Electro plating involves depositing a thin layer of metal onto the surface of a conductive component. This is done in a conductive solution with an electrical current. It is mainly done to provide a protective layer to prevent corrosion and deterioration of the components.
The most common form of electroplating is to deposit a layer of zinc over steel components. The Zinc acts as a thin sacrificial coating which can range in thickness from 5 to 100 microns thick. Thicker coatings offer better corrosion resistance. It is commonly found on fasteners and small brackets.
Different materials can be deposited using electroplating. Different materials offer different levels of protection, better electrical properties, improved appearance, smoother surface finish and increased surface hardness.
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Tolerances and sizes of the finished component can be affected by the plating process. Electroplating will tend to deposit more material around corners and edges due to concentration of the electrical currents and fields in these areas. This makes it difficult to accurately control the thickness of the coating which will affect any precision sizes or tolerances. Electroless coating can be used for precision plating where tolerances must be maintained. This process does not require electrical current and provides an even and controlled coating over the component.
High tensile components can be affected by embrittlement caused by the hydrogen rich solutions electrolytes that are used during the plating process. Steels with an ultimate tensile strength of more than 1000 MPa should undergo a de-embrittling process after plating.
TNN Engineering can arrange for you parts to be plated to suit your requirements.