of the treated part for proper corrosion resistance.
- Commercial – Our electroplating services for the commercial industry provide metal finishing and corrosion resistance for thousands of unique commercial parts.